How to File a Flood Insurance Claim

How to File a Flood Insurance Claim by Woodard Cleaning & Restoration in St. Louis, Mo.

Did you know that floods are the most common natural disaster in the United States? If you live in a flood plain, or have simply fallen victim to this season’s tremendous rain fall, this information is probably not at all surprising. While flooding is incredibly common, that doesn’t change the fact that dealing with the aftermath is a nightmare. After a flood, many homeowners find themselves wondering, “what now?” Well, we’re here to help; we’ll show you what steps to take after your home floods, and how to file a flood insurance claim.

Step #1: Contact Your Insurance Provider

Immediately after experiencing a flood, contact your insurance agent, or company, to file a claim. Within a few days of contact, an adjuster should be in contact. However, if you do not hear from your adjuster, contact your insurance agent, or company, once again to confirm your claim is in process. When contacting your flood insurance provider, make things a bit easier on yourself by having the following items handy:

  • The name of your insurance company – This may seem like a no-brainer, but is especially important if you are insured through a brokerage that works with various providers.
  • Your insurance policy number
  • The best possible contact information, so that you can be reached at all times - This includes all phone numbers and email addresses.

Step #2: Assess Your Flood Damage

If possible, carefully begin sorting and separating damaged property from undamaged property. Since your insurance adjuster will require evidence of damage to your home and possessions to prepare your estimate, you’ll speed up the process by doing this before you’re formally asked. In order to properly, and accurately, assess your flood damage in a way that is satisfactory to your insurance adjuster, you’ll need to do the following:

  • Capture Photographs of the Damage
  • When assessing the damage of your home, property, and possessions, be sure to take plenty of photographs; capture photos of everything from damaged property and structural damage to standing water and discarded objects. Even if the majority of your items are unrecognizable, and clearly unsalvageable, photograph them. As you’re photographing, take the time to examine all areas of your property to note every instance of damage. While this may seem, and feel, tedious and tiring, it’ll save a great deal of time, money, and frustration in the end.
  • Document, Organize & List Your Damage
  • After you’ve photographed the damage, you’ll move on to the next step of damage assessment by taking detailed inventory of your damaged property and lost items. As you’re taking inventory, create a well-organized list to note every item and detail, including date of purchase, value, and, if possible, receipts. With an organized list outlining your property damage, you’ll greatly speed up turnaround times when it comes to completing your claim.
  • Properly Dispose of Damaged Items
  • In most states, officials require all flood damaged items to be removed from the interior of the property, and safely discarded outside of the home. While this practice is not enforced in every state, it’s a good rule to follow to avoid mold growth and further damage.

Step #3: File Your Proof of Loss Claim

After personally assessing your flood damage, your insurance adjuster will provide you with a Proof of Loss form for the official damage claim. Once you’ve been provided the form, it is your responsibility to file the claim within 60 days. The Proof of Loss form substantiates your insurance claim, and is required to be submitted before the National Flood Insurance Program or insurance company can make a payment.

Step #4: Receiving Payment

After you and your insurer agree on the amount of damages, and you’ve provided your insurance company with an accurate, complete, and signed Proof of Loss form, you’ll receive your claim payment. While all insurance providers strive to process claims and issue payment as quickly as possible, major catastrophic floods could slow the process.

Be Proactive Against Flooding

If you don’t have flood insurance on your home, we highly suggest getting it; contact your homeowner insurance provider to discuss costs, risk levels in your area, and benefits. On that same note, consider investing in a fire and water resistant storage device to store copies of your insurance policy, receipts, and other important documents. Take these steps today, to avoid a stressful situation tomorrow.