Around the world, we're seeing immense flooding, and without flood insurance, you will pay out of pocket to restore your home. You never know if flooding will engulf your entire home causing significant damage or result in minor drywall and flooring repairs. Do you have flood insurance to cover damage to your home in a natural disaster?
Water damage from flooding can be devastating. Our house, and two neighbors, experienced water damage this year. We were able to pump the water out of our basement and dry it out before there was extensive damage or mold growth. Our neighbors didn't fare as well as we did. One neighbor had so much water damage that her kitchen, along with part of her basement, needed to be completely stripped and overhauled. Imagine what it would be like to have a large portion of your house underwater due to flooding and the amount of damage your home would sustain—time to call your insurance company.
Regarding flood insurance, beware that it differs from your homeowner's policy. Flood insurance is issued through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Your homeowner's policy is not going to cover flood damage. Without flood insurance, you have no water-damage coverage, but you may be eligible for government assistance programs like DisasterAssistance.gov and FloodSmart.gov.
Take photos and videos of your home before and after a natural disaster to verify pre-loss conditions with your insurance company. An aerial (drone) photo of the roof is vital. Take new photos annually to ensure you have the most up-to-date images should a disaster strike.
After taking "after" photos, be careful not to try to make any repairs to damage caused by flooding because this can be deemed "spoilage of evidence" by your flood insurance company.
TIP: Receipts for furniture, appliances, and any work you've done on your house will also be beneficial when submitting a claim to your insurance company following a natural disaster.
Make The Call
Have your flood insurance company's contact information stored in your phone so that if your house floods, you'll easily be able to reach out to your flood insurance agent and begin the filing process.
Your insurance agent can walk you through the steps necessary to start the process of recovering your home and belongings. Your insurance policy may require you to mitigate some of the water damage. For instance, you may be responsible for tarping a hole in the roof to prevent further damage. Your insurance agent will likely provide recommendations for hiring experienced experts. You want to hire contractors willing to warrant their work as they restore your home after a flood. Many of us have heard the heartbreaking stories of contractors running off with the homeowner's money but not finishing the home repairs.
Make sure you have flood insurance, in addition to your homeowner's policy, to ensure you have coverage for flood damage. When your home is faced with a flood, make sure you heed the advice of local officials and leave your home long before the waters rise. If you have special needs or elderly family members, have a plan in place to get them to a safe location before the storm. Surviving a flood takes planning and help from professionals to ensure you and your family stay safe.
TIP: If you need emergency shelter during a natural disaster, visit this disasterassistance.gov link.