It may always be sunny in Philadelphia, but perhaps not in Florida. Florida is one of the only states of the U.S. which has a tropical climate and boasts of warm temperatures all year round. But because it is a coastal state, it is also prone to hazards that arise from being close to the ocean, add global warming and rising temperatures, and you are likely to face greater chances of flooding now more than ever before.
While you may have an idea of what to do when a flood occurs, the aftermath is usually one of the worst periods, and not knowing how to claim insurance may be a hurdle in your path to rebuilding your property and life. The importance of having flood insurance cannot be understated, as was exemplified by the recent Hurricane Ian which caused large-scale destruction and flood damage, killing at least a hundred in its path.
You have to know that most insurers do not cover flood damage and/or water damage along with home insurance, therefore, a supplemental insurance policy is required for flood damage specifically. In areas which are flood-prone such as Florida (High-risk zone), it is ultimately the best precaution to opt for supplemental insurance which is available for residential as well as commercial properties. There are usually two types of coverage included within a Flood insurance policy which is 1) Dwelling Coverage- which covers the property and pays for repairs for damages to the property, and 2) Contents Coverage- which covers belongings contained within the affected property; these do not have to be purchased simultaneously and people can opt for either of them separately as well.
In case you have opted for flood insurance, here are five effective steps to claim insurance following a flood:
Call your insurance company- Contact the call center of the insurance agency as soon as possible. Most insurance companies give a time period of 60 days to claim insurance, and other agencies have similar mandates.
Document the damage- After the call to claims, there will be an inspection of your property for the damage caused by the floods. Before that happens, make sure to document, through photos or videos all levels of structural damage, the flooding levels, and damage to appliances and furniture before readjusting things on your own or throwing corroded items away.
Meet with the Adjuster- Following the claim, there will be a claims adjuster visit to inspect the damages and measure the scale (you can also present your documentation of the damage to them). You can discuss your chances of getting an advance payment for your losses with the adjuster. It is important to note that the claims adjuster is not the source of approval for claims, and the final authority lies with the insurance agency.
Draft a Proof of Loss Statement - A proof of Loss statement is a document that substantiates your claims and will help ratify your claim. The adjuster or your insurance agent will help you in preparing it to present to the insurer. These processes are strictly timebound, therefore, one must be careful to make it to the deadline which is usually 60 days.
Contain Mold- It becomes incredibly important at this time period, to make sure that you contain the growth and spread of mold effectively. Mold damage may not be included in flood damage if you do not take proper action to prevent its spread.
You may have to make alternative living arrangements until repairs are in order. Some private insurers do cover rent and other additional expenses, in addition to the payment for rebuilding but it is not a guarantee, so make sure that you understand the coverage provided by your insurer.
As stated above, while homeowner insurance policy does not cover flood or water damages, you may be liable to claim insurance if there was damage through rain falling in through a hole, or if the wording about flood and water damage is ambiguous giving you liberty to stake a claim.
In case of a claim is denied, you do have the option to appeal the decision, or request an appraisal in case you feel that your payment concerning the cost of damage has been undervalued. You can also consult external support such as public adjusters to help you settle your flood claim. We, at Santos Public Adjusters, are here to make sure you are paid the maximum settlement to help mitigate your loss. For more details, contact us.