The Flood Insurance Claims process we had to go through just a year after writing a whole series on how to deal with flood insurance claims.
Remember how I wrote all those articles after the Houston Meyerland Memorial Day Floods on what happens if you don't have flood insurance (steps to take) + how we would have fared financially if we had had flood damage?
I live in that area, but thankfully was spared. So I attended meetings from lawyers, insurance reps, did lots of research, and talked to several flood victims about their experiences.
Little did I know we'd be filing our own flood insurance claim less than one year later.
Amanda's Note: Maybe now's the time for you to look into flood insurance for yourself? USAA offers flood insurance.
Our Flood Damage: Wood Warp in Our Living Room
What was extremely sad was that a significant portion of the people whose homes had flooded less than a year earlier experienced yet another home flooding.
We were fortunate. We did not take in any water over the substantial rains on April 18th, 2016. Instead, the wood warped in our living room floor under the windows.
No, the water did not come in from the window (and yes, they asked this question when I called our insurance rep). Somehow, the water came in from the ground.
Our backyard floods several times per year, but it has never done so “close” to our house (granted, of course the backyard means it's close to our home. However, we normally have about ten feet where there is no flooding leading up to our door).
Pssst: FEMA lays out the exact steps for submitting your claim here. But if you want to know how it REALLY looks, keep reading.
I Call Our Homeowner's Insurance Rep
I spoke with my grandmother in passing on the situation, and she said I should call our insurance company. Honestly, I didn't think flood insurance would cover this sort of thing since our home wasn't filled with inches of water.
But I was wrong (thanks, Mom-Mom)!
The catalyst for me calling our homeowner's insurance company on May 9th, 2016? The warped wood started turning black and I was concerned about mold.
After clearing up with the rep that the water did not come in from the window (which would not have been covered), she took some info from me and said I'd hear from a claims adjustor very shortly.
The Process is Smooth
I've heard firsthand from some people that the flood claim process can be a nightmare. In fact, I wrote about some of the sucky ins and outs when dealing with flood insurance claims and what does flood insurance cover − a whole other bear than homeowner insurance claims.
So I was pleasantly surprised with how easy it was for us.
On the afternoon of May 9th, 2016, the claims adjustor called me. He had been in the area since the flooding because there were so many flood claims to make, and we were fortunate to catch him on his way home to Kentucky. He spent about 45 minutes taking measurements of our home and of the living room. He put us down for a claim of $4,732.02.
I was floored!
We were fortunate in that even though the wood was only warped in a small portion of the living room (about a 2′ by 2′ area), the adjustor said that they would replace the entire living room floor. That's because they weren't going to attempt to match the original 1970s parquet wood floor (hallelujah for that!).
Here's the Chronology of the Rest of the Events:
- May 11, 2016: We received our Proof of Loss form from the adjustor by email. It was 11 pages long. We just needed to sign, date, and return the first page.
- May 17, 2016: Next, we received a letter from the National Flood Insurance Program saying that our information with them was incorrect and didn't match up. Apparently they did not have our mortgage company information. So I faxed them proof of our mortgage on May 17, 2016.
- May 25, 2016: We received a letter from the National Flood Insurance Program stating that they had updated our mortgage information per our new info received.
- June 2, 2016: We received a check for $3,732.02. The entire claim was for $4,732.02; however, our $1,000 deductible was subtracted out.
The first thing I did? Swept that money into our no-touch savings account. If it stayed in our checking, I'm sure we would've eaten away at it here and there (don't think the checking account gremlin skips our home!).
Amanda's PSA: This is a good time to mention again how important it is that even if you don't have an emergency fund, that you at least have a savings account with the amount of your insurance deductibles. What if we didn't have that extra $1,000 hanging around? Since we still have a mortgage on the home, it's our responsibility to make sure the repair gets done and Wells Fargo has every right to demand it. Granted, we hope we can get a quote for less than the $4,732.02 estimated by our adjustor, in which case it would not cost us $1,000 on top of the claim check. But you just never know when you will be on the hook for your deductibles.
When the check came it had both of our names on it, as well as our mortgage company's name, Wells Fargo. So we had to go into the bank branch together to endorse it, then have a manager endorse it on their end.
We also had to sign a paper stating that we would make the repairs and be open to inspection by a Wells Fargo rep within 120 days of receiving the check.
What's Next for Us
Unfortunately, we still haven't replaced the floor. But it's on our need-to-get-done-ASAP list, especially with just a month to go before our 120 days is up. So we're getting quotes and will be choosing a new floor in the next few weeks. Hurrah!
I'm a little worried about the work, as someone at the bank told me that sometimes when things get ripped up bigger problems are found. So we're crossing our fingers that it goes smoothly. Also, should there be additional damage, then we may be eligible for a higher claim and can go through that process of getting an adjustor out again.
For now? We're thankful that we get to do some floor shopping and update the parquet wood floor we never enjoyed anyway (the only parquet wood in the home)!
Flood Insurance Crash Course Series:
Flood Insurance Crash Course Part 1: Do I Need Flood Insurance?
Flood Insurance Crash Course Part 2 : What Does Flood Insurance Cover + What the Claims Process Looks Like
Flood Insurance Crash Course Part 3: How It Would have Gone if We Had Flood Damage
Flood Insurance Crash Course Part 4: 10 Surprising FEMA flood Claims Money Realities I Learned
Flood Insurance Crash Course Part 5: We Submit Our First Flood Insurance Claims Process
Have you ever had to make a flood insurance claim? How did it go for you?