Flood damage is one of the devastating types of loss homeowners face each year. Without flood insurance, your loss will most likely be denied. First, determine if you are at risk for flood damage, and if you are, purchase a flood insurance policy unless of course, you want to gamble that a flood loss will not happen to you. Secondly, you need to understand requirements under your policy. I would encourage you to read all you can about flood loss coverage. If you take this advice, you will be better prepared when and if a flood takes place. Below you will find some of the requirements and stipulation outlined in your Dwelling Form policy.
First, you need to determine if you are at risk for flood insurance. To do this, you will need to determine in what type of flood zone your property is located. Flood zones are areas on a map which FEMA designates according to the probability of flooding. These areas can have a general risk level of High, Moderate, minimal, or Undetermined. Within each one of these risk levels, your property is designated with further description such as Zones: A, AE, A1- A30, AO, V, B, X shaded, X unshaded and so on. If you live in one of these areas and your home is mortgaged, you will be required to provide insurance for flood. If you live in these areas and your home is not mortgaged, you need to determine whether you should buy this coverage. However, keep in mind there is a 30-day waiting period from the date of purchase until your policy goes into effect, but there are a few exceptions to this rule. For the average homeowner, this might be a difficult task. Contact your insurance agent; he may be able to help.
Flood policies require the insured to submit a Sworn Proof of Loss with 60 days after the loss. This form must be completed fully, accurately, and within the specified time limit; failure to submit a Proof of Loss within the required time frame will most likely jeopardize your recovery. If your flood policy is issued by a Write Your Own program, this proof of loss must be provided to that carrier. If your policy is issued by FEMA it can be mailed to: NIFP Direct Servicing Agent P.O. Box 2966, Shawnee Mission, KS 66201-1366. For the policyholder, this form can be confusing to fill out, and you may need some assistance in completing this form correctly.Your Policy requires specific information accompany the Proof of Loss. Submission of all required information is critical. You can review this information in your policy under Requirements in Case of Loss.
You are required to submit a detailed building estimate. This could entail many pages of single spaced line item details. (An example of a detail estimate has been provided for your review.) A copy of individual estimates from contractors may not be sufficient if they are not detailed. You will need to submit a copy of the personal property estimate outlining the quantity, description, and actual cash value of the items claimed. (An example has been provided.) You will need to attach photocopies of all bills, receipts, and related documents that justify the figures in the inventory.
To submit a valid building estimate and a comprehensive personal property inventory list as outlined in the policy may be more than what the average policyholder can provide immediately after a catastrophic loss. If you fail to provide this documentation within the proper time period, or fail to provide all necessary documentation, you may jeopardize full recovery of your claim.