Due to the record rainfall and flooding of the past week many families were affected by flooding of their homes and some even had their cars stranded. In order to make sure that your insurance claims are the best that they can be so that you receive compensation for all that you are entitled to, here are some tips.
- Take still photos and video of all that you can; fully document damage inside and out if possible. Continue to document until all flood waters have receded and if mud/sewage/debris are left behind, document that also.
- Do not wade into flood waters – this water can contain raw sewage, gasoline from stranded vehicles, oil from flooded basements that had oil heaters, debris of all sorts, manure from farmland, and may carry disease. Do not let children splash in the water at all, and make sure all clothing that comes into contact with this water is immediately cleaned in hot water (use bleach if possible).
- Review your homeowner’s policy carefully; even though your policy might not cover flood water, it may cover raw sewage.
- Speak with your agent as soon as possible. Ask for ideas on how to make your claim as thorough as possible. As there are many people in the area filing claims, ask for an approximation on how long it will take to process your claim.
- If you did not have flood insurance, or if you rent and did not have renter’s insurance, this is a good time to add these now. It won’t help you this time around but now that you are aware of your vulnerability you will be prepared in the future. Please note that there is a 30 day waiting period on new flood insurance policies.
- If you are in one of the Harrisburg areas with a curfew, make sure to remain inside from 8 p.m. – 6 a.m. so that you are not arrested. Checking on property will not excuse you from prosecution.
- Call the Pennsylvania Insurance Department’s Consumer hotline (the call is free) at 1-877-881-6388. Unfortunately, due to the flooding along the Susquehanna River, their office hours are reduced. If you are unable to reach anyone, leave a message and an agent will contact you soon.
- According to The National Flood Insurance Program website floods are the #1 natural disaster in the United States and everyone lives in a flood zone… If you live in a Special Flood Hazard Area (SFHA) or high-risk area and have a Federally backed mortgage, your mortgage lender requires you to have flood insurance. (To find your flood risk, fill out the Flood Risk Profile.)
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