You’ve done everything a responsible homeowner would do. You verified whether you reside in a high-risk flood zone and purchased flood insurance (knowing fully well homeowner’s insurance won’t cover floods). You tried to protect your family and your home as best as possible.
That said, once summer came in our beautiful sunshine state, along came the daily thunderstorms that are more reminiscent of perpetually overcast cities like Seattle or London. As a result, that beautiful lake behind your house, flooded your street, your backyard, your home.
What are the best steps you can take to ensure FEMA adequately compensates you?
Take pictures of the damage:
Document every single item/part of your home that will need repairing or replacing. Take inventory of damaged items and make a list. Get estimates from contractors. Keep receipts of what you’ve spent replacing lost items.
File your claim immediately:
Do not stall. Do not wait it out until less phone calls are jamming their system. If you do not file your claim within 60 days, it will be denied. It’s as simple as that. Do not wait for the 11th hour either. If they request additional information or documentation that may take you days to obtain, you want to make sure you have a cushion of time to do so.
Do a walkthrough with your adjustor:
Once you file your claim, an adjustor will contact you within 48 hours. The person will show up (always ask to see their proper identification), and make an assessment of your loss. He or she will then give you a Proof of Loss form, which is a sworn declaration that you suffered X or Y amount of damages. Once you fill it out, include all of the supporting documents specified in item 1 of this blog.
Compare the adjustor’s findings with yours:
If they conclude your damages are less than what you claim, ask for an explanation of how they reached that number. If you are not satisfied with their answer, you have 60 days to file an appeal.
Experiencing flood damage can be devastating; and dealing with the bureaucracy associated with government agencies often adds insult to injury. The best way you can prepare is by knowing as many pieces of the puzzle as a preventive measure. That way, should an emergency occur, you have one less thing to worry about.