Filing a claim after a flood can be a crucial step in the process of rebuilding and recovering from the damage caused by the flood. But what should you do if your flood insurance claim is denied?
Before it comes to that, it’s important to understand why your claim may have been denied and to consider your options for appealing the decision.
Read on for more details of how to properly file a flood insurance claim and what to do if yours is denied.
How to File a Flood Insurance Claim
Floods can cause significant damage to homes and property, and filing a claim with your insurance company is an important step in the process of recovery. Time is of the essence when it comes to filing a flood insurance claim, and it’s best to do so as soon as possible after the event.
This will ensure that the insurance company can quickly assess the damage and begin the process of covering the costs of repairs and rebuilding.
Step 1: File a Flood Insurance Claim
Starting the claim process promptly by reporting your loss to your insurance agent or carrier is crucial in the aftermath of a flood. Asking about advance payments, also known as “emergency advance payments,” can provide policyholders with financial assistance for immediate expenses.
Don’t wait for the flood waters to recede; act quickly to report your loss and secure the support you need.
Step 2: Prepare for the Insurance Inspection
To verify the damage, your insurance carrier will schedule an inspection of your flood-damaged home by taking photos and videos of the damage.
The insurance adjuster will use this evidence to assess the damages, verify the cause of the damage, and determine the compensation you are eligible for.
Retain all damaged items, including the carpet, for a complete picture of the damage. This will help ensure you receive the full amount of compensation.
Step 3: Work With Your Insurance Adjuster
The insurance adjuster’s visit is a time to ask questions about the claims process, what your policy covers, and discuss the damages.
It’s important to review your policy before the meeting to have a clear understanding of what is covered and what is not. The adjuster will provide an estimate of the cost of repairs or replacement, and you should discuss any specific issues or concerns you have.
After the meeting, you should have a clear understanding of the next steps in the claims process and what documentation you need to provide.
Common Reasons Flood Insurance Claims are Denied
Understanding the most common reasons for claim denial can help you to avoid disputes and ensure that your claim is processed smoothly.
Before filing a flood insurance claim, make sure you know the difference between what water damage is covered by your home insurance vs. what qualifies as flood damage. Pipe bursts and appliance leaks, no matter how much standing water they may produce, are not covered by flood insurance policies.
Some of the most common reasons for denial include:
The Waiting Period is in Effect
National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) flood insurance policies come with a 30-day waiting period before coverage takes effect. Private flood insurance on the other hand may only have a 14-day waiting period.
If your home experiences flood damage within this waiting period, your insurance will not provide financial assistance.
One easy way to avoid worrying about how long your waiting period is and whether or not it will affect your claim status is to purchase flood insurance when you move to a new home rather than waiting for hurricane season.
This will ensure that you are covered and that your policy can help you recover in the event of damage.
Even though many homeowners are not required to have flood insurance and you may not be in a high-risk flood zone, it’s a smart policy for every homeowner to have.
Not Filing Promptly
Policyholders have 60 days from the time of damage to file a flood insurance claim with their carrier. This deadline may be waived after a severe disaster, but it’s best to check with your carrier or the NFIP.
Prompt filing in any instance increases the chances of your claim being approved and begins the process of rebuilding and recovery.
NFIP flood insurance policies may exclude coverage for certain types of water damage.
If the damage is confined to your home, preventable due to issues like slow water leaks, or occurred before your policy coverage, it may not be eligible for reimbursement under your policy.
NFIP policies offer limited coverage for damages in basement areas, but this coverage does not extend to basement improvements or most personal belongings.
Covered items include sump pumps, water heaters, electrical outlets, and more while coverage for your belongings kept in the basement require separate coverage.
How to Appeal a Denied Claim
If your flood insurance claim is denied, you should not simply give up. Appealing the denied claim is always a viable option.
Start by speaking with your insurance carrier, and keep a record of all conversations. If you cannot resolve the dispute, you may file an appeal with FEMA within 60 days of the denial notice.
Your appeal must include your policy number, names of policyholders, property address, contact info, a copy of the denial notice, details of your concern, and supporting documentation. Even after you’ve submitted your appeal, you may be asked for more information, so be sure to document everything regarding your losses and denied claim.
If FEMA agrees with your appeal, they will inform you and the insurer, and recommend actions. If they disagree, they will explain why. If you have new information, FEMA may tell you to send it to the insurer to receive additional payment.
If you are still unsatisfied, you may file a lawsuit after the appeal process.
Throughout your claims process, good documentation is crucial as it provides a clear record of the damages sustained, the actions taken, and the evidence required to support the claim.
Keeping detailed records of the damage, the events leading up to the damage, and any communication with the insurance company can help ensure that the claim is handled efficiently and fairly.
Whether it be through photos, videos, receipts, or any other form of documentation, having a comprehensive record of the damage and expenses incurred can significantly improve the chances of a successful claim outcome. Additionally, having a clear and organized record of the claim process can also be useful in the event of an appeal or dispute resolution.
Know Your Flood Insurance Coverage Before It’s Too Late
When it comes to protecting your home, being proactive is your best option.
That means being properly insured for any event that might come your way, knowing what’s covered by your policies, and knowing how to work with your insurance carrier when it comes time to file a claim.
At Brown Insurance Services, we work with you on a personal level to find coverage that fits your life and your budget, and we make sure you know exactly what you’re getting.
Contact us today to review your coverage options, and learn more about filing and appealing claims.