1. Report Your Loss to Your Insurance Company:
If a flood caused damage to your property, you need to immediately call your homeowner’s insurance company to report your losses. You will need to have the following information available:
- Your policy number and
- A phone number and/or email where you can be reached at all times.
It is important that you make immediate contact with your insurance company as most, if not all, flood insurance policies require that you make prompt written notice of your loss. Once you get an agent on the phone, he/she will tell you how to file your notice of loss. If you are not provided with that information, you must send a written notice of loss to your insurance company referencing your policy number.
Within a few days, you should be contacted by an insurance adjuster. If not, contact your insurance agent or an insurance representative. While you have that person on the phone, ask for his/her name and contact information, then request an entire copy of your insurance policy, along with your declaration of coverage.
2. Account for All Damaged Property/Losses
The person adjusting your claim will need evidence of your losses, so you need to do the following:
- Make a list of all damaged or lost items with their values, serial numbers (if any), brand names, model, where they were purchased, and their costs.
- Make a list of all items that were not damaged.
- Take photographs of each damaged item on your list.
- Take photographs of the standing floodwater levels.
- Gather receipts or other documentation establishing the values and dates of purchase for each damaged item.
Don’t throw away any of the damaged items before an adjuster has evaluated it, unless officials require you to do so. If you are required to do so, take any samples of the damages items that you can, such as carpet, wood from the structure, sheetrock, and others.
3. Complete & File a “Proof of Loss”
Your adjuster should be able to provide you with the appropriate proof of loss document to be completed. The proof of loss must be filed within 60 days of the flood, which is required before any claim can be paid out. Once that is filed, you should receive a settlement offer for the payment of your losses. If you accept the offer, the insurance company will send you a check in the amount of the offer you accepted. If you reject the offer and cannot form an agreement with the insurance company, you may need to hire an attorney as there are certain time limitations for filing property damage claims with the courts.
What If I Don’t Have Flood Insurance?
If you don’t have flood insurance, you should immediately file an application for assistance with FEMA by visiting https://www.disasterassistance.gov/ or calling 1-800-621-3362.
Selecting a Contractor to Rebuild or Perform Repairs
Before hiring and paying a contractor to rebuild or perform repairs, I strongly suggest that you research whether the contractor is properly qualified, licensed, and insured. You can perform a search by visiting the following website, which provides some of that information: http://www.lslbc.louisiana.gov/contractor-search/. Additionally, ask the contractor to provide you with proof of insurance and addresses to properties that he/she performed work on in the past. If the owner of the properties allows, you may want to take a look at that property before hiring the contract to examine the quality of his/her work.
By: Danny Russell, Baton Rouge area insurance litigation attorney, licensed in Louisiana.
Danny Russell is a Baton Rouge lawyer who has experience dealing with the insurance companies and evaluating his clients’ damages. If you have suffered property damage as a result from the recent floods in Louisiana, call the Russell Law Firm. We will contact your insurance company and demand that they make payment for your damages.
****INFORMATION FURNISHED HEREIN IS ONLY GENERAL AND NOT A SUBSTITUTE FOR PERSONALIZED LEGAL ADVICE.