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Entries in Flooding (5)

Friday
Nov022012

Top Six Things to Know About Flooding After Hurricane Sandy

@eewolff609(NEW YORK) -- The extent of the devastation to homes and businesses caused by Sandy is still emerging, but it is already being estimated in the tens of billions of dollars.

The overwhelming cause of the damage was flooding which inundated whole towns, broke gas mains, swamped power stations and crippled the region.  The salt water ruined cars, businesses and homes.

Now, the clean-up begins along with the claims to insurance companies.

The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) has an online tool that helps shows a rough estimate of how much flooding, by height of water, could cost a household.  A home that spans 1,000 square feet with six inches of flooding could have total losses of $20,150.  Those costs, which vary by state and by type of home, include $1,000 in cleaning; $150 for electrical and plumbing; $7,900 in wood and carpet repair; thousands of dollars more in appliance and furniture replacement; and $1,100 in repairing doors, base trim and windows.

ABC News asked Judith Spry, partner in the insurance claims services practice at BDO Consulting, about what those who have experienced flooding should do to recover.

Double-Check Insurance Policies
Spry cautions that homeowners and business owners should never fully rely on an insurance policy.  It is especially important to review your homeowner's policy with your agent or broker so you understand the amount you will receive in the event of a covered loss, and whether it will be adequate to rebuild your home.  Homeowners should also know the amount of a deductible and any special provisions in the policy such as wind exclusions.

Start the Insurance Claims Process as Soon as Possible
The NFIP recommends you first call your agent or insurance company to file a claim and an adjustor should contact you within a few days.  You should know the name of your insurance company, your policy number and contact information where you can be reached.  Business loss insurance coverage usually begins after a waiting period of about 72 hours and claims can take weeks for companies to estimate.

Assess Your Property
The NFIP recommends you separate undamaged from damaged property and make a list of damaged or lost items, including date of purchase, value and receipts if possible.

Take Video or Photos for a Home Inventory
For insurance purposes and for your own personal keepsake in case of a disaster, you should have a home inventory or a photographic record.  Take photographs of damaged property, including discarded objects, structural damage and standing floodwater levels.  If you don't have a record of a purchase, some insurers may accept a photograph or video of a damaged object.  If you don't have a receipt of something, such as a new television, you may be able to go to the store where you bought it and ask if they have a record of the purchase.

If You Have Flood Insurance, You'll Get a "Proof of Loss" Form
Your adjuster will provide you a Proof of Loss form for your official claim for damages, which you must file with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood.  You should receive your claim payment after you and the insurer agree on the amount of damages and the insurer has your complete, accurate, and signed Proof of Loss form.  If major catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to process claims, according to the NFIP.

You Don't Need a Public Adjuster on a Big Claim
Spry says you do not need a public adjuster.  Public adjusters, who work for you and not the insurance company, will take a percentage of a claim even if the insured is investing a significant amount of time, such as preparing forms, for the process.  She recommends having an accounting firm to provide claims preparation coverage.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Sunday
Oct282012

Top 6 Myths, Facts About Flood, Hurricane Insurance Protection

iStockphoto/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- As Hurricane Sandy make its way along the Atlantic Coast, disaster experts are reminding U.S. residents that flooding is the country's number one natural hazard, according to the National Flood Insurance Program, which Congress created in 1968.

Meteorologists were calling Hurricane Sandy an "extra-tropical cyclone" on Friday when it was a category 1 storm.

When Hurricane Isaac came ashore in the Gulf Coast in August, its strength as a Category 1 hurricane was weaker than that of Hurricane Katrina, which hit seven years ago. But in both storms, flooding was the main cause of damage. Many people don't realize until it's too late that flooding may not be covered by their regular homeowner's policy.

Here are six myths about natural disaster insurance that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and other insurance experts try to dispel.

The type of natural disaster doesn't matter.

Insurer MetLife says damage from windstorm or hail and lightning is included in most homeowners' policies, whereas damage from earthquakes and volcanic eruptions are usually not.

Homes and businesses along a shoreline often have to have special insurance policy endorsements that cover water damage due to high winds, according to Judith Spry, partner in the insurance claims services practice at BDO Consulting, which provides litigation, investigation, restructuring and risk advisory services to major corporations, law firms, insurance companies, financial services entities and government organizations.

Despite misconceptions, you can get flood insurance nationwide and if you live in a floodplain or high-flood risk area, the NFIP says.

You can't get flood insurance if your property has been flooded before.

For people who don't already have flood insurance, it is most likely too late to get it for those homes that sustain flood damage from Hurricane Isaac, but it is possible to get it next time, said the NFIP.

