Flood Loss and Damage – What You Need to Know
According to FEMA directives, flood results in the most pervasive damage and with the greatest frequency. As public adjusters who deal with flood issues on a regular basis, we recommend you read and understand your flood insurance policy before a loss, as it contains very specific limits in the amounts and scopes of coverage.
The peril of flood has traditionally been uninsurable in the private insurance market due in part to the extreme risk and exposure flooding can cause. You should be aware that your standard property insurance plan does not cover flood. You must buy a separate policy either from a private insurer or directly from NFIP. In 1968 the federal government enacted a law that set up the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to provide assistance to residents and commercial property owners who purchased a flood policy.
There are many complex issues involved in the NFIP program in terms of filing a flood claim. One of many unique coverage issues relates to the definition of “flood” under the NFIP. In plain English, a flood is an excess of rising water (or mud) on land that is normally dry. A flood can stem from heavy rains, overflowing rivers, thawing snow, flash flooding and hurricane storms surges. In many instances certain locations within your home have specific exclusions as to the types of damages that will be eligible for payment.
If you have a flood loss to your property, you need to be very mindful of the 60 day provision for filing a flood proof of loss. This places tremendous pressure on the policyholder to get all their damage documentation together in what can be a very limited amount of time. If this provision is not waived by an authorized government official and you do not have your proof-of-loss form submitted within 60 days, it is likely your claim will not be paid. It may take your carrier’s adjuster a considerable amount of time before they will have the opportunity to reach your property. In these situations, we recommend being proactive by hiring a public adjuster who can dedicate his/her time to your specific claim in detail so you receive everything you are entitled to.
Any damage from a flood event can include all types of complex issues, which will require expert analysis in order to prove the damages and support the claim. Usually flooding involves what the IICRC identifies as Category 3 type loss. This is also called “Black water”. As such, it often contains bacteria and pathogens that can make your property unfit for habitation or use. It is imperative that you get the advise you need to properly understand the issues you are facing and advocate to the carrier regarding proper mitigation and adjustment of the loss.
Mercury Adjustments, LLC assists policyholders by being knowledgeable and experienced in properly evaluating and then estimating the full scope of loss and presenting that claim to the carrier. Contact us for a free consultation.