May 12th, 2014
After a month of heavy rainfall and dozens of tornadoes throughout the country, millions of affected Americans are in the midst of filing homeowners insurance claims as a result of April weather damage. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you probably have already invested in flood insurance, and may need to file a claim if you were hit by severe weather this spring. Here are some tips to simplify the claim process:
Have your information ready
After a flood, you will want to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible after to start the claim process. More than likely, an insurance adjuster will be in touch with you soon after, usually within a few days. You should have your information ready including your policy number and a phone number or address where you can be reached at all times. If you do not hear from an adjuster after a few days, having this information for your policy provider will ensure you hear from them as soon as possible.
Assess the damage
Though you may want to start cleaning up any possessions that were destroyed, your insurance company will need to see the damage to approve your claim. To aid this process, you can divide undamaged belongings from damaged items. Take pictures of what might have been affected by the flood and make a list of possessions that may have been lost or destroyed. While making this list, you should include when each item was purchased and what its value is. If you have the receipt from when you bought the items, gather them up to keep with the list, if possible.
Do not throw out items that have been damaged or destroyed, as your insurance provider may need to do their own assessment. However, if you are required to dispose of items, try placing them outside your home while the claim process is underway. If you are unable to estimate the value of the damage or the cost of repairs, an insurance adjuster will help you determine your losses.
File the paperwork
Once you have assessed the damage and determined the value of lost items, file a claim and send in the paperwork to your insurance provider within 60 days of the flood. You will need to file a Proof of Loss form detailing your official claim as required by the National Flood Insurance Program. Neither your insurance provider nor the NFIP will be able to make payments for your losses without this form.
In a natural disaster, there are likely many people affected, which could mean longer claim processing times. It is important to remain patient while waiting for your flood insurance claim to be approved, but getting in your paperwork and staying organized will help speed up the process. If your contact information or residence changes during the claim process, you should let your insurance provider know right away.