Flood insurance may not be something that people in other states think about too often, but in Florida, a good flood insurance policy is a priority. You are not required by law to have flood insurance in Florida, but your mortgage company might require it. Additionally, many residents choose to have it due to the unpredictable weather and potential for hurricanes.
When your home is flooded after a hurricane or other natural disaster, you may feel overwhelmed and hopeless. Filing a claim for flood insurance could be the last thing on your mind as you struggle to figure out where you will sleep and take care of your family or pets.
However, filing a flood insurance claim can provide you with compensation you need for your damages. This can help cover your living expenses if you are out of your home, as well as the damage done to your home itself.
Contact your insurance company immediately
This is why it is a good idea to have a basic understanding of how the flood insurance claim process works in Florida. You should contact your insurance agency or claim adjuster as soon as you can after the flood to report the loss. Most policies require you to give immediate notice of your loss.
Have necessary information ready when you call, such as your policy number, the name of your mortgage company and your contact information. You should hear from a claims adjuster within 24 to 48 hours after you file your claim, although the time can vary depending on the severity of the flooding or damage in the area.
Carefully and thoroughly document the damage to your property. Take pictures and videos of all damage even items that will be thrown away. Take the photographs before you move or discard anything. Obtain the make and model numbers of any damaged appliances.
Working with the insurance adjuster
The adjuster will visit your home to assess the damage. Cooperate with them and exchange contact information. Your adjuster should provide you with detailed explanations of your claim, such as what your policy covers and what your insurance company needs to process your claim.
Ask your insurance company or the adjuster if you are eligible for an advance payment. This is a portion of your claim payment that is paid up front so you can take care of immediate needs and expenses.
Remember that your adjuster is not the one who makes the final decision on your claim; the insurance company does. Do not argue with the adjuster or plead your case to them. Provide them with the information they need and be polite and respectful.
Give the adjuster your documentation of the damage, such as the photographs and videos. Although it is not required, organizing your photos and videos by room or type can help the adjuster and insurance company make an accurate assessment of damages.
Know your deadlines
The purpose of the adjuster’s visit is to help you determine an estimate of your total damages. Ask about any deadlines you must meet to avoid a denial.
There are various reasons flood insurance claims are denied. Sometimes more information or documentation is required for approval and sometimes the reasons are more complicated. There are legal options you can explore if your flood insurance claim is denied.