Flood damage is stressful enough. Learn the steps of filing a flood claim to take some uncertainty off your plate.
How to File a Flood Insurance Claim
Getting your life back in order after a flood can be daunting. Trying to understand the ins and outs of how your claims will be paid can add more frustration to an already stressful situation. So let’s simplify it and take a look at how flood insurance claims are paid out.
Contact Your Flood Insurer
Before you do anything, your first step should be to call your flood insurance company and alert it about the flood damage to your home. That will initiate the paperwork you must complete and the adjustor’s visit so that you can get your insurance check as quickly as possible.
Typically, you have a year after the disaster to file your claim, but you don’t want to delay on communicating with your insurance company. This communication ensures your claim is paid out quickly and that you have the paperwork you need to move forward.
You should also give your mortgage provider a call. The settlement for your claim may be paid out to both you and your mortgage company, depending on the terms of your mortgage.
Document the Damage
Before your claim can be processed, you have to do some documentation. As a general rule, the better your paper trail, the easier the claims process will be.
You will need to document the following:
- Loss of property. No matter how damaged, it is important to itemize every item affected by the flood on paper and via photograph for your records. This proves your losses and your required repairs or replacements. It also serves as evidence if you need to dispute your adjustor’s findings later on.
- Repairs. Once repairs are underway, document them. This allows you to contact your mortgage company and get the maximum amount of payout from the escrow allotted your mortgage company (more on that soon).
- Contact information. Keep contact information for those working on your home repairs in case your insurer needs to contact them.
Expect the Adjuster
Your insurer will send an adjuster to assess your property losses. If there’s a dispute with their findings, your prior documentation of damage and repairs can bolster your case.
Once your property has been inspected by an adjustor, you can negotiate with the adjustor to submit an insurance claim.
Get the Payout
Though the exact process for your claims settlement depends on your insurance provider, the general payout process works like this:
- Your mortgage company gets a check for damage to the house. If you have a mortgage, the check for home repairs may be made out to both you and the mortgage lender. This condition is typically part of your mortgage contract and helps the lender ensure the repairs are made. Your lender will usually put the money in escrow to cover repairs as work is completed.
- You get a check for damaged personal belongings. Your insurance company will initially send a check for the actual cash value of the damaged items, even if you have replacement cost insurance.
- You get the remainder of your personal property settlement once you replace your items. If you have replacement cost coverage for your personal property, you’ll receive the full replacement cost of the items once you replace the damaged belongings and provide the receipts to your insurer.
As always, if you have questions during the claims process, call your agent or your insurer for assistance.