JACKSON, MS — As regions across the South brace for additional rain after experiencing near-record flooding, insurers stand ready to help residents and businesses begin the recovery process.
“With more rain in the forecast, we encourage residents to put their safety first and heed all warnings from local officials,” said Ron Jackson, vice president, state government relations for the American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA). “If your property experiences flood damage, call your insurance company as soon as possible. Insurers are ready to help victims file claims and get on the road to recovery.”
A standard homeowners policy does not cover flood damage. Flood coverage must be purchased as a separate policy through the National Flood Insurance Program or directly from an insurer offering flood coverage. New flood policies typically take 30 days before they go into effect.
Once you file your claim, there are several things you can do, such as photograph the damage and make an inventory of what was lost and damaged to help expedite the recovery process.
APCIA offers the following tips for before, during and after flood events:
Review your insurance policy. Call your insurance agent or company to evaluate your insurance coverage and determine whether you should purchase flood insurance. Be familiar with is covered in your policy and know your deductibles.
Complete a home inventory. Make a list of your household items and include receipts, descriptions and estimated values. Use your cell phone to easily photograph or videotape your home and possessions for further documentation. Keep your inventory and insurance policy information in a safe place.
Stay alert to rising water. Flood emergencies can develop quickly. It is important to monitor media reports, and if your home is near water or in a low-lying area, stay alert and seek higher ground if necessary. Never drive through high water. Remember “Turn Around, Don’t Drown.”
Document damage. If you experience flood damage, contact your insurer right away to begin the claims process. Make a list of damages and document the damage by taking photos on your cell phone before you start cleaning up. Set aside damaged furniture and other expensive items to show your adjuster, and keep receipts for any temporary repairs that you make. To settle your claim quickly and accurately, insurers need as much information and documentation about the damage as possible.
Beware of contractor fraud and abuse. Watch out for unscrupulous contractors seeking to take advantage of people in vulnerable situations following natural disasters. Contact your insurer, agent or local business bureau for references on potential contractors and ask for certificates of liability and workers compensation before signing contracts.
For more flood recovery tips, visit APCIA’s Flooding Headquarters.