Monday, December 13, 2010

Flooding and insurance: What to do

We're starting to get calls and emails from folks who sustained flood damage from this weekend's heavy rains. Here's some advice about what you can do if you're trying to clean up:

-Document the loss. Take photos, notes, video, etc.
-Contact your insurer as soon as possible. Be aware that standard homeowners coverage does not cover flood damage. But you may have flood coverage without knowing it -- in flood-prone areas, it's often required in order to qualify for a mortgage.
-Mitigate the damage as best you can. Get furniture and belongings up out of the water if possible. Shovel or squeegee mud and water out. Start drying things out.
-Create a paper trail. If you rent a pump, save the receipts. If your electrical system's damaged and you have to move to a motel temporarily, save those receipts.
-Where practical, avoid throwing out damaged items. The adjuster may want to see them.

Also: Standard flood coverage generally doesn't cover basement improvements, like finished walls or floors, or furniture or personal belongings in a basement. It does, however, cover essential equipment like your furnace and water heater.

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