Disaster Preparedness Profile: Monsoon/Home Office Flood

Sep 2, 2020 | Organization, Procedures

home office flood

Amber Miller, Online Business Manager at All Things Admin

Amber lives in Phoenix, AZ where monsoons seemingly come out of nowhere with very little warning. The monsoon in July 2017 was no different than any that came before it. There was one factor that was different, however. Eighteen months prior, Amber and her family had a new air conditioning unit installed; and, unbeknownst to them, it hadn’t been set or sealed properly on the roof. Every time it rained, water would leak into the attic, causing water and mold to build up.

The July monsoon proved too much for the attic, which gave way under the weight of the water. The ceilings in the hallway and kitchen began to crack. Within an hour, water was running down the walls, ruining the drywall and electrical wires.

A restoration company arrived later that morning, informing Amber that because of the mold buildup in the attic, all the water was contaminated. They’d have to leave their home.

Like most of us on the All Things Admin team, Amber worked from a home office – an office that was now contaminated and inaccessible. “It wasn’t just a home emergency at that point,” she says. “It was a work emergency, too.”

Amber, her husband, and her three children, then ages 18, 14, and 8, had to move into a hotel, along with the family’s cat and three dogs. “Simple things like getting the kids to school, working full-time from the hotel room, and managing insurance adjusters and claims became overwhelming,” Amber says.

The situation was compounded by the fact that Amber wasn’t just dealing with her own insurance company; she would also need to file a claim against the company that improperly installed the air conditioning unit since they were liable. “The biggest challenge was dealing with their liability insurance,” she says.

It took four months (and a $28,000 hotel bill) before they could finally move back home.

Amber’s Tips and Takeaways

“Always ensure that any contractor who does work at your home or office is registered, bonded, and insured.”

“Check your homeowners and office insurance policies to make sure that things like mold and flooding are covered. Many policies do not cover these things.”

“Know your ALE (Additional Living Expenses) limits. $45,000 may seem like a lot until you have four months of hotel and food expenses!”

“If you’ll be displaced for a significant amount of time, check into getting a rental home instead of staying in a hotel.”

“Take more pictures! You forget the details when you have lots of things going on. Take pictures of everything so you can go back and view for insurance purposes.”

© 2020 Julie Perrine International, LLC

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Julie Perrine, CAP-OM, is the founder and CEO of All Things Admin, providing training, mentoring and resources for administrative professionals worldwide. Julie applies her administrative expertise and passion for lifelong learning to serving as an enthusiastic mentor, speaker and author who educates admins around the world on how to be more effective every day. Learn more about Julie’s books — The Innovative Admin: Unleash the Power of Innovation in Your Administrative Career and The Organized Admin: Leverage Your Unique Organizing Style to Create Systems, Reduce Overwhelm, and Increase Productivity, and Become a Procedures Pro: The Admin’s Guide to Developing Effective Office Systems and Procedures. 

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