Tips for Filing a Flood Insurance Claim

Posted by the attorneys at Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC.  We are here to help protect the rights of individuals when dealing with insurance companies.  Whether it be a bodily injury claim or a flood related claim on account of the catastrophic weather that we are seeing in the lowcountry and across South Carolina, the lawyers at Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC are here to help.  If you need the assistance of a lawyer for flood damage you have experienced, contact us today.

Following a catastrophic event like we experienced this weekend in South Carolina, it is important to come up with a plan of action.  If you have been one of the people in South Carolina who have experienced flood damage, FEMA recommends you take the following steps after a flood.

Step 1: Contact your agent or insurance carrier representative to report your loss.  They recommend that you locate the name of your insurance company, your policy number, and a phone number for the claims department.  All flood insurance policies require that you give prompt written notice of loss.  If you reach out to your flood insurance carrier promptly, it will reduce the chances of a claim being denied due to delay on your part.

Step 2: Separate your property into damaged and undamaged property.  FEMA recommends that you not throw anything away before an adjuster has seen it unless local law requires you to.  It is advisable to take pictures or video of any property prior to disposing of it so that you will have some evidence of the damaged property.  Also, do all that you can to protect undamaged property.  Also, FEMA recommends contacting your insurance carrier about available coverage prior to signing a contract/agreement with any cleaning, remediation, or maintenance contractor.

Step 3: If you purchased contents coverage, many damaged items in your home may be covered.  Hopefully you made a list of the contents before the flood, which should make this process easier.  If you have not already made a list, make one and include the item, a description of the item, brand name, where you purchased it, how much the item cost, model and/or serial number if the item has one, and your estimate of the loss amount.  It is also recommended that you attach your bills, receipts, photos and any other documents relating to the damaged property.

Step 4: Finally it is advised that you look over your property and make a list of any structural damage that you notice to be sure that you point it out to the insurance adjuster.  Often times when there are large areas of damage, an insurance company will send a team of catastrophic insurance adjusters to evaluate claims.  Because there are so many people that are in a similar situation, it might be difficult for an adjuster to be able to spend any significant time with you.  Therefore, anything you can do to make this time more efficient should help you.

Safety Tips For Those Impacted By Flooding:

  • After a flood, even if your house seems safe to enter, be cautious;
  • If you hear hissing or smell gas, leave immediately and call the gas company.  Using your home phone or cell phone inside the house could spark an explosion;
  • Keep power off until an electrician has inspected your system;
  • If sewer and water lines are damaged, don't use toilets or sinks.
  • Until told the water supply is safe, boil water for 5 minutes before drinking it or using it to prepare food; and
  • Throw away water-damaged foods, including canned goods.

Remember, if you find yourself in need of an attorney to assist you in making your claim against your flood insurance policy, call the lawyers at Anderson & Schuster, Attorneys at Law, LLC today.

Source: FEMA Flood Insurance Claims Handbook