How Does a Flood Damage Insurance Claim Work?

October 30, 2019

When disaster strikes, a little preparation can go a long way. No one wants to plan for worst-case scenarios, but doing so can greatly help to decrease the damage that some disasters can bring.

Flood insurance is a great example of this. We all want to believe that such a disaster would never strike our homes, but severe flooding is actually much more common than people assume.

If you’re interested in obtaining flood insurance, you probably have a few questions about how the process works. Read on, and we’ll walk you through everything that you need to know about making a flood damage insurance claim.

What To Do After A Flood

Finding your home flooded can be shocking and overwhelming. It’s a lot for any family to process. But it is essential that you take the proper steps immediately following a flood in order to secure a safe and stable future for your home and family.

Examine Your Home

The first thing you’ll need to do following a flood is to evaluate the damage done to your home.

Wait until you receive the official go-ahead from local officials before visiting. The last thing you want to do is visit a flood site before it’s been deemed officially safe. Electric or gas lines might still be active and you could be putting yourself in danger.

When it is safe to visit, evaluate the amount of damage done. How severely has your home been flooded? Take photos and document the extent of the damage. Take note of structural damage, floodwater levels, and the damage done to furniture and appliances. If possible, take samples from floors or walls that you can share with your insurance adjuster.

With evidence in hand, you’ll then reach out to your agent or flood insurance company to make your claim.

When filing with your insurance agent, make sure to have the following information on hand: a policy declarations page from your insurance company, your contact information, and the location of your insured property.

You can ask for an advance payment to help cover the initial recovery costs.

Wait For An Adjuster To Arrive

When you reach out to your insurance company, they should give you an estimated amount of time it will take to have an insurance adjuster visit your home. This person will evaluate the damage done to your home and decide how much money will be paid out from your policy.

It’s a good idea to keep a diary of the conversations you have with your insurance adjuster in case you need to reference something. Be as cooperative and polite with your adjuster as possible, and give them the space to do their job and inspect your home.

Make sure to provide them with all the documentation and evidence you’ve taken. Sometimes, it can take many days for an adjuster to arrive. You should begin the drying out process of your home and ensure the evidence you’ve collected can speak for itself.

If you can afford it, it can be a good idea to get an independent estimate of the costs of repairs to your home following a flood. You can then compare this amount to the price point that your insurance adjuster gives you.

Begin To Restore Your Home

Once you’ve made your claim, you can begin to clean and restore your home. Make sure you continue to take photos and videos during this process.

If you discover further damage that you missed the first time, make sure to document it and send it to your flood insurance agent.

You will want to take the necessary steps to minimize the growth of mold in the home. Under most flood insurance policies, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to ensure there is no serious mold damage following the flood.

File With FEMA

If your home has flooded as a result of a larger disaster or storm, the government might issue a FEMA Presidential Disaster Declaration.

If a declaration has been made, you may be eligible for FEMA recovery funds that can be used towards things like temporary housing. You can file with FEMA and once your application is approved you can receive emergency relief funds.

What Does An Insurance Claim Not Cover?

When it comes to making a flood damage insurance claim, it’s just as important to understand what isn’t covered as it is to understand what is.

Your flood insurance should cover damages to your home resulting from the flood up to your policy limit. It’s important to understand that most flood insurance policies do not cover damage to tertiary areas of your home. This includes decks, pools, walkways, basements, gardens, and so forth.

If these areas were damaged as a result of flooding, it’s not likely that you’ll receive compensation from your policy. If your home policy has certain exceptions they will be listed clearly as extra dwelling coverage under certain conditions.

A traditional flood insurance policy will also not provide funds for additional housing while your insured home is being repaired. These costs will come from your own wallet or will need to be issued from an organization such as FEMA.

Filing A Flood Damage Insurance Claim

No one wants to see their home flooded, but it’s important to be prepared for such a situation regardless. Understanding how a flood damage insurance claim works is important if you want to be ready for a worst-case scenario.

Have more questions or need more help? Reach out anytime for additional assistance.