This home insurance article explains how to file a property insurance claim and also how to best prepare yourself for when the eventuality arises whereby you need to lodge a flood insurance claim, disaster insurance claim or other home owner’s insurance claim.
Flood Insurance Claim Filing Steps
The claim filing steps to take according to US national flood insurance program are:
1.) CONTACT THE INSURER
In the incident of a flood, call your agent or insurance company promptly. When you call, be prepared. You will need following:
a. Your insurance company’s name and claim phone number (or your agent’s number);
b. Your policy number; and
c. A telephone and/or email address where you can be reached.
After your call, a claims adjuster will be assigned to you. This person will assist you with the evaluation of your loss. He/she will also help file your flood insurance claim.
If you will have to go to a shelter or otherwise will be out of reach, offer your agent a trusted point-of-contact, such as a friend or relative who can reach you if necessary. Contact your insurance agent or company again, if an adjuster has not been assigned to you within a few days of your phone call.
2.) SORT & RECORD
When you are allowed back to your home or commercial site, you can start separating your damaged from undamaged property. Realize it’s not yet ‘cleaning up’ time, but ‘recording’ time. Tips:
a. Photograph and videotape everything—from structural damage and floodwater levels on building exteriors to building interiors and contents—to help prepare documentation of what the flooding damaged.
b. Do not throw out damaged property before your adjuster has seen it unless it may be a health hazard or could impede local cleanup.
c. If objects must be discarded, take photos and keep samples (fabric swatches, pieces of furniture, etc.) to help substantiate your claim.
d. Photograph standing water, both outside and inside your home or business.
3.) ITEMIZE THE DAMAGE
There are really two steps here:
a. The first step is to make a list of all damaged or lost items.
b. The second step is to work alongside your claims adjuster. You are itemizing your claim, and calculating the value of the destroyed items by applying your detailed inventory against your damaged or lost property.
Flood Insurance Preparation Tip
Ideally, before there is any drama, e.g. when you are taking out or renewing your insurance annually, you have created a personalized “flood file” . This flood file is to contain a copy of your insurance policy with the contact information for your agent or insurance company; a complete inventory of the possessions in your home or business on a room-by-room basis. Describe each item and include serial numbers, model numbers, date of purchase, and receipts; photos or videos of your possessions; plus copies of other important papers.
Hopefully you have safely stored your flood file in a secure place, i.e. away from the property you are insuring, typically in a safety deposit box.
4.) FILING YOUR CLAIM
Timing matters! File your official claim for damages within 60 days of the flood. Your signed, sworn statement, called Proof of Loss, substantiates the insurance claim. This official document is required for the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or insurance company to be able to make payment.
a. Your adjuster should provide you with the insurance claim form. However, it is your responsibility to provide your insurance company with a signed Proof of Loss within 60-days of the date of loss.
b. You must include a detailed estimate to replace or repair the damaged property. You can obtain this estimate from your insurance claims adjuster. You should both come to an agreement about the scope of damage and what needs to be repaired or replaced.
c. Your claim is payable after you and the insurer agree on the amount of damages and the insurer receives your complete, accurate and signed Proof of Loss.
If major catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to process claims and make payments because of the sheer number of claims submitted.
Stay covered & renew your policy annually.
source: The US national flood insurance program at Floodsmart.gov