It’s always sound advice to be ready for whatever events come your way. Hopefully, you’re on a preparation journey rather than searching urgently for advice on filing an insurance claim.
Whatever brought you here today, we’re hoping you’ll find our step-by-step process for filing an insurance claim to be of great assistance in a challenging task.
We’ve also developed a list of steps to take at once for basement flooding to protect you and your family.
Safety is Always First
Flooding can be not only stressful but downright dangerous. Here are the steps to take immediately.
- Turn off the electricity. Any basement flooding can impact electrical wiring from extension cords on the floor to appliances to electrical outlets. It’s best to turn off all electricity to your home. But if the main circuit breaker is in your basement, call an electrician to deal with all the issues including turning off the power.
- Watch for natural gas leaks. Flooding or shifting of the foundation can crack or even break natural gas pipes. If you smell gas, leave the area at once and call the gas company.
- Stay clear of sewage backup. Flooding can also cause sewage pipes to crack or break. Plus, even without breakage, the flood water level may cause the sewage to back up into your basement. Don’t enter the contaminated water. Call a plumber.
- Beware of potential structural failure. When foundation walls shift or bulge from hydrostatic pressure due to flooding, it could threaten your home’s structural integrity. That could lead to collapse. In such a situation, it’s best to keep clear of the home until it has been declared structurally sound.
Step-by-Step Insurance Claims
Here are the key steps to file an insurance claim for basement flooding or foundation damage.
- Document the damage. Write down what happened and when as soon as you can so nothing’s forgotten. Use your smartphone to capture photos of the damage to support your notes.
- Contact your insurer. Get in touch with your insurance agent or the company. They will help interpret the policy to determine exactly what’s covered and what isn’t covered.
- Double-check your damage notes. Just to be on the safe side, have someone look over your notes and photos. They should compare them to the damage. Ideally, you’ve got it all covered. But they may spot additional damage or help clarify your notes.
- File your insurance claim. Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to file the claim online or even via smartphone app. Since homeowner’s insurance typically covers dwelling and personal property damage separately, you’ll probably need to file two separate claims.
- Work with the insurance adjuster. Once an insurance adjuster is assigned, give them your full cooperation. Help them with access to the property and with your personal observations on the damage. Go over their report closely to make sure they’ve correctly documented everything.
- Determination of payout. After all that has been processed by the insurance company, they will issue a payout for your claim. That amount will be less the policy deductible.
For more information, FEMA also has a helpful guide on How to File a Flood Insurance Claim.
Insurance Coverage: Basement Flooding and Foundation Damage
Homeowner’s insurance doesn’t typically cover basement or foundation damage caused by heavy rain, storms, mudslides, sinkholes, or underground water seepage. It does cover water damage due to burst pipes, sink or bath overflow, water heater leaks, as well as dishwasher or washing machine leaks.
A few insurance companies offer supplemental flooding coverage. Check with your agent to see if this is available for your policy. You can also access FEMA’s National Flood Insurance program. They offer the FEMA Flood Map Service Center where you can map your property to determine flooding risks.
As just a couple of data points, the First National Flood Risk Assessment estimated that 280,200 properties in Missouri are at substantial risk of flooding. In addition, the FEMA flood insurance program has seen 106,400 claims in our state since 2000. See our article Top Cities at Serious Risk of Flooding in Missouri for further background.
If you need additional motivation to investigate flood insurance coverage, FEMA estimates that just one inch of water in a 2,500-square-foot one-story home can cause $23,635 in damage to the home along with $3,172 in damage to personal property.
Basement Flooding Prevention
We certainly hope you’re reading this article to prepare for foundation problems rather than responding to flooding. To support your prevention efforts, we’ve created a Flood Prevention Checklist.
When you’re considering options for preventing basement flooding or foundation damage, it’s a good idea to get advice from professionals. For a free inspection and repair estimate, contact Foundation Recovery Systems.