Flood insurance helps you get back to your normal life. However, submitting a claim is never easy. Obviously, insurers need proof of damage and repairs before cutting a check. Equally, you need to understand the fine print of your policy to get the most out of your claim. Here are a few tips to help you navigate an insurance claim with less hassle and greater benefits.
The minute you realize you have flood damage, get your camera. Document everything, even if it seems like a minor detail. A single, sweeping shot of your flooded basement won’t be enough for your insurance company. Record the details, and make sure your photos have time stamps. Write up information to go with the photos to provide context, but make sure every written detail has photographic proof. For instance, if you mention that there were twelve inches of standing water in your basement, then take a picture with a yardstick in the water to measure the actual depth.
Record secondary damages, too. Once the water is gone, take pictures of the materials left on your floor, photograph water damage along the walls, and any other damage that is the result of flood damage. Typically, mold sets in early. If you see any discoloration or unusual growths, take a time-stamped picture immediately.
Review Your Policy Before You Submit a Claim
Insurance companies do not make money by paying out for claims. As a result, they will not pay for anything not explicitly covered in your flood insurance policy, and they will demand proof. That’s why documenting every bit of damage is so important. However, you need more than proof of the damage. You need to know what you’ve been paying for with your insurance premiums.
Before you submit a claim, carefully review your policy, including the fine print. Figure out what services your insurance covers. You also need to know what caveats your insurance provider puts on restoration experts, materials, and other mitigation. If possible, read your flood insurance policy before contacting remediation and restoration teams. Some insurers only allow for specific, prearranged companies to treat your home or business.
Reading your policy may also reveal privileges you didn’t realize you had. After a flood, you may be entitled to more compensation than you expected. For instance, you may be able to replace your carpet instead of simply cleaning it. Additionally, restoration expenses may be covered all the way through fresh paint and specialized repair services for heavily damaged furniture.
Keep an Open Line of Communication with Your Restoration Experts
Your remediation and restoration experts need to be kept in the loop. Discuss your insurance policy with them. They are almost always happy to work with an insurer’s unique demands. Documenting repairs and restoration is just as important as documenting damage, too. Ask whoever you work with to provide you with documentation of your claim. Advance notice is important, so they know what photographs to take and which reports to include.