For homeowners, few things are more daunting than finding extensive flood damage in your home; yet, as the result of hurricanes and other extreme weather, this is a reality that many Texans have had to face.
Flooding is common enough that Texas homeowners are highly encouraged to double-check their insurance coverage and verify that they are covered against flood damage. Don’t simply assume that your homeowners policy will provide the safety net you need, as many homeowners policies do not cover flooding.
Additionally, it is important to be meticulous in documenting the damage incurred due to flooding; the more thorough you are, the more likely it is that you will get a positive resolution to your insurance claim.
WHAT TO DO FOLLOWING A FLOOD
Here are some specific tips for documenting evidence and filing a flood claim.
- Take photographs of the affected area. As soon as you are able to safely access the flood-damaged area of your house, take photos of any damage for which you would like to make a claim, including any pieces of property that have been discarded or displaced by the flood waters.Compile a list of damaged items. It is also helpful if you make a list of any lost or damaged items you would like to include in your claim. Along with each item, make a note of the purchase date and approximate value. If you have receipts or proof of purchase, that’s even better, and you can include those documents with your claim.
- Document the water line. In addition to taking photos of your damaged property, also capture some photos that show where the water line is, both inside and outside your house. Take notes as to how long the water line remains at that level, how quickly it dissipates, etc.
- Don’t undervalue your items. As you estimate replacement costs for damaged property, make sure you take into account things like sales tax, installation fees, and delivery costs . . . truly capturing the full scope of replacement costs. Don’t sell yourself short in this regard!
- Do your part to mitigate damage. Your insurance company will expect you to take reasonable steps to mitigate damage and prevent against any further property loss. For example, remove bedding or carpet that’s saturated with water. If there is any storm damage to windows or doors, make sure you board them up quickly. Any water remediation you can perform on your own, such as with a wet-dry shop vac, can also be helpful. In more extreme instances, you should consider hiring a water remediation company—insurance companies rarely resist paying these costs. Don’t provide the insurance company with any reason to think you have allowed the situation to worsen or failed to mitigate your damages.
- Get quotes from contractors. If you need to hire a dry restoration company or any other contractor, get a quote and have it approved by the insurance company before you have the work begun.
FURTHER HELP FILING YOUR INSURANCE CLAIM
Dealing with flood damage is stressful, even if you feel confident you have the right insurance coverage. If you have questions about your policy, or would like assistance with your claim, we’d be happy to assist you. Reach out to an attorney at McLaurin Law Firm any time you need us.
Jason McLaurin is a founding member of McLaurin Law. He has over a decade of experience representing clients at trial, arbitration, and mediation in matters concerning insurance policyholder recovery disputes, complex commercial litigation, and catastrophic personal injury claims. He also represents businesses as outside general counsel for clients in a variety of industries including construction, oil and gas, maritime, technology, and professional services. He is licensed and handles matters in both Texas and Louisiana.