Policy FAQ

The following are commonly asked questions about the claims process.  If you don’t find the answer you’re looking for, please email me and I will include it in this section for future reference.

I have reported a claim. When will you contact me?

I will call you to schedule an appointment to view your damages within 24-72 hours of receiving of your claim.

Should I be taking photographs of the damages?

Yes, please take as many photographs as needed (and more, if possible) to show the extent of flood damages to both the building and contents. There are no device-based photograph requirements – photographs can be taken with virtually any device that you have available from digital cameras to cell phones and even tablets.

When we meet for your inspection, I will let you know how you can send the pictures to me or you can hover your mouse over the ‘Contact’ tab at the top of the page and then click on ‘Sending Photos’. Here you will find instructions on how to send the pictures to me.

Every flood damaged content item valued at over $100 needs to be photographed. If the flood damaged item has a model and serial number, please be sure to take a clear picture of these so the numbers are in-focus and readable in the photo.

Can I clean up before you arrive?

Clean up should begin as soon as the flood waters recede and when it is safe to enter your home. Please take photos of the damage prior to removal.

To begin, remove carpet and padding that has gotten wet, take a photograph, cut it up and then drag it out. Wet carpeting may be a health hazard as it promotes mold growth. It needs to be removed as quickly as possible. If you have had over 6 inches of water, take photographs of the water mark in each room and then remove the drywall and insulation (if present in the wall) one foot above the water line to start the drying process. It is important that this process begins as soon as possible. Once the damaged drywall is removed, dehumidifiers and fans will help to speed up the drying and prevent mold.

Can I throw out my personal property items that have been damaged?

If you have contents coverage, make a room by room detailed list of all damaged personal property and separate the damaged from the undamaged items. Please use the Excel Spreadsheet that I talked about on the first page of this website. Also, please don’t change the formatting of the Excel Spreadsheet. Use it ‘as is’ so I can incorporate it into your estimate. While it’s natural to want to just carry out all of your flood damaged belongings to the curb, it is strongly suggested that as you remove the item from the house, take a picture of it and enter the information about the item in the Excel Spreadsheet. It is my responsibility to verify contents damage. If you throw away something before the I get there, you must have a photograph of the item showing the damage if you want to claim it.

What will the adjuster do during the inspection?

I will take photographs of damage to your insured building as well as your damaged personal property if you have contents coverage. I’ll take measurements, scope the building damage and will explain the flood claims process. It is important that we both come to an agreement about the “scope of damage”, meaning an agreement about what needs to be repaired or replaced, without a dollar amount. I will discuss this with you as I go from room to room.

I have a lot of initial expenses, can I get an advance payment on my claim?

In most instances you will be able to receive an advance payment to help you start the recovery process. When I visit your property, let me know if you will need an advance or partial payment on your loss. You will need to fill out and sign a form to request the advance. In this form, you not only acknowledge that you are asking for an advance, but you are agreeing to pay back any advanced funds if your advance is greater than the estimate of damages.

I had a large and valuable baseball card collection that was destroyed. Will I be paid for its full value?

The Standard Flood Insurance Policy will pay no more than $2,500.00 per loss of the following items:

Artwork, photographs, collectibles, or memorabilia, including but not limited to: porcelain or other figures and sports cards.

Rare books or autographed items

Jewelry, watches precious and semiprecious stones, or articles of gold, silver, or platinum

Furs or any article containing fur which represents its principal value

Personal property used in a business

Will my claim be paid based on the replacement of the item damaged?

This is an extremely important point. Replacement Cost Coverage (which pays to replace or restore a structure or item in today’s dollars) is only available on a limited basis and ONLY for a single-family dwelling that is a principal residence. To receive replacement cost coverage on this structure, you must be insured to at least 80% of the building’s replacement cost at the time of the loss or the maximum amount of coverage available, whichever is less. If your house is insured for less than 80%, your claim will be paid on Actual Cash Value (ACV).

Your Flood Policy coverage amount is based on the value of your home in today’s dollars. This number is based on what it would cost to rebuild your house from the ground up. It is NOT based on what you bought it for or what the real estate agent says it’s worth. If the Insured to Value Report shows that it would take $100,000.00 to rebuild your house and you’re insured for $80,000.00, you would be paid Replacement Cost. If the Insured to Value Report shows that it would take $100,000.00 to rebuild your house and you’re insured for $70,000.00, you would be paid Actual Cash Value since your house is not insured to 80% of it’s value. Actual Cash Value is the amount of money it would take to repair your home minus depreciation. Depreciation is based on age, condition and wear and tear.

Contents losses are ALWAYS adjusted on an actual cash value basis.

The wind broke a window and rainwater accumulated in my home. Will my flood policy pay for this damage?

No. When rain enters through a wind-damaged window or door, or comes through a hole in a wall or roof, the National Flood Insurance Program considers the resulting water and damage to be windstorm-related, not flood-related.

My detached garage was also flooded and damaged. Will the policy on my home pay for this damage?

The Standard Flood Insurance Policy provides coverage for one building per policy. The only exception is 10% coverage for a detached garage. However, the total payment for flood damage to the detached garage and the house together cannot exceed the building policy limit. For coverage to apply, the garage must be designed and used for parking and storage. Any other use would void this coverage.

Why is my mortgage company included on the settlement check?

When you have a mortgage on a home, you may think of the house as yours, but your mortgage company also has a substantial interest in your property. Your mortgage holder requires you to carry insurance on the property. In fact, your mortgage company is listed on your homeowner’s insurance policy as the lienholder. If your home is damaged and you have a mortgage, both you and your mortgage company will be listed on the check. You will need to send the check to the mortgage company so they can endorse it. Some insurance companies will endorse it and send it back to you. Other companies will ask you to endorse the check and send it to them. They will then hold onto the money and as repairs are made, they will send you a check for the repair amount.

My mortgage is paid off, but is still showing on my policy. How do I get the mortgage company's name off of my policy?

If your mortgage has been paid off, then the mortgage company has most likely sent you a ‘Payoff’ letter. You will need to send the payoff letter to your insurance company so they can remove the mortgage company as a lienholder. If you have a copy of the letter, please show it to me at the time of our inspection and I will send it to the insurance company for you.