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Posted by: Maricopa Lawyers on Sep 29, 2016

For many people living in high-risk areas, and even some who don’t but have a mortgage from a federally regulated or insured lender, flood insurance is mandatory.

As is the case with most types of insurance, flood insurance can be a fantastic safety net, and can provide significant peace of mind. What do you do, though, if the worst happens, and you have to actually file a flood insurance claim?

The National Flood Insurance Program has some guidelines for just such a disaster.

Step 1: Start the process by notifying your flood insurance provider

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You might have to do some digging to find who your insurance provider is, but since it will take the company a decent amount of time to get the ball rolling, this should be done before any other steps, allowing you the time to gather other information while the process is already moving.

It is worth spending some time and getting your policy number and a reliable way for them to get in contact with you (phone number and email address would be ideal).

Step 2: Document any and all damages

First thing you should do is secure all undamaged property. If you send them pictures of damage, and they can clearly see undamaged items in the picture, not only will it take them slightly longer to process your claim, but they may be more inclined to push back against you. A little bit of upfront time on your part can make a big difference.

Second thing is taking pictures and writing a list (including purchase cost and value – receipts are ideal) of all damaged property, including any items already discarded, all structural damage, and notation of standing water levels throughout the damaged area.

When talking to the insurance company, be sure to ask if they require you to dispose of certain damaged items, since they will likely need to be moved out of the home.

Step 3: Support the claim by completing a proof of loss

This is something the insurance adjuster will have to assist you with, since it is the culmination of all your efforts. Essentially, it’s a sworn statement with the full amount in damages you are requesting along with backup evidence/proof justifying the amount.

This will have to be completed and filed within a certain time frame (generally 60 days) for payment to be allowed, and upon completion, your insurance company will have to agree to the amount and remit payment (or disagree and provide valid reasoning).

The sooner you get started on all of this, the better, since not only is it a somewhat lengthy process to begin with, but if your damage is a result of a major catastrophic weather event, the insurance company will likely take even longer due to the number of claims they receive.

If you are having trouble getting a claim approved, there are attorneys out there who can help defend your rights as a homeowner, and who will go to battle against the insurance companies on your behalf.