Rebuilding After Storm Damage

What is Substantial Damage?

View of Storm Damage

If the cost to repair your home or business equals or exceeds 50% of the market value of the structure before the damage occurred, then your home is substantially damaged and must be brought into compliance with flood damage prevention regulations, including elevating the building.

Learn more about building back smart or call Pinellas County Building Services at (727) 464-3888.

What to Do After Your Property Is Damaged

  • Build back safer and stronger.
    • Contact your insurance agent before starting work. Do not sign an Assignment of Benefits contract as a condition of having your home repaired.
    • Get required permits before you start any home repair or construction.
    • Hire a licensed contractor. To find a contractor or confirm a contractor’s license is legitimate, visit the Pinellas County Construction Licensing Board PCCLB.
  • Look out for price gouging.
    • It is illegal for anyone to sell necessary goods or services at higher than normal prices during a state of emergency. To report price gouging, contact the Florida Attorney General online or call (866) 966-7226.
  • Take photos or video of the damage.
    • Document your losses for your insurance claim before you move any debris or remove damaged belongings.
  • Make a list of damaged contents.
  • Remove wet contents promptly.
    • Wet carpeting, furniture, bedding and other items holding moisture can develop mold within 24 to 48 hours. Clean and disinfect everything that got wet. Mud left from floodwater can contain sewage and chemicals. Do not discard damaged carpet and contents until after the adjuster’s inspection. Review safety tips for cleaning up after a flood.
  • File your insurance claims promptly.
    • There are time limitations on submitting claims with many insurance companies. Do not sign an Assignment of Benefits contract as a condition of having your home repaired. Pinellas County Flood Insurance Advocates are available to answer any questions you have about your flood insurance or the claims process. Visit the Flood Insurance Advocates website or call 727-464-7700 for flood insurance assistance.
  • Take extra care in the prevention of mosquitoes that breed in standing water. Remember the three D’s:
    • Drain water when possible.
    • Dress in light colors and cover all parts of the body.
    • Defend with DEET, Picaridin or Oil of Lemon Eucalyptus.
  • Take advantage of discounts.
    • Because Pinellas County and most of its municipalities have proactive floodplain management programs and participate in the National Flood Insurance Program Community Rating System (CRS), residents and businesses may be eligible for a CRS discount up to 25% or a discounted Preferred Risk Premium. These discounts save residents and businesses in unincorporated Pinellas County more than $5 million dollars per year on their flood insurance premiums.
  • Report blocked ditches, swales and canals.

Floodplain Building Codes

Pinellas County participates in the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) by adopting and enforcing regulations and codes that apply to development in the floodplain. Pinellas County floodplain management regulations and the Florida Building Code have minimum NFIP requirements for new structures and existing structures with proposed “substantial improvements” or repair of “substantial damage.”

Taking photos of flood damage.