HOUSTON – If your home flooded, you will no doubt be busy cleaning up and getting in touch with your insurance company for help. There are a few simple things you can do to get the most from your flood insurance claim. We want to help you get through this stressful time and potentially save you a lot of headaches in the process.
How do I handle a flood insurance claim?
If you are dealing with a flooded home, you may be wondering how to handle your insurance claim. The more you know ahead of time, the more money you can save in the long run. KPRC 2 Investigator Amy Davis has brought us several stories on flood insurance including tips for filing your claim.
Sam Craven owns Senna House Buyers and knows a lot about the flood insurance claims process. His home in Meyerland flooded three times. Craven shares what he learned in the flood claim process.
1. Get to know your adjuster
You’ll want to contact your insurance provider as soon as possible. Once you are assigned an adjuster, Craven suggests asking politely how long that person has been certified to inspect flooded homes. The less experience they have, the more likely they are to miss things or make mistakes. Craven said most people don’t realize that insurance adjusters are paid a percentage of your total claim. The more money you get, the more they get.
“In a way, they are incentivized to take care of the client and make sure everything is covered properly,” he explained.
2. Don’t get rid of your damaged items just yet
While cleaning up from the flood, remember that your insurance company may need to see the damaged items to approve your claim. You can make a list of the items that were damaged and if you have a receipt that is a bonus. For now, do not throw out damaged or destroyed items. Place them in a pile and take pictures. Your insurance adjuster will tell you what needs to be done next.
3. Get familiar with a “proof of loss” quote
After an adjuster checks your home for damage, they will send you a proof of loss quote. It is a line-by-line item of everything your insurance policy will pay for.
“What you should do is you should review that,” said Craven. “If you don’t feel comfortable reviewing that, have someone review and see if they have missed anything.”
At one time Craven says he found $12,000 of items missing from his proof of loss quote. He was able to get that money added to his settlement amount.
4. Be prepared to ask for more money
Flood insurance policies will generally give you a profit and overhead allowance; but depending on the size of the job and the number of different tradesmen needed, you can probably get more money.
Your adjuster may tell you they won’t cover ceramic tile because the water didn’t damage it. Craven said that’s not always true. Also, If you suspect there is water under your tile, try removing just one outer tile. If there is moisture underneath, take pictures and show the adjuster.
Do I need my own public adjuster?
A lot of people wonder if they should hire their own public adjuster. Craven said you only need one if you feel overwhelmed with the process and just feel like you can’t negotiate effectively. A public adjuster will typically cost you between 5 and 20 percent of your total loss.
If your home is damaged and you need a place to stay, the American Red Cross has several shelters open in the area. Check here to find a location near you.