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Homeowners all across the city are still drying out after our most recent wave of severe summer storms. The downpours closed streets, stranded drivers and caused power outages all across Chicago. It’s the kind of wet wake-up call that makes everyone double-check their insurance coverage.
You may already understand the details in your policy, but do you know how to file a flood damage insurance claim?
The process can seem overwhelming when you’re dealing with the aftermath of water damage in your home. Through our work as the leading disaster restoration company in Chicago, we’re often asked about the best ways to handle flood insurance claims. This overview is designed to give you a better idea of what to expect.
Navigating the Flood Insurance Claims Process
Regular homeowners insurance covers most water damage, but the policies don’t protect property owners in case of natural disasters. This type of coverage is only available through the National Flood Insurance Program or an insurer who participates in the NFIP program.
If it’s been a while since you looked at your homeowners insurance policy, locate it now, and go over it carefully. Understanding the language and definitions can be a challenge especially if you have an additional NFIP policy that covers your home in case of storm flooding.
Once you understand the details of your flood coverage, you need to be prepared to navigate the claims process. We can help with answers to three important questions about filing a flood damage insurance claim.
1. How does a flood insurance claim work?
Filing a flood damage claim starts when you call your insurer. In most cases, the company schedules an onsite property inspection within 24 to 48 hours. When you know what to expect, dealing with an insurance adjuster after water damage doesn’t have to be a stressful experience. The process usually follows these steps:
• The adjuster documents flood damages with an inspection of your property and belongings.
• You receive a Proof of Loss statement based on the adjuster’s assessment.
• The adjuster doesn’t approve or disallow claims and doesn’t make final reimbursement determinations.
• You must sign and send the Proof of Loss statement to your insurance company within the next 60 days.
2. What does flood insurance cover?
While most property and belongings are covered through an NFIP policy, there are limitations. FEMA provides detailed information online covering different types of property. In general, your flood insurance policy covers:
• Home electrical and plumbing systems.
• Stoves, refrigerators and dishwashers.
• Clothes washers and dryers.
• Furnaces, water heaters and sump pumps.
• Portable appliances like microwaves and window AC units.
• Carpets, flooring, paneling and wallboard.
• Foundation walls, detached garages and cisterns.
• Personal belongings including clothing and furnishings.
3. How can you get the most out of your insurance claim?
Immediately after a flood in your home, you’re focused on cleaning up and drying out. However, doing too much too quickly can interfere with the flood claims process and make it harder to finalize your settlement. You want to ensure fair reimbursement for your losses, and these steps can help:
• Take pictures of all damages to your home and belongings.
• Don’t haul off large items like soaked furnishings and damaged appliances.
• Make an itemized inventory of damaged belongings, and include replacement costs.
• Keep copies of all contractor estimates and receipts for services in one file.
Managing the Process With a Partner and an Advocate
When flood waters damage your home, you have to deal with so much, and the claims process can get complicated. One of the best ways to manage everything starts with hiring an experienced cleaning and restoration contractor. This strategy gives you a working partner who:
• Understands how to navigate the insurance claims process.
• Helps you with all documentation and paperwork.
• Works closely with local and national insurance companies.
• Speeds up the recovery process with industry certified services.
A professional cleaning and restoration company responds immediately to your first call, so you can depend on expert help from the beginning of the claims process through final settlement. You have a partner and an advocate who knows how to handle claims adjusters and insurance carriers.
We’re On Your Side
It’s easier to navigate a process for the first time when you have a little guidance. We hope our overview gives you a better understanding of how flood insurance works and how to handle the claims process. If you have any home flooding experiences to share, join the conversation here through our Comments Section.
You don’t have to face the aftermath of a flood by yourself. We have years of experience dealing with insurance companies, and we put our quality restoration vendor status to work for homeowners every day. When you need the best disaster restoration company in Chicago on your side, give us a call here at ServiceMaster Restoration by Zaba.