Flood and Property Damage Checklist – How To Preserve Your Insurance Claim

Our thoughts go out to all of those affected by the recent flooding in Louisiana.  According to ABC News, over 30 inches of rain fell over the past weekend causing rivers across the state to rise to record levels. The Governor has declared a State of Emergency until September 10, 2016, unless terminated sooner. Unfortunately the flooding and rain has displaced families and taken a toll on local businesses. The most important concern is safety. But once you are safe, you are faced with a catastrophic loss that can take an emotional and economic toll on you. We have drafted this article to serve as a checklist to use when navigating the untoward waters of filing an insurance claim for flood and property damage:

  1. Find a copy of your Flood Policy, Renters Policy, or Business Policy, including the Declaration Page which is the part of the policy that tells you the type and how much you have in coverage. It includes the name and address of the insurance company, with information about the issuing agent, and it includes the contact information for the correct department when making a claim. It also states what is insured, for how much, under which circumstances, and for how long. It is a great idea to store these insurance policies and any other important legal documents in a safe deposit box in a secure facility. This will insure they cannot be stolen or damaged.
  2. Read and review your Policy. It is extremely important to understand your policy because there are certain rules that you must follow when filing a claim. Understanding these rules will make sure you are treated fairly and will not be taken advantage of. It is also important because these insurance policies may provide immediate financial assistance with food and shelter expenses.
  3. Contact your insurance company and file a claim as soon as possible.
  4.  Document, Document, Document! Document all property damage in which your home or business has sustained. Take pictures, videos, notes, statements from eyewitnesses, or any other means by which you can support your claim of loss. A good way to document your losses is to go around your home or business and make a list of each and every thing in the room and the estimated value of the object, the cost, where it was purchased, and when you got it.
  5. Keep a record that documents any kind of expense you had following the hurricane. Money spent for food, housing, repairs, or evacuation costs may be reimbursed, but the insurance company will probably not repay you if there is no written documentation.
  6. Make sure to record every important date relating to your claim, including when you first contacted your insurance, the first appraisal of your property, and any other relevant dates pertaining to your property damage claim.
  7. Once it is safe to do so and to the extent that you are allowed to, make temporary repairs to your home or business. An insurance firm may try to claim that you did not mitigate your damages and that some damage could have been prevented.
  8. Keep each adjuster or contractor’s pertinent information such as a business card and have an understanding of which company the person represents.
  9. Do not sign anything until you have a clear understanding of what you are signing and the ramifications that will come about. If you do not trust the documents then do not sign them and contact an attorney as soon as possible. It is important to not sign any document that would prevent you from receiving full value for the loss you have sustained.
  10. If you cannot reach a resolution with your insurance company regarding your losses and the rightful compensation you are owed, there is only a 2 year time limit within which you are permitted to bring a lawsuit. If you have any questions about this process or your rights against your insurance company, contact us online or phone at 504-522-3333.
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