Hurricanes bring flooding, despair and untold anguish as people try to rebuild and face the many challenges in the wake of the storm. Only 18 percent of residents have flood insurance. The coverage is extremely expensive and many private insurers no longer offer it.
Whether individuals are trying to perform cleanup tasks on their own or filing an insurance claim, there are some things of which homeowners and renters need to be aware. Even if an individual has some type of flood insurance, it may be insufficient to cover losses.
Never begin cleanup until an adjuster has viewed the damage. Take photos or video of the damage from all angles when it’s safe to do so.
File a Claim ASAP
For those with coverage through the National Food Insurance Program operated by FEMA, file a claim as soon as possible. Many people that wait as little as a few days after the storm has departed find that a scammer has already filed a claim in their name due to identity theft.
IDs and Fees
Never disclose personal information to anyone claiming to be a FEMA agent unless they can provide verifiable ID. Representatives of FEMA, DHS, SBA and other federal agencies will never charge for disaster assistance. FEMA contractors may carry a badge, but always use caution. If you didn’t apply for FEMA assistance, call the FEMA hotline and let them know to prevent fraudulent claims in your name.
When filing a claim with the insurance company, individuals need to use caution in what they say to the insurance adjuster. Anything that’s said will be used in an effort for the insurer to pay as little as possible.
Consider hiring a public adjuster if the restitution amount allowed by FEMA or a public insurer is insufficient to cover damages. Flood damage and water damage are often viewed as two separate events that may or may not be covered. A public adjuster can help get individuals the full amount they deserve, even in FEMA cases.