Experiencing major damage to your beloved home after a flood can be devastating. Sadly, it doesn’t take very much water to cause thousands of dollars in damage to your home and your belongings. In fact, according to FEMA, just one inch of water can cause more than $25,000 worth of damage. If you, unfortunately, experience flood damage, the first thing that you’ll want to do is begin the steps to file a claim with your flood insurance provider.
Remember, as part of your insurance policy, you have a duty to protect your property from further damage, mitigating additional loss. For example, if there has been a flood, you should air out your home to prevent mold or place a tarp over a damaged roof to avoid additional water damage.
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Once you’re ready to file a claim with your insurance agent or carrier, this is what you can expect:
1. File your claim
Depending on your agency’s process, you’ll file a claim with your agency or carrier by visiting their website or calling them directly to report the damage. You can expect a number of questions including:
The date of damage
The cause of the damage
A description of the type of damage you’ve experienced
2. Receive a claim number
Once the agent has an understanding of the damage, they will assign you a claim number and an adjuster to go to your home and evaluate the damage. This claim number can be used when you call or check the status of your claim online. It’s essentially you’re digital “file folder.”
It’s important that you keep thorough documentation post-flood. Photographs, videos, receipts or proof of damaged goods, etc. can all be used in the event that you feel your insurance company’s reimbursement estimate is too low. In the event that your home is uninhabitable and you acquire hotel expenses, having receipts will be critical in ensuring you are reimbursed, if applicable.
3. Your property is inspected and reviewed
The adjuster will come to your home and evaluate each room and discuss property loss with you. They will take photos to provide a room-by-room damage estimate of your home and personal property, and also collect any receipts or estimates that you may have already obtained to repair or cover existing damages. Then, your insurance carrier will thoroughly review the adjuster’s inspection report and compare it against your flood policy terms and conditions to determine.
4. A payout decision is made
Finally, your insurance adjuster will contact you to let you know if you’re entitled to a payout, and if you are, the total payment for covered damage. If you’re unhappy with the adjuster’s estimate, you do have the option to hire a public adjuster who can come in as an unbiased third-party to evaluate your property and assess damages, and represent you should you decide to appeal.
The amount of time it can take for this process varies from case to case. It’s inevitable that your insurance provider will have an influx of claims after a major weather disaster, so it’s important to exercise patience.
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