How to Buy Flood Insurance and File a Flood Insurance Claim
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Flood insurance is offered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) through its National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), as well as some insurance companies. This type of insurance helps protect your home in a case of flooding as part of a natural disaster. Here’s how to get flood insurance and file a claim that won’t be denied.
How to buy flood insurance
Even if you have an insurance policy to protect your home, most policies do not offer protection from flooding a source outside of the home. With a flood liable to happen almost anywhere, you need flood insurance to protect your property if a flood does take place. One of the good things about flood insurance is that it pays out whether or not a disaster is declared in your area after a flood.
How to buy flood insurance
When buying flood insurance, you can get it from a few places. The first is FEMA through the agency’s NFIP. The NFIP works with participating insurance agencies to sell flood insurance to homeowners across the U.S. You might start by checking with the company that insures your home, as an agent there might be able to help you. Otherwise contact FEMA at the NFIP Referral Call Center at 1-800-427-4661 to get an agent referral.
Some questions to ask when talking to an insurance agent include:
- What flood zone do I live in, and what is my property’s flood risk?
- Am I required to have flood insurance for my property (some lenders require it)?
- Do I qualify for any discounts on my flood insurance, such as a Community Rating System (CRS) discount?
- What does flood insurance cover?
- Is a flood insurance policy I buy backed by the federal government?
- What amount of coverage does the agent recommend for my property?
- Do I have to pay any additional expenses or fees?
- Does my policy pay for the replacement cost value or the actual cash value of my home?
- Who do I contact if I need to file a claim?
You must pay for the full year’s premium when buying flood insurance, so plan accordingly.
How to file a flood insurance claim
Hopefully you never have to use flood insurance, but eventually you might need to file a flood insurance claim. If you do need to file a claim for flood damage to your home, you can follow the steps below.
Step 1: Notify your insurance company. Star by notifying your insurer of any flood damage to your property. When filing a claim, you need to have the following information in hand:
- The name of your insurance company
- Your policy number
- Where your agent can reach you (telephone number or email)
Expect an adjuster to contact you within a few days of filing your claim with your insurance agent. You might need to contact your insurance agent if you do not hear from an adjuster within this time frame.
Step 2: Document any flood damage. After reporting the damage to your agent, you need to document the damage for your own records and to give to the adjuster. To do this, separate damaged from undamaged property and complete the following:
- Take pictures of any damaged property, including personal property, structural damage, and any still-standing flood waters.
- Compile a list of items lost in the flooding, and take note of such information as date of purchase and the items value. You should also present receipts if possible.
Step 3: Complete the paperwork. Completing the necessary paperwork represents the final step in the claim process.
This includes a Proof of Loss statement, which the adjuster should help you fill out. This document is a sworn affidavit of the amount of loss you encountered during the flooding.
Don’t wait too long to file a Proof of Loss statement, as you only have 60 days to file it with your insurer and is necessary to receive a payout for any losses.
You can protect your property from flooding by getting the appropriate amount of flood insurance. Once you have flood insurance, filing a claim is made easy by following a simple three-step process. If you have any questions about acquiring flood insurance or filing a claim, contact your insurance agent or the NFIP today.