Hamm offers information and advice to consumers impacted by flooding
Posted on 5/26/2011
BISMARCK, N.D.-As many North Dakotans are dealing with flooding, North Dakota Insurance Commissioner Adam Hamm is reminding consumers about a collection of common questions and answers about flood coverage and insurance put together by the North Dakota Insurance Department.
"North Dakotans are dealing with numerous issues caused by the recent flooding," Hamm said. "We hope this information will help consumers move forward more quickly in the recovery process."
Among the questions answered in the Department's document are: • My home was damaged by water when the flood entered my home. Will my homeowner's policy pay for the damages? • My home was damaged by water and sewer material when the sewer backed up into my basement during the flood. Will my homeowner's policy pay for the damages? • My home was damaged by water when the sump pump failed and water backed up into my basement during the flood. Will my homeowner's policy pay for the damages? • During the course of fighting the flood, someone drove their vehicle across my lawn causing damage. Is there any coverage for the lawn? • At one time I purchased "special coverage" for some of my personal property, which was added to my homeowner's policy. Are these items covered for flood? • I had to close my business because of the flood. Will insurance cover my lost income? • My vehicle was covered by the flood water. Will the damage be covered by my auto policy? • If I have problems with my insurance company, agent or adjuster, where can I turn?
The entire Q&A can be found on the Insurance Department website by clicking on the flood information button on the home page at www.nd.gov/ndins. By clicking on this flood button, you can also find information and helpful links from the Department and other federal and state agencies.
"I encourage you to talk to your agent about coverage even if this information indicates there would be no coverage," Hamm said. He added that the information is based on standard policy language. Policy provisions differ from company to company.
Additionally, Commissioner Hamm highlighted some very important issues as North Dakotans move toward the recovery process.
"If you have suffered property damage as a result of flooding, seepage, sewer back-up, power outages, etc., you should notify your insurance agent as soon as possible," Hamm said.
Documentation will be critically important to working through the recovery process. This is true whether you have insurance coverage for your loss or not.
Advice for consumers: • Collect and have on hand the name of your insurance company, your policy number and a telephone number or email address where you can be reached at all times. • Contact your insurance agent or company to file a claim. • Take photos or video of all damaged property, including standing floodwater levels. • Separate damaged from undamaged property. Local officials may require the disposal of damaged items. If you dispose of items, keep a swatch or other sample of damaged items for the adjuster. • Make a list of damaged property or lost items. When possible, include purchase dates and value with receipts. • Protect any undamaged property. • If your primary policy (homeowners, condominium owners, renters, farm owners or business policy) does not provide coverage for specific events, document this fact. Ask for a letter or statement from your company or agent detailing what is and is not covered. • If you have a National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policy in addition to your primary policy, the process is the same and you should initiate a claim with both policies. Be advised that NFIP will need documentation on any claims paid to you under your primary policy. Therefore, keep records of any correspondence, damage assessments and claims payments you receive from the primary insurance policy.
Hamm continued, "It is my expectation that over the coming weeks, insurance agents and companies will work hand-in-hand with policyholders to address their issues and answer any questions that they have."
If you encounter problems or have questions, please contact the North Dakota Insurance Department at 1-800-247-0560 or firstname.lastname@example.org.