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NEW YORK, Dec. 6 -- The Insurance Information Institute issued the following news release:
The significant flooding from Hurricane Sandy is a leading cause of damage to many homes affected by the storm, according to the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.).
Coverage for flood damage resulting from surface water, including storm surge caused by hurricanes is not covered under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies; however flood coverage is available both from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and from a few private insurance companies.
What to Do If You Have Suffered a Flood-Related Loss
Call the insurance professional who sold you your homeowners or renters insurance policy. He or she will advise you regarding the steps for filing your flood insurance claim. Your insurance company may also arrange for you to speak to an adjuster retained by the NFIP.
Have the following information on hand when you call:
--The name of your insurance company (your agent may write policies for more than one insurance company)
--Your policy number
--A telephone number and/or email address where you can be reached
--An address where mail can reach you. (Payments will be mailed to you at the last known mailing address; if you are not receiving mail there, provide an alternate address.)
Once your local officials have confirmed it is safe to re-enter your home, take photographs of the house, as well as damaged personal property. Separate damaged from undamaged property and prepare a written inventory of damaged property including details such as quantity, value, a description and the amount of loss claimed. Attach receipts, bills and photographs if possible. This will help to document your loss, as the adjuster will want to see evidence of the damage in order to prepare your estimate.
Local officials may require disposal of flood damaged items for health and safety reasons. If this is the case, photograph the items before disposal and then again when they are outside for pick-up by sanitation crews. You may also want to keep swatches of carpeting, wallpaper, furniture upholstery, window treatments, as well as any other samples that may impact the amount payable. If you have conducted a home inventory of your personal possessions supply the relevant information to the adjuster. This will help to substantiate your loss. The I.I.I. has free web-based software and apps to make creating a home inventory easier.
Additional Information about Flood Insurance
You can find out your approximate risk of flood and the cost of a flood insurance policy by going to the NFIP's website: FloodSmart.gov. A flood insurance policy typically takes 30 days to go into effect.
The NFIP provides coverage for up to $250,000 for the structure of your home and $100,000 for contents. The NFIP policy provides replacement cost coverage for the structure of your home, but actual cash value coverage for contents, meaning that depreciation is deducted from the cost of the items. The NFIP policy also has limits on coverage for basements and their contents. Flood insurance is also available for renters.
If you need additional insurance protection over and above the amount of coverage in a basic flood insurance policy, excess flood insurance is available from some private insurers. An excess flood insurance policy covers damage beyond the limits of the federal program--generally on the same basis (replacement cost for structure; actual cash value for contents).
Insurance is available to home and business owners nationwide, whether the property is in a high-risk flood area (known as a Special Flood Hazard Area or SFHA) or a moderate- to low-risk area, as long as the property is located within a community participating in the NFIP. More than 21,000 communities participate in the NFIP nationwide.
Flood insurance is required if you have a federally backed mortgage in a high-risk flood area. If a property is not in a high-risk area, the risk is reduced, but not removed. Residents in moderate- to low-risk areas might be eligible for a lower-cost flood insurance policy known as a Preferred Risk Policy.
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