So, you have suffered a flood and your home and contents within it have been damaged—possibly even destroyed. You knew that you lived in an area prone to floods, so you made sure to purchase flood insurance when you bought insurance for your home. But what are your next steps? The flood insurance claims process can be a bit complicated, but here are five things to help you figure it out.
1. Contact Your Insurance Company Immediately
As soon as you have realized that you have suffered a loss and need to file a claim, contact your insurance company to let them know what is going on. Give them a number where you can be reached, since you likely are not staying in your own home. Your insurance company will assign an adjuster to your case, also known as a claim. The adjuster will let you know of the next steps of the claims process and will provide you with any necessary forms that you need to fill out or have on-hand.
2. Clean up after the Flood
Once all the water has receded, the clean up process should begin. Wait until it has been deemed safe to re-enter your home, then go to each room of the home and begin separating damaged items from undamaged items. You should also separate wet and dry items. Check to see if the wet items are savable or not before simply throwing them away. Don't throw anything away before talking to your adjuster.
3. Create a List of Damaged/Lost Property
Your next step is to begin creating a very detailed list of all personal property that has been lost or damaged. Take any photos of damage, including sitting water inside the house. You can also take a video of the damage.
4. Work with Your Adjuster
As mentioned earlier, your insurance company will assign an adjuster to your claim. He or she will work with you to determine the extent of the damage and calculate the value of the items that you have lost during the flood. The adjuster will prepare a repair estimate for your property. Make sure that you are in agreement with the adjuster on what repairs need to be performed and why. Remember, the adjuster is there to work with you, not against you.
5. Itemize Your Possessions
Ultimately, itemizing your possessions should be done prior to the flood. This should be done when you first purchase flood insurance. To do this, create a very detailed, thorough list of all of your home's possessions. Go to each room and take inventory of your items—beds, dressers, chairs, sofas, etc. Describe each item, including the make and model, serial number, date of purchase, and price. If you have the receipt, include that as well, especially for valuable items like jewelry and electronics. You will also want to take pictures of your possessions.