CHICAGO-As parts of the Midwest experience historic flooding, The American Property Casualty Insurance Association (APCIA) is urging property owners to take precautions to protect themselves and their belongings.
“We encourage property owners to think safety first and to report any claims as soon as possible to begin the recovery process,” said Brooke Kelley, APCIA assistant vice president for public affairs. “Insurers are here to help in the recovery process and assist families and businesses file claims as quickly as possible. Because the potential for flooding increases in the spring, APCIA encourages homeowners to consider purchasing flood insurance through your agent or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). It is also important this time of year to make sure you review your insurance policy, take a home inventory, and keep your insurer or agent’s number handy.”
If your home is near water or in a low-lying area, make sure you are alert to rising water and seek higher ground if necessary. While the standard homeowners policy covers damage from a wide variety of events including strong winds caused from a tornado, it does not cover flooding. This coverage is purchased through the National Flood insurance Program and must be purchased as a separate policy. Residents should be aware that new flood policies typically take 30 days before they go into effect.
Once you file your claim, there are several things you can do, such as photograph the damage and make an inventory of what was lost and damaged to help expedite the recovery process.
APCIA offers the following additional tips for before, during and after flood events:
Review your insurance policy. Have a conversation with your agent to evaluate your insurance coverage and determine whether you should purchase additional flood insurance. Get familiar with what’s covered in your policies and know your deductibles. Higher deductibles can keep the cost of insurance down.
Complete a home inventory. Make a list of your household items, and photograph or videotape them for further documentation. Include receipts, descriptions and estimated values. Keep your inventory and insurance policies in a safe place.
Stay alert to rising water. Flood emergencies can develop quickly. It’s important to monitor media reports, and if your home is near water or in a low-lying area, stay alert and seek higher ground if necessary. Also, never drive through high water. Remember: ‘turn around, don’t drown.’
Document damage. Contact your insurer right away to get the claims process started if you suffer flood damage. Make a list of damages and take photographs before you start cleaning up. Set aside damaged furniture and other expensive items to show to your adjuster, and keep receipts for any temporary repairs that you make. To settle your claim quickly and accurately, it helps to have as much information as possible about your damaged possessions. Also, ask your insurer for referrals for professional restoration, cleaning and salvage companies.