Hurricane Irene property damage insurance claims:
While Hurricane Irene’s winds didn’t live up to concerns, it appears that the flooding far surpassed all expectations. When dealing with a flood claim you are facing an entirely different set of circumstances. I would like to offer the followinng tips for dealing with your flood claim:
1. Take pictures and make a video of the structure in flooded conditon as soon as you return and prior to removing anything. Allow the flood adjuster to see the home as is following the flood if possible.
2. Remove all wet and damaged contents and place it in a pile for inspection by the insurer. DO NOT throw things out until you have photographed all items and have allowed the adjuster to inspect them.
3. If you flooded to 4′ or less in side the structure, remove all water damaged building materials that are under the 4′ level. If you have paneling you will probably have to remove the paneling to 8′ high because that’s how its produced and you can’t splice it.
4. If you flooded to above 4′ in depth you will likely have to remove all items touched by the water up to 8′.
5. Ensure that the adjuster views all removed items in person and if not take lots of pictures.
6. *** You will be approached by numerous contractors offering to “demolish and dry out” your structure. Be very careful because the flood policy will not normally cover large amounts of drying and when your claim is paid, they will only pay for removal and replacement of water damaged items. Often times, drying contractors will attempt to charge exhorbitant fees to demolish and dry your facility and those per square foot fees often exceed what the insurer will allow for removal, drying and replacemetn combined. Be very careful as to what you sign.
7. Never sign a sworn proof of loss for the flood adjuster unless you wholely agree with the estimate as presented. A common request you may hear from a flood adjuster is to sign the proof of loss for what he has written up regardless of the amount because “you can always file a supplement later”. If you sign a sworn proof of loss for an amount you don’t agree with this may come back to haunt you later. Press the adjuster to get the estimate correct up front!
8. Be proactive regarding the removal of damaged items. If you fail to take action and your home eventually dries out you may be stuck with decaying building materials simply because the adjuster deems them “now dry”.
9. Never give the adjuster original docuements of any type. Keep copies of everything and when you provide documents to the adjuster, ask the adjuster to sign for receipt of such items. Request an address, phone, fax and email for the flood adjuster. Remember they are likely from somewhere other than where your loss is and you want to be able to locate them later if needed.