It is a good idea to keep proper documentation of the damages caused by the flood waters. Taking photographs or videos showing the damage are a good beginning but the first step in the claim process is to get your claim file opened with your insurance agent. By reporting your claim promptly, an adjuster can be assigned quickly. This will allow for the adjuster to come out to your home sooner, speeding up the resolution of the insurance claim.
When documenting the damages from the flood, safety needs to be a concern too. Make sure it is safe to reenter your property before going in. Also check to make sure there is no leaking gas and do not step into standing water if there is a risk of electric shock. If you discover a problem, contact the local utility provider.
Your flood insurance policy requires you to try to stop further damage from happening to your property and items you possess, if possible. A major risk factor is mold and mildew growing. Damages caused by mold and mildew are usually not covered by the insurance policy, so if at all possible you need to start drying out your home. Using dehumidifiers and fans to draw out moisture is a good step. If the water levels were high enough to damage the walls in your home, take a picture before removing the baseboard. Punch a hole in the bottom of the drywall to allow trapped moisture to escape.
Sort out your damaged and undamaged possessions. If the weather is good, place items outside of the home to get them away from the trapped moisture to help them dry. Clean items with a cleaner to prevent mold and mildew growth.
Local authorities may require you to dispose of items before the adjustor has a chance to visit your home. If this happens, save samples from the items that are disposed of and take a picture showing the item from all sides. If you need to tear up the carpeting and dispose of it, cut out a damaged section of the material to save so the adjustor can see it.
A list of damaged items will be required for the insurance claim. List the items along with their age and value. Receipts of purchase are also handy to have.
Have the furnace and air conditioner checked for damages if the flood water reached that level. Damages to these items are sometimes overlooked due to their seasonal use. The hot water heater also needs to be checked. Water can be trapped in the insulation surrounding the unit.
Provide any contractor estimates to the adjustor. These can be for repair of the home, clean up of contents or for any other work to be done. Make sure that the estimates are approved by the adjustor before going ahead with the work. If you are planning on doing the work yourself, compensation for your time and materials can usually be arranged.
For more information on flood insurance, visit the National Flood Insurance Website.