It is important to have your flood insurance up to date always so you can submit your claim after the experiencing a flood. Preparation and planning well before a storm arrives can help homeowners avoid potential pitfalls. Remember that most insurance companies have a time requirement for filing a claim. Follow these steps to start your claim.
Flood Insurance: Before the Flood
- Inventory Household/Business Items- Before the storm season, or shortly before the storm arrives, create a list of your belongings with an estimate of their actual cost. It is recommended that you take photos or video of these items, and store them in the cloud or in a CD. Also if you can, scan and save receipts for the most expensive items.
- Know Your Insurance Coverage- It is important to differentiate between a home owner’s insurance and flood insurance. Normally the standard homeowners’ insurance does not cover flood damage. Make sure you know what is in your policy and what coverage options are available for your cleanup and repair efforts.
Flood Insurance after the Storm
- When things are back to normal, or whenever you have the opportunity after the flooding, call or visit your insurance company. It is important to have your company and policy number on hand as well as your phone number or email address so they can reach you out. In this initial contact discuss with your insurance company the immediate repairs that are needed, and hire a builder to proceed with these critical activities. Save every receipt and take picture of the damages before starting the rebuilding process.
- An adjuster should contact you within a couple of days after the claim has been filed and a visit will be scheduled. The insurance adjuster will be asking for evidence of the damage to your property and belongings to prepare your damage’s estimate. There are also public adjusters that you can call, but these adjusters will charge a percentage of the total payment of the flood insurance coverage.
- Present all photos, videos or any other evidence of all damaged property, including structural damage, and standing floodwater levels. At this moment you should have an idea of actual costs of damaged property and the age of the property. Some insurance providers may require to dispose of damaged items.
- If your car is damaged while in your garage/carport, it is covered by your automobile policy —not your homeowners policy.
Flood Insurance: Adjuster’s Report
- The adjuster will make an assessment and will prepare an estimate of actual damages based on the gathered information. You may also wish to have a contractor present or ask a contractor to review the adjuster’s inspection report before settling the claim.
- The adjuster will hand you a Proof of Loss, for your claim damages. This document needs to be filed normally within 60 days of the disaster. The document is required by the National Flood Insurance Program or by the insurance company before they can make a payment.
- The insurance claim may come in different payments, but depending on the type of disaster an emergency advance might be issued. Payments corresponding to the structural damage may be payable to you and your lien holder. If major catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to process claims and make payments because of the sheer number of claims submitted.
Flood Insurance: Additional Tips
- If you or the homeowner finds damage that was not shown during the original assessment, call your insurance company immediately.
- Remove and discard wet contents as soon as you can.
- Dry building’s interior by using dehumidifiers or air conditioners. These costs could also be reported to the insurance agency.
- Make small holes in the drywall allowing trapped moisture to escape from inside the walls.<
- It is important to verify your water heater as the insulation could probably absorbed water and could be damage.