If your community, property or home has suffered flood damage, here are some tips to follow before, during and after filing a flood insurance claim.
▪ Call your agent or insurance company. Many companies have reporting deadlines, so act quickly. Have the following information with you when you place your call:
1. The name of your insurance company (your agent may write policies for more than one company)
2. Your policy number
3. A telephone number or e-mail address where you can be reached.
When you file your claim, ask for an approximate time frame during which an adjuster can be expected to visit your home so you can plan accordingly.
If you need help finding contact information for your insurance company, visit http://floir.com/siteDocuments/FLLargestPropertyCompaniesContact.pdf
▪ Take steps to make temporary repairs that prevent further damage, but remain in contact with your insurance company regarding any outside vendors that are brought in to make repairs.
While making temporary repairs, obtain the licensing or training credentials of all third-party vendors before signing any work agreements. Beware of fly-by-night repair companies and hire only licensed and reputable people. Utilize the Department of Business and Professional Regulation’s Contractor License lookup to make sure all contractors are properly licensed and bonded. Access DBPR’s licensee search at https://www.myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp.
Fully review all documentation you are asked to sign and ask questions to make sure you understand the agreements you are signing. Ask specifically who is responsible for paying the vendor, you as the consumer or your insurance company.
▪ If considering the assistance of a public insurance adjuster, ask for identification to verify that the adjuster is licensed. To verify the license of any Florida insurance agent or adjuster, utilize the Department of Financial Service’s licensee search at http://www.myfloridacfo.com/Data/AAR_ALIS1/index.htm.
Understand how much a public insurance adjuster charges as well as what services are included before signing any contract.
If you suspect fraud or suspicious activity, call the Department of Financial Services, Division of Consumer Services Insurance Consumer Helpline immediately at 1-877-693-5236. Your concerns will be promptly referred to insurance fraud investigators.
Consumers who have questions about their insurance coverage are encouraged to call Florida CFO Jeff Atwater’s Department of Financial Services, Division of Consumer Services Insurance Consumer Helpline at 1-877-693-5236. Insurance experts will be available starting at 8 a.m. this weekend to answer consumer questions and to aid consumers with filing insurance claims. This helpline can also help consumers to gain contact information for their insurance company, and can also help to verify the license of an insurance agent or adjuster.
Once You Have Reported Your Loss:
▪ An adjuster will work with you to calculate the value of the damage and prepare a repair estimate.
▪ Please keep your agent advised if your contact information changes. If you are still in a shelter or cannot be easily reached, please provide the name of a designated relative or point-of-contact who can reach you.
Before the Adjuster Arrives:
▪ Local officials may require the disposal of damaged items. If you dispose of items, please keep a swatch or other sample of damaged item(s) for the adjustor.
▪ Separate damaged items from undamaged items. If necessary, place items outside the home.
▪ Take photos. Take photos of any water in the house and damaged personal property. Your adjustor will need evidence of the damage and damaged items (such as cut swatches from carpeting, curtains, chairs) to prepare your repair estimate.
▪ Make a list of damaged or lost items and include their age and value where possible. If possible, have receipts for those items available for the adjustor.
▪ If you have damage estimates prepared by a contractor(s), provide them to the adjustor since they will be considered in the preparation of your repair estimate.
Contact your insurance company if an adjuster has not been assigned to you within several days.
If you are without a flood insurance policy and sustained damages, help may still be available in the form of grants. Call your home insurance provider as well as the National Flood Insurance Program at 1-800-638-6620.