Flood Insurance Coverage: 5 Steps to Making Your Claim

If it rains, it can flood. And that’s a nightmare for any homeowner.

You have to face the cleanup, repairs, and your insurance company. You have to keep your family safe as you begin the long process of recovery. Sadly, many homeowners who endure this type of disaster don’t have flood insurance coverage.

Whether you have flood insurance or you’re considering purchasing a policy, you should know the process for filing a flood claim. That’s where we can help. Here are the steps to take when filing a flood insurance claim. 

Flood Insurance Claims Process

If you experience a flood, contact your insurance agent or insurance company to report the incident. You should do this as soon as possible. A written notice of loss is required. Your adjuster will typically contact you 24 to 48 hours after you report your claim, but depending on the situation and weather conditions, this could take longer.

Ask your insurance agent about getting an advance payment if needed. The advance payment is deducted from the final claim payment to help you begin the recovery process.

How Do I Contact My Insurance Company?

Your insurance company should have a toll-free number you can call. If you can’t locate it, you can contact the NFIP call center at 1-800-427-4661. Call center representatives can assist you and help you contact your insurance provider. They will answer any questions you may have. Be sure to have the following information handy:

  • The name of your insurance carrier
  • Your policy number
  • Your phone number and email address
  • Your mortgage company name or contact information

Prepare for the Inspection

Before entering your home, make sure it’s safe to do so. Do not attempt to enter into a hazardous situation.

Take photos and videos of the property damage, including items you intend to discard. Be sure to get photos of any structural damage to your home and property (inside and outside). Document any damage to furnishings and appliances before removing these items from your home. The insurance adjuster needs evidence of any damage to prepare a repair estimate.

  • Take a photo of the make, model, and serial number of damaged appliances
  • Photograph water-damaged carpets, flooring, drapes, or wallpaper 
  • Photograph and dispose of food or any item that poses a health risk
  • Contact repair services for electrical, HVAC, or water systems as needed
  • Consult your insurance company before signing any cleanup agreements 

Flood avoidance is a protective action many homeowners take to minimize flood damage to their homes and property before a flood. Talk to your claims adjuster to discuss any loss-avoidance measures you may have taken.

Work With the Adjuster

When you meet with the flood adjuster, they should provide their official identification and contact information. The adjuster should inspect your property and cover the following:

  • An overview of the NFIP claims process
  • A thorough property inspection where they gauge the scope of the damage and your losses
  • An explanation of advance payment and how to apply for it
  • Information about presenting your loss to the insurance company
  • A discussion of what your insurance policy covers

Things to Remember

  • The insurance carrier, not the adjuster, approves your claim
  • Remember you may be eligible for an advance payment
  • Ask the adjuster about the increased cost of compliance
  • The adjuster shouldn’t ask for money or collect the deductible

Keep in mind that following the inspection, your adjuster should offer information about the next steps for you to take and what you can expect to happen.

Document Your Losses

Your insurance adjuster will help you document your damages for the claim. A few things you can do to help the process go smoothly include:

  • Talk to your insurance agent about your policy and what it covers.
  • Read any documentation you have regarding your policy
  • Provide photos and video of the damage to your home and property
  • Organize your damage evidence by room.

Your adjuster will help you submit an estimate of your losses. Be sure to take note of any deadlines you must meet. This helps ensure you receive payments that reflect your flood damages according to your policy limits.

Clean Up Process

A flooded home can turn into an unhealthy environment very quickly. Mold, mildew, and fungus can spread and grow in damp and hidden areas of your home.

Mold is a major problem and a health hazard for homeowners who have experienced flooding. It’s important to do everything you can to prevent the spread of mold. NFIP won’t cover any mold damage if you don’t try to curtail the spread. 

Mold damage is evaluated case-by-case. Pre-existing mold or mildew problems are not covered by NFIP policies. They do cover reasonable actions taken to mitigate any mold or mildew problems following a flood. If it’s impossible for a homeowner to get into the property for cleanup purposes, the damage may still be covered.

Purchase Flood Insurance

The best time to purchase flood insurance is when you don’t need it. You never know when a flood may occur. Even areas that have never experienced a flood are at risk. If your home is in a flood zone, your lender probably requires you to have flood insurance coverage. 

Note that a flood zone can be any area that has a 1% chance of flooding in any given year. Floods can occur anywhere. Many people who never thought their property would flood experience the devastation flood waters can bring every year. Make sure your property is protected with a separate flood insurance policy.

Flood Insurance Coverage for Your Home

You never know when bad weather will strike and lead to flood waters entering your home. You don’t have to live in a designated flood zone to experience the devastating effects of flooding.

If you’re in need of flood insurance coverage or other types of insurance, we’d love to help. Flood insurance policies are affordable and bring great peace of mind. McMahon Insurance Agency has 100 years of experience meeting our customers’ insurance needs. Contact us today to learn more about affordable flood insurance.