Few people ever buy a home believing that one day it will flood. Unfortunately, flooding occurs all too often. The damage it leaves behind is usually extensive, especially if levee breaks or some form of natural disaster is involved.
After a terrible disaster, insurance companies may be swamped. Homeowners struggle to recoup their damages and deal with their losses. All of this stress makes it difficult to manage the next steps.
If you are unsure what to do next, here are some steps that will help you get your life and home back in order.
Get in Touch With Your Insurance Company
If you have homeowners insurance that covers flooding, your first step should be to get in touch with your insurance agent. Your insurance company needs to understand what has happened as soon as possible.
You will likely meet with an insurance adjuster to discuss the flooding. Whether you meet in person or talk over the phone, you should provide your policy number and other identification information. You should soon receive a written statement about your insurance claim.
Some people choose to hire a public insurance adjuster who is used to handling large-scale claims. This adjuster will take their own photos and measurements to make their own personal judgment.
Contact Government Agencies
In some cases, you may be able to seek assistance from government agencies. For instance, you might be able to receive help from FEMA. Disaster benefits are also available through organizations like the National Flood Insurance Program. Understand which programs are available to you based on your current insurance situation.
Keep Documentation of Flooding
Documentation of your flooding is essential, even if the only camera you have is your smartphone. Use video to give your insurance agent or another inspector a total walkthrough of the home to show off any damage.
The more detailed you can keep your photos, the better. Insurance agents want to know the extent of the damage, so make sure that the pictures paint an accurate picture.
Additionally, you need to keep all the paperwork associated with insurance and the flooding.
Submit Proof of Loss
After flooding, you need to submit proof of loss, reviewing for accuracy before filing. Proof of loss is a legal document that makes a claim about your losses as a result of the flood. Unfortunately, these documents are rarely simple. If they are not filled out accurately, the process of receiving benefits could be severely delayed.
Clean Up With Care
If you clean up your own home after flooding, you need to be extra careful. Cleaning up after a flood can be especially dangerous if you are not cautious.
First, provide plenty of ventilation throughout the home. You may need to rip out the carpet and throw away upholstered furniture. Otherwise, you could be facing a dangerous mold problem.
Next, be careful about electricity in a flood environment. You should not connect the electricity unless the house has already been looked at by a licensed electrician.
Finally, your insurance company may expect you to mitigate damages as much as possible. Remove any excess water from the home and prevent any additional water from entering.
Work With Trustworthy Contractors
Finding the right contractor to work with is difficult. After a large incident in which massive flooding has occurred, you may struggle to determine if contractors getting in touch with you are legitimate. The key is to read reviews and ensure that you are working with companies that are licensed and bonded.
Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants understands the struggles that come with flooding. Get in touch with us today to learn more about your insurance and benefit options after a flood.