Unfortunately, flooding can happen at any time of year. No matter what the cause, it’s important to know how to handle making a claim with your insurance company so you are fully reimbursed for the repairs your home needs.
6 Steps to Follow For Making a Homeowners Insurance Claim
- Make Sure You Are Safe First: If your family is in danger due to flood waters, get to safety. If you have time to grab important paperwork, do so — but not at the cost of your life.
- Call Your Insurance Company Immediately: Report the damage and ask for help with the next steps. If you don’t have your paperwork, ask for a recap of important policy information.
- Make Temporary Repairs: If you can safely stop the source of the water damage or rescue some items from further damage, do so. If you can’t do it yourself, call a professional for help.
- Save All Receipts: If you get outside help from a plumber or property restoration company to prevent further damage, save all the receipts for reimbursement.
- Document the Damage: Be sure to take plenty of photos of the damage caused. This will help the insurance adjuster in case the water has receded by the time he or she arrives.
- Fill Out All Claim Paperwork: Your insurance company will send you claim forms to fill out, so be sure to do them promptly. They’ll also send an inspector to view the damage, so make sure you meet that professional in person to discuss your situation.
What’s Covered by Your Insurance?
Standard home insurance policies don’t cover flooding caused by natural weather events or ground water seepage, though they will cover water damage caused by malfunctioning pipes, machinery or storm damage. It’s best to describe your issue as “water damage” when you make the call to keep the insurance adjustor’s mind open to your claim. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you should purchase additional flood insurance to make sure you’re covered.
Many policies cover replacement of damaged property with similar materials and fixtures, but you might be able to upgrade during repair and restoration work. Talk to the company fixing the damage about your options; you may be able to pay the difference for upgraded fixtures.