How Do Flood Insurance Claims Work? A Helpful Guide

Floods can be extremely expensive and unpredictable. They come in just behind tornados as the top natural disaster. Many people think they can do without flood insurance, but that isn’t always a wise move.

Other people even still don’t know their homeowners’ insurance doesn’t cover all water damage. If you’re not sure about flood insurance claims and the ins and outs of them, you need to keep reading.

Continue through this article to learn more about how a flood insurance claim works and more.

Flooding Is Excluded

In most cases, flood damage is not included in your homeowners’ insurance. In fact, many homeowners’ insurance companies exclude any type of water damage.

To keep yourself safe from water damage from a flood, you need to buy a policy specifically for this problem.

There are quite a few companies that sell this type of insurance as a stand-alone policy. If you aren’t sure if your insurer does this, just ask them.

If you already know you have flood insurance and you need to make a claim, continue reading for the tips to get through your claim as quickly as possible.

Tally the Losses and File Your Claim

The local officials need to say it’s safe to go back inside your home first, but then you can go back and check out the damage. If you see there is flood damage, you need to contact the insurance company to start your claim.

Make sure to ask for an advance payment, so you don’t have to pay for the repairs out of pocket.

Before you do any repairs, make sure you take photos and videos of the damage. You don’t want to get stuck in a court battle with the insurance company. If you do find yourself in a pinch, you might need an insurance attorney to help you fight and get the rest of your settlement.

Begin the Cleanup

After you’ve documented everything properly, it’s time to start cleaning up. Make sure you start cleaning up right away, or your home is going to be the breeding ground of unwanted mold and mildew.

In some cases, you might not be able to take care of all of the damage on your own. Many people opt to hire a company that specializes in cleaning up after floods or other water damage situations.

How to File Your Claim

While filing your claim should be simple, if you’ve never filed an insurance claim before, it might be a little confusing.

Prepare for the Initial Call

When you call the insurance company, you need to have documents like your policy declarations page in hand, if you have it. You also want to let them know how to contact you, what your address is, and the company that you have your mortgage through.

It might take a few days before the insurance adjuster contacts you. This is especially true if the flood was widespread. If you feel like it’s been too long, you can contact the insurance company and ask them to speed up the process.

Get Ready for the Inspection

Before you go back to the house, make sure it is safe. This is when you want to take photos and videos of the damage for proof. Even if you plan on getting rid of things, you need to document it.

Some of the things you should focus on with the videos and photos are:

  • Structural damage
  • Appliance damage
  • How much water is standing inside and outside the house
  • Furniture damage

If you don’t have evidence of how much was damaged, the insurance adjuster isn’t going to approve your claim for the amount you’ll need to get everything back together.

Take photos of the make, model, and number on any appliances. Also, keep samples of any carpet or other types of flooring that were ruined, and you’re throwing out.

When you’re going through your home if you find anything that could put your health at risk, make sure to throw it out. Some of the common things that might include are:

  • Perishable food
  • Pillows
  • Blankets
  • Clothing

Basically, anything that is going to grow mold or mildew needs to go.

Begin the Repairs

There are some things you just can’t do by yourself. Unless you’re an electrician, you don’t want to mess with any of the electrical elements in the home. That’s especially true after it’s been flooded with water.

Cooperate With the Insurance Company

As much as possible throughout this process, it is important that you cooperate with the insurance company. The insurance adjuster is doing their job, and they need to make sure that you’re giving them all of the information they need.

Make sure you also take down their name and phone number. They should have an official ID on them, so you know you’re working with someone that is from the insurance company.

If you do find that you aren’t getting a fair amount out of your claim or you aren’t sure if you’re getting what’s owed to you, you should consider speaking to an attorney to get help.

Understanding Flood Insurance Claims

Now you know more about understanding flood insurance claims. If you don’t feel like you’re getting a fair payout, it may be time to get the help of a professional. Know your rights before you take a settlement.

Do you want to learn more about other types of insurance and other important issues? Keep reading our blog to get the information you need.