Your Home or Business has Suffered a Flood Loss So, What Happens Next?
Yes, please take as many photographs as needed (and more, if possible) to show the extent of flood damages to both the building and contents. There are no device-based photograph requirements – photographs can be taken with virtually any device that you have available from traditional cameras to pocket cell phones and even tablets. Every flood damage content item valued at over $100 needs to be photographed. You should provide these photographs to your adjuster.
Clean up should begin as soon as the flood waters recede and when it is safe to enter your home. To begin, remove carpeting that has gotten wet, take a photograph, cut it up and then drag it out. Wet carpeting may be a health hazard as it promotes mold growth. It needs to be removed as quickly as possible. If you have had over 6 inches of water, take photographs of the water mark in each room and then remove the drywall up to the water line to start the drying process. It is important that this process begins as soon as possible. Once the damaged drywall is removed, dehumidifiers and fans will help to speed up the drying and prevent mold.
If you have contents coverage, make a room by room detailed list of all damaged personal property and separate the damaged from the undamaged items. Have the list available for your adjuster on his initial visit. Save damaged personal property and take photographs of it. It is the adjuster’s responsibility to verify contents damage. If you throw away something before the adjuster gets there, you must have a photograph of the item showing the damage in order to claim it.
The adjuster will take photographs of damage to your insured building as well as your damaged personal property if you have contents coverage. He will take measurements, scope the building damage and will explain the flood claims process. When working with the adjuster it is important that you both come to an agreement about the “scope of damage”, meaning an agreement about what needs to be repaired or replaced, without a dollar amount. The adjuster will discuss this with you as he goes from room to room.
In most instances you will be able to receive an advance payment to help you start the recovery process. When your adjuster visits your property, let him know if you will need an advance or partial payment on your loss.
I had a large and valuable baseball card collection that was destroyed, will I be paid for its full value?
The Standard Floor Insurance Policy will pay no more than $2,500.00 per loss of the following items:
- Artwork, photographs, collectibles, or memorabilia, including but not limited to: porcelain or other figures and sports cards.
- Rare books or autographed items
- Jewelry, watches precious and semiprecious stones, or articles of gold, silver, or platinum
- Furs or any article containing fur which represents its principal value
- Personal property used in a business
This is an extremely important point. Replacement cost coverage (which pays to replace or restore a structure or item) is only available on a limited basis and ONLY for a single-family dwelling that is a principal residence. To receive replacement cost coverage on this structure, you must be insured to at least 80% of the building’s replacement cost at the time of the loss or the maximum amount of coverage available, whichever is less. Contents losses are ALWAYS adjusted on an actual cash value basis.
The wind broke a window and rainwater accumulated in my home, will my flood policy pay for this damage?
No. When rain enters through a wind-damaged window or door, or comes through a hole in a wall or roof, the National Flood Insurance Program considers the resulting water and damage to be windstorm-related, not flood-related.
The Standard Flood Insurance Policy provides coverage for one building per policy. The only exception is 10% coverage for a detached garage. However, the total payment for flood damage to the detached garage and the house together cannot exceed the building policy limit. For coverage to apply, the garage must be designed and used for parking and storage. Any other use would void this coverage.