Flood Damage Insurance Claims
Due to changes in weather patterns in the recent decades, flood damage has increased in US.
Most insurance companies offer a separate policy for “Flood Insurance”. It is important to properly categorize the difference between flood damage and water damage.
FEMA definition of “Flood” is:
- “A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of 2 or more acres of normally dry land area or of 2 or more properties (at least 1 of which is the policyholder’s property) from:
- Overflow of inland or tidal waters;
- Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or
- Mudflow; or
- Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.” fema.gov
Generally, “Water Damage” may occur from broken plumbing or drain pipes, overflowing bathtubs, a leak from refrigerator icemaker supply line, a leak from water filtration system, broken toilets, burst water mains, damaged washing machine hoses and more.
If a property is located in a designated flood zone, a separate flood insurance may need to be purchased to cover any potential flood damage claims. Most county assessor offices will have flood hazard maps which will provide general information regarding the degree of a potential flood risk to a specific area. These hazard maps may also assist the property owner to properly identify if their property is located in a flood damage area ahead of time. The property owners may take precautionary measures to minimize or to prevent a potential flood damage to their property by making their basements water tight, raising the foundation of the home above the flood level (if possible), make sure that the electrical wiring is above the flood level, prepare an emergency evacuation plan and store some food and water.
The property owner should hire a licensed contractor to perform flood damage repairs. During the claim related repairs, some additional code upgrade related repairs may be needed. Most policies have code upgrade coverage or Ordinance and Law Coverage. This coverage is very important for older buildings. The older buildings may need to upgrade the damaged items to comply with the most recent codes
A public adjuster may assist the policyholder in dealing with their insurance company and any other parties who are involved in the claims process and the repairs.
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