Floods exist in virtually every part of the world, even in places such as California where the climate is mainly dry. Flood damage is a common occurrence. Flood damage claims filing can be quite tedious when you get down to it, too.
Our homes may get flooded for lots of reasons, apart from unusually heavy rain. A bathtub, sink, or toilet might overflow, or there may be a burst pipe. Water pump failures are also common causes.
After flood damage, your highest priority is to take action to prevent further flooding and damage to your property The best way to do this is to remove the water, dry out the area, clean, and restore the property to its previous condition. This needs to be done before mold and mildew emerge and start to spread.
You should hire a certified water damage specialist. This person can assess the damage, if there is any, and advise you on how to repair it. Americans in, for example, Los Angeles, who have home insurance can choose any flood damage claims adjuster they wish. Most insurance companies do not insist that you use specific people.
Is Flood Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Many people assume that their insurance policy will cover flood damage. Sudden and accidental bursts of plumbing pipes may be covered under your residential insurance policy. However, how much is covered and what kind of events are included varies from policy to policy.
Some people find the whole process of filing a flood damage claim frustrating, bewildering, stressful, and even depressing. Fortunately, a public adjuster can help simplify the whole process.
A public adjuster is an individual who evaluates the damage to your home and then helps you understand the entitlements of your policy. A public adjuster represents you and protects your interests – not the interests of the insurance company. If you don’t like dealing with insurance companies, you should seriously consider hiring a public adjuster.
When to File a Flood Damage Claim
While all contract agreements are different, most insurance companies require prompt notice if your property suffers any damage. Therefore, if there has been flooding in your home and you suspect damage, you should notify your insurance company or agent immediately.
You should also hand in your claim as soon as you can. If you leave it to late, you could be in breach of the terms of your policy, i.e., your claim may be turned down.
Process for a Flood Damage Claim
Your first step should be to examine your insurance policy. Some policies have notification requirements. This means that you must notify your insurer within a certain time period after the flood or whatever event caused damage to your home.
After you have determined what your reporting obligations are, it is time to prepare your claim. Although you can consult with a public adjuster at any stage during the flood damage insurance claim process, we suggest calling a public adjuster before contacting your insurance company. They are less likely to sabotage your claim by including too much, unclear, or wrong information.
Once you’ve spoken with a public adjuster and reviewed your policy, reach out to your insurance company. They may require you to submit specific documentation as well as a statement regarding the damage. Make sure that you keep track of all your expenses. Keep all related receipts.
Expenses related to flood damage do not only include the money you spent repairing your home. If you had to stay in a hotel or rent somewhere while the repairs were being done, your insurance company may also reimburse you for those costs.
Insurers will send their adjustor
Your insurance provider will assign your claim to a representative and send an adjuster to evaluate your loss. If you have retained a public adjuster, they will be able to deal with the insurance company’s adjuster directly.
Lastly, your provider will send you a letter detailing your policy limits, deductibles, and a plan for obtaining repair estimates. If you agree to their terms, repairs and estimates can begin immediately. Payment methods vary, depending on the size of your claim.
If repairs are very expensive, your insurance company may pay the restoration or construction company directly.
Proof of Loss
When property damage occurs in somebody’s home, the insurance company asks them to fill out a Proof of Loss document. The form helps the insurance company work out how much it needs to pay out. Such forms are typically one page long.
Include all the relevant facts in your form when you receive it. Make sure that everything you include in it really happened and that you have proof. Insurance companies are experienced at identifying fraudulent insurance claims.
Most of the insurance companies will demand a Sworn Statement in Proof of Loss. The content that should be included in your Proof of Loss are the necessary facts that you inform your insurance provider to facilitate the flood damage investigation. These facts can help the insurance provider identify fraudulent flood damage claims.
The Proof of Loss form should be notarized – it is a sworn statement from the insured to the insurer concerning the scope of damage to their property. You must declare under the penalty of perjury that the information is true. Perjury means lying or making a misrepresentation under oath. In most countries’ legal systems, perjury is considered a very serious offence. In the United States, for example, somebody guilty of perjury might end up in prison.
The insurance company uses the information in the Proof of Loss form as a basis for determining their obligations to you for the property loss. Once you submit the form, your insurer will then be able to review your flood damage claim.
Floods are common, dangerous, and destructive
Floods are among the most common natural disasters in the world. No other type of natural disaster in the United States has killed more people and caused more destruction than floods.
If you don’t have insurance for flood damage, you should seriously consider purchasing a policy.