If you have damage caused by Florida’s recent hurricanes, state and federal officials encourage you to closely monitor the insurance claims process after reporting your loss.
Florida residents with a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy must file a “Notice of Flood Loss” with their flood insurance company promptly.
All policyholders with a flood loss are also required to submit a “Proof of Loss” (www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/9343) directly to the flood insurance company, within 60 days after the date of the flood loss.
Here are some tips to guide you through the flood insurance claims process to ensure you receive all eligible insurance funds for your recovery.
What to Do Before an Adjuster Visits
- Take pictures of the damage.
- Write down a list of your damaged contents.
- Immediately dispose of flood-damaged items which pose a health risk, such as perishable food items, clothing, cushions and pillows. Cut off and keep a 12-square-inch sample of building materials like carpets and drywall to show your flood adjuster, and set aside other damaged personal property items like furniture, televisions and electronics.
- Have documents related to your damage ready for inspection. This may include contractor’s estimates and repair receipts.
- Also keep your policy number and insurance company information handy.
What Happens During an Adjuster’s Visit
- An insurance adjuster will contact you within 24 to 48 hours to schedule an appointment.
- Ask to see the adjuster’s official identification when he or she visits.
- The adjuster will take measurements and photographs and document your damage. They will provide you with their contact information and, if required, the adjuster may revisit your property.
- After your home is inspected, the adjuster will complete the covered estimate of loss and provide you with a copy of it, along with a Proof of Loss form.
- A FEMA inspector or flood insurance adjuster will never ask for money, approve or disapprove claims, or tell you whether your flood insurance company will approve your claim.
- What Happens After an Adjuster’s Visit
- The adjuster will collect all of the necessary information and documentation during the initial visit and will contact the policyholder as the claim progresses to an agreement and closure.
- If you disagree with the resolution of your claim, ask the adjuster to show how they arrived at the figure(s) and explain the policy if an item was excluded from coverage, even though you feel it should be covered.
- If the adjuster and insured are unable to come to an amicable agreement, the policyholder may hire an independent contractor to prepare an estimate for flood related damage.
- Within 60 days after the loss, send the insurer a signed and sworn to proof of loss.
- If you disagree with the resolution of your claim, you can submit your proof of loss for the undisputed amount and you may also appeal the amount contested to FEMA as stated in the Flood Insurance Claims Handbook at https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1409252356253-ee460a21e69333f01eea03a8f55eb3c6/F-687_ClaimsHandbook_508XI_Aug2014.pdf
- For specifics on the NFIP Flood Claim Process, please visit this link: www.fema.gov/media-library/assets/documents/114402.
- For more information on Florida’s disaster recovery visit fema.gov/disaster/4280, twitter.com/FEMAregion4, facebook.com/FEMA, and fema.gov/blog or #FLRecovers.