With more than 9 inches of rain falling in the Dallas-Fort Worth area on Monday and causing flooding in several areas, many people are sifting through the damage.
Flooding can be costly. Just one inch of water can cost up to $25,000 to repair, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency.
The National Weather Service reported Monday that the 9.19 inches of rain recorded at Dallas-Fort Worth International Airport was the second wettest 24-hour period on record. Sunday night through Monday total rainfall was 0.38 inches behind the wettest 24-hour period recorded in 1932 at 9.57 inches.
In the US alone, floods kill more people each year than hurricanes, tornadoes or fires, according to the National Severe Storms Laboratory..
A common question many people have is what will my insurance cover? Here are some things to consider:
What should I know when buying flood insurance?
Flood insurance can be purchased from private companies or through the state’s National Flood Insurance Program.
When it comes to buying flood insurance, the Best Business offers several tips, whether you buy from a private company or a government carrier:
- Know your area – To find out if the area where you live or work is at risk of flooding, check it out FEMA’s flood map service center. You may need flood insurance if you live in a high-risk area.
- Talk to an insurance agent – Start by checking with your insurance provider to find out if they offer flood insurance. Homeowner’s insurance generally does not cover flood damage.
- Find a flood insurance provider – To find coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program, visit their website. Or you can find an agent through the BBB.
- Buying flood insurance – Discuss the policy with your insurance provider before purchasing to make sure you choose the right amount. Flood insurance usually covers damage from groundwater, while homeowner’s insurance usually covers water damage from a broken pipe or leaking roof.
- Find things – Take home valuables, and document them with photos and videos for future reference.
- Keep important records – Documents such as passports, birth certificates, medical and ownership records should be kept in a waterproof container or safety box.
- Understanding how to lodge a complaint – When filing a claim, start by reporting the flood to your insurance provider. Write down the damage, before you start cleaning. Finally, meet the manager and get paid.
- Work with an insurance company for damages – If you have to deal with flood damage or mold problems, talk to your insurance agent about the help of a reliable water damage restoration company. Find out what kind of services your plan offers.
What does flood insurance cover?
The National Flood Insurance Program covers physical damage to properties and assets. NFIP offers two types of monitoring – architecture and interiors.
Infrastructure needs include:
- Electrical and plumbing systems, along with furnaces and water heaters.
- Refrigerators, stoves and dishwashers.
- Permanent installation of carpets, cabinets, panels and cabinets.
- Window blinds, foundation walls, anchor systems and stairs.
- Closed glass, oil tanks, salt water tanks and pumps and electronic equipment.
Internal disclosures by NFIP include:
- Personal items such as clothes, furniture and electronics.
- Curtains, washer, dryer and microwave oven.
- Portable and abandoned air conditioners.
- Carpets are not included with building materials, such as throw carpets on wooden floors.
- Valuable items such as original paintings and furs up to $2,500.
Here’s what’s not included in the two NFIP plans:
- Temporary housing is an additional purchase for the home while it is being renovated or if the home is occupied.
- Property outside the insured home such as land, wells, septic systems, decks and patios, fences, seawalls, hot tubs and swimming pools.
- Any financial loss caused by business interruption.
- Money, precious metals, property documents and other valuable documents.
- Cars are many self-driving cars, including their parts.
- Personal belongings are stored in basements.
What do I need to know when writing an insurance policy?
When a flood or water damage occurs, it is time to contact your insurance provider. Here are a few tips from Best Business when it comes to writing a sentence:
- Contact the insurance company immediately – Early contact will help keep the claim going and may also mean you are eligible for unused benefits. It also entitles you to reimbursement for hotel, meal and other expenses incurred while you are away from home. Document all insurance company negotiations or changes and get any reimbursement promises in writing.
- Beware of contractors who claim to be insurance experts – Make sure you do your due diligence on your contractors before letting them deal with your insurance company. Ask for a maintenance permit.
- Write down the damage properly – Take pictures and videos of goods and possessions, by going from room to room and writing in detail.
- Make a temporary fix to minimize further damage – You may be liable for other damages that occur to your home or business after a storm. Boarding up broken windows or tarring a tired roof can help reduce further damage. Beware of contractors who may try to offer this for ah wages.
- Do not make any repairs until approved by the insurance company – Make sure that your insurance company will reimburse you for the amount you have arranged. The insurance company may not fully reimburse you if repairs are made without permission.
- Do not give the insurance check to the contractor for repairs before the job starts – Never pay one-third of the cost of the job up front and make sure your insurance company approves all repairs before making the final payment to the contractor.
- You may be eligible for additional coverage if insurers do not cover all losses – Check with FEMA for more information and to see if you qualify.
What should I know when choosing a maintenance or cleaning company?
Whenever there is a bad weather, unscrupulous contractors will come out of the trees to offer their services. The Better Business Bureau has several tips for choosing a company:
- Work with your insurance company – Ask your insurance agent to recommend a reliable and trustworthy water damage restoration company. Find out what your insurance covers and how to respond.
- Try to minimize some damage – Dry and disinfect affected areas as quickly as possible to prevent mold growth. For damp carpet or rugs, try running fans and dehumidifiers.
- Check the company’s history with the BBB – You can also view the company’s complaint history and other resources at BBB website.
- Verify the company’s license – Make sure the worker is properly licensed, insured and registered for the work they are doing. For example, washing and drying a room may not require a license, but removing cabinets or walls may.
- Make sure the business has experience in mold remediation – Ask for references and talk to them to learn more about the company’s work with molds.
- Get at least 3 bids – Don’t hire the first business that connects you or gives you the lowest price. Evaluate the services and offerings of at least three businesses before making a decision.
- Understanding the distribution of profitable contracts – Make sure you do your research on the contractor before you let them deal with your insurance company. Ask for a maintenance permit.
- Beware of contractors who go door to door using scare tactics – Get a contract that specifies the work to be done, the cost of labor and equipment and the agreed time frame. Don’t feel pressured to sign right away and search for at least three bids before making a decision.
- Beware of rental scams – If you have been moved out of your home, beware of rent scams where a picture and description of the property is posted online and asks you to pay the first month’s rent.