FLOOD INSURANCE BASICS
Flood insurance covers losses to your property caused by flooding. From structural damage and mechanicals to flood debris cleanup and floor surfaces (like tile and carpeting), your investment is protected by a flood insurance policy, something that your homeowner’s policy doesn’t offer.
In addition, you can purchase separate coverage that insures most of your personal property and belongings up to a specified limit, including:
• Furniture, housewares, bedding
• Decorative items, lamps and lighting fixtures
• Books, home electronics, computers
• Area rugs and draperies
• Clothes washers and dryers
• Air conditioners
• Food freezers and the food in them
• Portable microwave ovens
The benefits of flood insurance coverage are many. Not only is coverage there when you need it, but it also:
• Compensates for all covered losses
• Compensates for flood damages even if federal disaster aid is unavailable
• Pays for your covered losses, unlike interest-bearing loans through federal disaster aid
• Comes in low-cost policies for those that qualify
• Guarantees compensation for flood damages because the Federal government backs NFIP flood insurance
• Helps you move on because if your property is damaged by flood, your agent is there to help you handle your claim (Please note: most claims are paid within 30 to 60 days)
• Pays your flood insurance claims through policyholder premiums, not taxpayer dollars
HOW TO REPORT A CLAIM
I’VE BEEN FLOODED, SO WHAT DO I DO NOW?
Contact your insurance company or Morris & Reynolds Insurance immediately. We will assign a claims adjuster to help you evaluate your loss and inform you of the steps you need to take to file your claim.
If major catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to process claims and make payments because of the sheer number of claims submitted.
Let’s take a closer look at the claims process and what you can do to help speed the process along.
ITEMIZING YOUR POSSESSIONS:
1. Before flooding occurs, create a “flood file” (a detailed list) of all your possessions. Document possessions within your home or business with a thorough, room-by-room inventory. Describe each item and include serial numbers, model numbers, date of purchase and receipts. Itemize everything—from sofas, chairs and rugs to pictures, plants and contents of drawers and cupboards.
2. Take photos or video to document your possessions and include them in your “flood file” with your itemized list.
3. Safely store your “flood file” (flood insurance policy, itemized list, receipts, video, etc.) in a place secure from loss away from the property you’re insuring; typically a safe deposit box.
CONTACTING YOUR AGENT OR INSURANCE COMPANY:
If you’ve been flooded, contact Morris & Reynolds Insurance or your insurance company immediately.
1. Have the following ready:
- The name of your insurance company
- Your policy number
- A telephone and/or email address where you can be reached
2. Let your agent know where you can be reached at all times. If you’re in a shelter or cannot be easily reached, provide your agent with a trusted point-of-contact (friend, relative) who can reach you if necessary.
REPORTING A CLAIM
After you have contacted your agent:
1. Separate damaged from undamaged items. Do not throw out damaged property before your adjuster has seen it, unless it may be a health hazard or could impede local cleanup. If objects must be discarded, take photos and keep samples (fabric swatches, pieces of furniture, etc.) to help substantiate your claim.
2. Review your policy. Flood insurance covers buildings and/or contents for residential and non-residential properties. It’s important to know what your policy covers.
To claim personal property loss you must have contents coverage. Use this list for general guidance:
• The insured building
• Built-in appliances and central air
• Permanently installed paneling, wallpaper, cabinets and carpets
• Garage (up to 10 percent of total building coverage)
• Limited coverage for basements
• Debris removal
• Contents, if contents coverage has been purchased
WHAT’S NOT COVERED:
• Land and fences
• Swimming pools
3. Take photos of standing water, both outside and inside your home or business. Photograph and videotape everything—from structural damage and flood water levels on building exteriors to building interiors and contents—to help prepare documentation of what the flooding damaged.
4. Make a list of all damaged or lost items. Work with your adjuster to itemize your claim and calculate the value of the items destroyed by applying your detailed inventory against your damaged or lost property.
5. Obtain a repair estimate from your adjuster. You should both come to an agreement about the scope of damage—determine what needs to be repaired or replaced.
6. File a Proof of Loss within 60 days of the flood. This sworn statement, made by you, is the valuation of claimed damages. It substantiates the insurance claim and is required before the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or WYO can make payment. Your adjuster should provide the form for you. However, it is your responsibility to provide your insurance company with a signed Proof of Loss within 60-days of the date of loss.
7. Understand the process. Ask detailed questions and manage your claim so that you receive your insurance benefits in a timely manner.
8. If an adjuster has not been assigned to you within a few days of your phone call, contact your Morris & Reynolds Client Service Underwriter or company again.
And remember: to stay covered, you must renew your policy each year.
|FLOOD INSURANCE PUBLICATIONS|
|Flood Insurance Premium Increase
Effective October 1, 2009, changes to the National Flood Insurance Program will result in premium rate increases for various risk zones, coverage limits for building & contents as well as standard deductibles offered for pre- and post- FIRM properties. »
|SIGN UP FOR OUR PUBLICATIONS|