Flooding brings a lot of insurance claims - Tips from Simply Money

We've seen some really nasty weather here in the Tri-State over the last few days, and thankfully we're starting to dry out a little. But with all this rain means a lot of potential damage… and a lot of insurance claims. Here's what you need to know if your home has been damaged. 

Assess the damage: Record the date of the storm, signs of damage you can see from the ground, and take pictures of any damage. Search online for news stories of the storm so you have proof if it is ever required. 

Get quotes: Contact several reputable storm repair contractors and obtain 3 written proposals. Make sure your contractor performs a full property inspection, including the roof, windows, siding, AC units, screens, concrete and all other exterior surfaces. 

Be wary of insurance company "approved" contractors who have a financial incentive to save the insurance company money at your expense. 

Understand your policy: Water damage is tricky. As a rule of thumb, water from above (rainwater or a burst pipe in an upstairs apartment) is usually covered, but water from below (backed-up sewers or ground flooding) generally isn’t.  

This is why, if you live in a flood zone, like near the river, it makes sense to buy supplemental flood insurance. Even if you don't live in a flood zone, it can also make sense since 1 in 4 flood claims is for a home that ISN'T in a flood plain.

Request an insurance adjuster inspection: Insist your contractor is present during the adjuster inspection.   

And watch out for contractor scams! Don't pay full amount until the work is done!

Don't wait to file a claim: If you wait too long, you may not be eligible for benefits—especially if waiting has made the problem worse. So make sure to ask about time limits to report a claim 

Have everything written down: Sometimes claims can be denied because people don’t keep good enough records. Need help doing a home inventory? Use an app like "Know Your Stuff" 

Mitigate mold damage: The big danger to watch out for if you have flooding in your home is mold damage. It can develop within 24 to 48 hours of a flood, so remove any wet contents (including carpeting and bedding) as soon as possible.