Insurance adjusters assessing flood damage

July 26, 2011 (WINNETKA, Ill.)

Insurance adjusters are arriving at homes to assess the damage from this weekend's rains.

What insurance pays depends on everyone's individual policy. The Village of Winnetka is scheduling a trash pickup for Wednesday morning to help out all the residents who had to throw out so much of what was in their flooded basements.

They will be busy. There is an awful lot of damage and it is going to be very expensive for residents and insurance companies.

Stacy Cohen was out of town when a neighbor called to say there was flooding over the weekend and she might have a problem. That turned out to be an understatement. She caught the first flight home and has been trying to save whatever family treasures she can from her basement ever since.

"It is tough," Cohen said. "I had all of the kids' memorabilia down there, everything from preschool and grade school, so I just had to sift through all that, Christmas decorations and the like. It's the sentimental stuff that was the hardest."

The water was several feet deep in parts of Winnetka and forced its way in through the window wells of many basements. Now the massive cleanup effort is under way.

Allstate has brought insurance adjustors in from all over the country to assess the damage. Jay Bryant is in town from Atlanta.

"It's much larger than what we originally thought," said Bryant. "It's getting to the people is the most important at this time, help them understand what they need to do to start the drying out process and get everything out of the houses so we can get the houses cleaned up and get it back into order."

Experts say it is very important to start drying the wet walls as quickly as possible to try to get the humidity out and minimize mold growth.

Tom Rice is dealing with water damage at his home on Chicago's Northwest Side for the second time this year.

"I lost a tenant. That's frustrating because of lost income," Rice said.

"If you ignore the problem, that water damage is going to turn into a mold problem, and that's going to become a much more expensive problem and a much more dangerous problem," said Matt Rich, Puro-Clean.

In Cohen's neighborhood in Winnetka, they say pretty much everybody is in the same situation. The only consolation they can draw from it is that all the neighbors seem to be pitching in to help each other.

As far as the village, Winnetka has hired an engineering firm to try to come in and study how they might avoid this type of flooding in the future.

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