The first step in filing a flood insurance claim is to contact your insurer, or, if possible, your agent. Before you call, be sure to have your policy number handy and determine a way, typically telephone or email, that you can be contacted at any time.
- If you are staying in a shelter or do not have access to a phone, ask someone you trust if they can serve as a contact person.
- Take thorough notes from your correspondence.
- You should document at least the following:
- Claim Number
- Your Adjuster’s Name and Contact Information
- When You Should Be Expecting to Hear From the Adjuster
If any repairs need to be made to your home to prevent further flood damage, make them. Cleaning up is also a prudent step to take, though it’s important to document any damage from the flood.
- Keep your safety in mind and be careful!
- Check with your flood insurance provider or adjuster to find out whether you can remove any damaged items; if this is required, place the items outside your home until instructed otherwise by your adjuster.
Take the following steps to document the damage caused by the flood:
- Take photographs of any damaged property or items.
- Be sure to include pictures of the water level inside and outside your home, if possible.
- Assemble any receipts you have for items that will need replacing; if these are not accessible, make notes of the item, the date you purchased it, and its value.
- Include serial numbers for large items like appliances or electronics.
- Keep a thorough list of damaged items, sorted by room if possible, and be sure to have access to it when you meet with the flood insurance adjuster.
- Add to your list any structural damage to your property, such as broken windows, unstable walls, or holes in the roof.
When you meet with the adjuster (usually 24-48 hours after the claims process has begun), he or she will inspect your property and take note of any damage that has occured; this is what the flood insurance provider calls scoping a loss.
- Comply with the adjuster’s requests and be aware they are not responsible for approving or denying your claim.
- You can ask the adjuster any questions you have, including making a request for an advance or partial payment.
- The adjuster will instruct you on any steps you need to follow to complete the claim. Be sure to follow them thoroughly.
- If the adjuster needs to see you or the property again, he or she will let you know and provide contact information. Keep this easily accessible.
You will need to file an official claim with your flood insurance company, called a Proof of Loss. The adjuster may supply you with an outline for one, but ultimately it is your responsibility as the flood insurance policy holder to make sure it is completed thoroughly and accurately. Keep a copy of the Proof of Loss and other supporting documents such as photos and receipts, and file the original with your insurance provider; be sure to do this in a timely manner to avoid delaying processing. The time limit for filing the Proof of Loss is 60 days from the date of loss, but filing sooner may possibly expedite the claims process.
We understand that this process is stressful and if we can help you in any way through these steps, please don’t hesitate to contact us.