Floods are the number one natural disaster affecting the United States. On average, each claim ends up costing an average of $66,295.
If you’re like the many people who have been affected by a flood, you might be wondering what the next step is.
In this article, we’ll walk you through everything you need to know to file a claim on your flood insurance.
Read Your Policy in Detail
As you may know, not all insurance policies might cover flood damage. If you’re unsure if yours does, take a look at your policy and look for the clause.
Those with a secondary flood insurance policy should double check what their coverage is before talking to their agent.
Also, take a look at the declarations page of your policy and verify that all of your information is up to date. You should also gather your mortgage information to keep handy just in case.
Get in Touch with Your Insurance Agent
After you’ve gathered all of your documents, you’re ready to call your flood insurance agent. Make sure you do it right away and don’t let a lot of time go by.
You have to know it often takes days or weeks for the insurance company to tend to the claim, so the sooner you take care of it the better. When you call, make sure you have all of your information available.
Your insurance agent will ask you for details such as your policy number and personal contact information. It’s a good idea to give the agent several numbers where they can reach you such as your work number, email, or your spouse’s number.
Ask for a Time Frame
After your house has flooded, you want to make sure it gets taken care of as soon as possible. Once you have given the insurance agent all of the information about your claim, ask for an estimated time frame.
Although they can’t always guarantee they can help you out during this time, you can have a general idea of how long it will take.
If you have a general timeframe, you will be able to follow up and check on the status of your claim with more confidence.
Divide Your Belongings
Once you have taken care of the administrative side, it’s time you get to work on your belongings.
Start by separating the damaged from your undamaged items. Remove the undamaged items from the premises to prevent them from getting mold or water on them.
Leave only the items that got damaged by the water and you will need to replace.
Having all of your items separated will give your insurance adjuster a better idea on what will need replacing.
Document the Damages
Although you are expecting your insurance company to take care of the issue for you, it’s important to also take action into your own hands.
Start by taking photos of the damage. Sometimes insurance companies might want to deny a claim stating the flood did not cause the damage. By having photographic evidence you can fight these claims.
You should take photos and inventory all of the damage. Take photos of your furniture, appliances, clothes, and personal objects.
Consider making a supplemental list to go along with the photos. Make a record of the date of purchase, value, serial number, and other information you consider relevant.
The next step is to take pictures of any cosmetic damage to your house such as paint. Some people also take video footage to document things such as standing water.
Photograph separate structures that may have gotten damaged by the flood such as the shed, garage, or pool.
Whatever damage you cannot photograph, you should try to get a paper record. For example, have an electrician inspect your electrical system and give you a paper record of the damage.
Don’t throw away any items or make any changes until your insurance adjuster arrives.
Deal with Temporary Repairs
As we mentioned earlier, flood insurance claims don’t often happen right away. it might be days or even weeks depending on how many claims they have to deal with. Regions affected by flooding will typically have long waiting times.
Of course, while you wait, you will still need a place to live. If parts of your home are livable, you need to make adjustments so you can stay in your home.
It’s important you don’t undertake large repair projects before you meet with the adjuster. What you can do is deal with problems that might affect your health and livelihood.
You can dry off excess water and remove the damaged carpets. By doing so, you will control the growth of mold.
If any repairs are a must, make sure you keep receipts so the insurance company can reimburse you for it.
Prepare to Meet the Adjuster
As you prepare for the visit of the insurance adjuster, make sure you have available all of the evidence you collected. The adjuster will ask you to walk them through the damage.
Some insurance companies will require you to complete a “proof of loss” form before they send the adjuster. Make sure the information on the form matches exactly your other documentation. The adjuster could look for any discrepancies.
Start the Repairs
After you and the adjuster agree on the damage, it’s time to start the repairs.
You will need to get in contact with local contractors and ask them to submit a bid. In order for the insurance company to pay for the repairs, the bid should be submitted for approval.
The final step after everything has been approved is to wait for payment. Your insurance company will arrange for you to receive payment once they agree on the extent of the damage.
How to File a Claim on Your Flood Insurance
Now that you know how to file a claim on your flood insurance, you’re ready for what is next. Remember to always review your policy, document the damage, and speak to your insurance agent.
Are you in need of flood or other types of insurance? Let HH Insurance help.
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