Though most insurance policies don't include flood protection, coverage can be purchased from the federal government.

You can only buy flood insurance if your mortgage broker requires it.

If you have a federally insured mortgage and live in a high-risk flood zone, mortgage companies will often require flood insurance to secure your loan.

If you live in a high-risk flood zone and receive federal disaster assistance after a flood, you will be required to purchase and maintain flood insurance until your loan is paid off. In this case, if you don't buy flood insurance and another flood damages your property, a request for federal disaster assistance could be denied.

You can't get flood insurance if you live in a low-to-moderate flood-risk area at a lower cost.

The NFIP says you can get flood insurance if you live outside a floodplain or in a low-to-moderate flood-risk area, and at lower cost.

Homeowners insurance is usually based on the cost to rebuild rather than the current market value of a home, according to the MetLife Auto & Home Insurance Literacy study from August 2010.

Spry said home and business owners should make sure they have coverage for replacement costs rather than actual cash value. Depending on how big your house is, how old it is and what it costs to replace it, she said the higher insurance premium may be worth the expense of the replacement cost in the long run.

Start the insurance claims process as soon as possible.

The NFIP recommends three steps once you have flooding.

First, you should call your agent or insurance company to file a claim and an adjustor should contact you within a few days. You should know the name of your insurance company, your policy number and contact information where you can be reached.

Second, the NFIP recommends you separate undamaged from damaged property and take photographs of the latter, including discarded objects, structural damage and standing floodwater levels and make a list of damaged or lost items, including date of purchase, value and receipts if possible.

Third, your adjuster will provide you a Proof of Loss form for your official claim for damages, which you must file with your insurance company within 60 days of the flood.

You should receive your claim payment after you and the insurer agree on the amount of damages and the insurer has your complete, accurate, and signed Proof of Loss form. If major catastrophic flooding occurs, it may take longer to process claims, according to the NFIP.

You don't need a public adjuster on a big claim.

Spry says you do not need a public adjuster.

Public adjusters, who work for you and not the insurance company, will take a percentage of a claim even if the insured is investing a significant amount of time, such as preparing forms, for the process.

She recommends having an accounting firm to provide claims preparation coverage.

Copyright 2012 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
May182011

Flooding in the South Likely to Affect Entire US Economy

Scott Olson/Getty Images(NEW YORK) -- The immediate impact of flooding on the Mississippi River is being felt by farmers whose lands have been swamped, and by people forced to evacuate their homes.

However, what's happening in the South won't be staying in the South and will quickly affect the U.S. economy.

Motorists grousing about high prices at the pump probably won't be seeing them come down soon since one-in-nine gallons of gasoline comes from refineries in the regions that are being flooded.

Consumers might also have to get used to seeing shortages on items and higher prices in stores because shipping will likely be disrupted at the Port of New Orleans, through which thousands of ships travel annually.

As for farms that go underwater, corn growers have to delay planting, meaning that corn and corn-based products will be more expensive in the coming months.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Mar302011

Disaster Insurance Cost Rising Along with Occurrence of Disasters

Comstock/Thinkstock(NEW YORK) -- Insurance experts say the likelihood of more floods and hurricanes in the future is rising.

In fact, a new report from a Swiss insurance firm says the number of earthquakes, floods and other disasters around the world rose last year compared to 2009.

For homeowners without disaster insurance, damage from natural disasters can prove to be costly.

"Are you financially ready to pay for what could be hundreds of thousands of dollars in expenses to fix your home?," says Anna Maria Andreotis of SmartMoney.com.

Although the premiums for these insurance policies "have been rising and they're expected to continue rising going forward," Andreotis says they may be something to consider.

"If you live in an area that's prone to either earthquakes to hurricanes to flooding that is something you need to keep in mind," she says.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio

Wednesday
Feb022011

Walmart Donating $750,000 in Cash, Goods to Brazil Flood Victims

Photo Courtesy - Vanderlei Almeida/ AFP/Getty Images(BENTONVILLE, Ark.) -- Retail giant Walmart announced Wednesday that it is committing over $750,000 to help victims of flooding in Brazil.

The Walmart Foundation will donate $400,000 to be used towards long-term relief efforts and the purchase of critical items like water, food and medical supplies.  Campaigns by Walmart Brazil also helped raised nearly 100 tons of donations in goods, amounting to an estimated value of over $350,000.

All the donations will go towards emergency relief efforts in Sao Paulo and Rio de Janeiro, where over 800 people died and thousands were displaced after torrential rains came down on the country last month, causing flooding and mudslides.

Copyright 2011 ABC News Radio







ABC News Radio