What to Say to Your Insurance Company When Disaster Strikes Your Home

When I pitched this idea to my editor, she came back with the idea of ‘what to say to insurance folks when your home is flooded.’

I didn’t have the heart to say that when I stepped into my condo and saw three strange men vacuuming water off my floor, I swore loudly and a lot.

Flooded homes are always something you hear about and never expect to happen to you. In fact, just a few months ago I wrote about a friend and her place which got flooded and it turned out she did not have home insurance. I fortunately do have home insurance.

After wailing to my brother on the phone:

Him (sleepily. It was after midnight), “Hello?”

Me, “My condo is flooded!”

Him, “I’ll be right there.”

I quickly packed an overnight bag and grabbed my briefcase. It was time to call my insurance company.

Find Your Paperwork

You know all those articles about filing your paperwork in a safe, secure place? This is one reason why. Your floor is soaked, there are strange men who have ripped up your carpets and are vacuuming the water on the concrete. Your place is a mess and you’re in shock. The last thing you need is to look for your insurance and condo paperwork.

File Your Claim as Soon as Possible

Once your condo has been flooded, it’s no longer just about you. It will now involve you, your insurance company, the condo corporation and their insurance company. Insurance companies have emergency claims departments that will allow you to file a claim at 12:15 a.m. on a Saturday morning.

You more than likely won’t know all the details, but the important thing is to file the claim and begin a history.

Call your property manager and explain the situation. Give both parties the respective contact information.

Take Notes and Ask Questions

Things can move very fast at this stage. Your insurance company will send someone out to assess the damage. This will involve taking photos, looking at the damaged areas of your home and determining the cause. There will be a lot of information flying back and forth and you will never remember it all. Take notes and ask questions no matter how dumb they seem.

Follow Up

This means keeping in touch with your insurance company (by now you will have been assigned an adjuster) and your property manager. The two parties will be talking to each other. It’s up to you to ensure you’re still part of the conversation because decisions can and will be made without your input.

Take Some Time Away

Your insurance should cover a few nights in a hotel while your home is being dried out. In my case there were a dozen industrial-sized fans and dehumidifiers drying out my carpet and walls.

Next: Getting the repairs done. Who does them and why?

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Originally published in Walletpop.ca

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