As a Florida resident, you are no stranger to hurricane season.
Flooding in your home can be devastating, but it is possible. And expecting a flood during storm season can also help you prepare for the worst. It allows you to storm-proof your home as best you can and remove your most valuable belongings from vulnerable spots.
But, even the best preparation won’t save everything. When flooding happens, your home and your belongings are bound to get either slightly or irreparably damaged. So, what do you do then?
In this post, we’re going to help you with what to do in the aftermath of a damaging flood. Evaluating the damage is important to get properly compensated for the loss of your things and the cost of repair. Let’s talk about flood damage evaluation methods.
Flood Damage Evaluation Methods
In Florida, flooding can happen slowly, as it does it most other areas of the country, or it can happen rapidly during storm season. Floridians don’t always have the benefit of noticing slow flooding and taking action, which leads to damaged property.
What you should do now, if you haven’t already, is look into a flood insurance plan through the National Flood Insurance Program. You can either go through the NFIP yourself or talk to your insurance company about flood insurance.
Most homeowners insurance plans don’t cover flood damage, so you have to get this separately. Being set up with a plan before the flood happens is going to go a long way, so talk to someone today about flood insurance now.
The premiums on your plan will depend a lot on where you live and the level of flood risk you have by being there. Low to moderate risk areas will get the preferred premiums, while those in high-risk areas are forced to pay the standard premium rate.
When the flood does happen, you file a claim. Here’s what happens after that.
1. Inspection of Your Home
Depending on the flood event in question, it could take a while for the adjuster to investigate your claim. In disaster situations, they’ll be dealing with hundreds or thousands of claims at one time.
In a perfect world, you’d be able to leave the flood damage and get on with your life. However, that’s not always possible. If you can, wait to begin any reconstruction on your house until the claims adjuster has come to inspect it. This gives them the ability to complete a proper estimate.
In the event that you need to make small repairs to prevent further damage once the flood waters recede, make sure to take pictures as proof for the adjuster. Keep all of the receipts for things you bought to make those repairs, as well.
For instance, if you’ve got a soaked carpet and need to pull it up to ensure a certain quality of life, cut a 2×2 foot piece of the carpet to show the investigator.
2. Look at Damaged Property
Likewise, you should always keep any damaged belongings around to show the claims adjuster during the visit. Make a sort of inventory of the damaged goods and separate them from the undamaged ones, just to make it a bit easier for them to inspect.
If you can, keep these damaged items out of your way. Put them in a shed or outside, keeping them from interfering with your day-to-day. If you can’t do this, make sure to once again take a lot of photos and list prices and purchase dates on all of the damaged stuff before throwing them out.
Being as detailed as possible will give the adjuster the information that they need, as with the damage to your home, to make the most informed estimate possible.
3. Keep Documentation If Possible
Obviously, you won’t have all of the receipts for everything you’ve purchased in the past. It’s not completely necessary to have them but produce what you can.
Giving the adjuster the specific item’s age and rough cost at the time of purchase will be helpful. If your speaker system was damaged, for instance, being able to tell them the brand and where you purchased them will go a long way.
4. Claim Process
After the adjuster has come to look at your property and your damaged possessions, they’ll take everything into account and come up with a damage estimate. You work with the adjuster in this process to come up with a reasonable dollar amount to compensate for loss.
The damage estimate will take into account what you’ve presented to the adjuster, notably your damaged home, possessions, and any repairs that you’ve been forced to make along the way. Once submitted, a file examiner will review the estimate and a proof of loss document will be mailed to you to sign and return.
If all goes well, when the proof of loss (which is the amount of money you’re requesting) is sent back, the insurer will process the claim and mail a cheque.
The key to getting a proper settlement is being reasonable with your claims. You and your claims adjuster will go through all of your losses. However, there are things that you shouldn’t claim as a result of flood damage.
Things like additional living expenses when you’ve been displaced won’t be covered. Preventable moisture or mildew damage won’t be covered. Nor will any damage to property outside of the insured property (septic systems, hot tubs, fences, etc.).
Insurers have paid out billions of dollars for flood claims over the years. Don’t neglect your ability to be compensated for your distress.
Get Set Up With Flood Insurance
It’s better to be safe than sorry, especially when you live in a geographical area prone to flooding. Contact your insurance provider or the NFIP today to get set up with your flood insurance plan. You don’t want to be left to deal with the exorbitant costs of flooding on your own.
To learn more about flood insurance and flood damage evaluation methods, as well as other types of home and umbrella insurance, visit us at HH Insurance. While you’re there, check out our blog for more informative posts about the importance of having a quality insurance company on your side.