Flood: Understanding and Recovering from One of Nature's Worst Disasters



...their estimating template. They usually concentrate on room sizes, flooring, walls and a few other variables. When you work with the adjuster, it is important that there is agreement about the “scope of damage,” meaning an agreement about what needs to be repaired or replaced, without having a dollar amount at that time.

Working under extremely adverse conditions, and with the large number of losses in a flood area, the adjuster’s goal is to adjust as many losses as they can each day. Because of their workload, once these adjusters set their position in writing, it may be very difficult to change.

For example, a commercial building was flooded with seven feet of water and mud. Inside the flooded building was a suspended ceiling, which soaked up large amounts of moisture, causing it to sag and grow mold. The adjuster Mold is a very important issue to consider in flood losses. Concerns about extraordinary mold and its health risks to inhabitants of a property can have a major impact on property insurance claims. inspected the damage alone without obtaining any information from the owner. The adjuster later denied coverage for the ceiling, stating, “No water touched the ceiling, therefore it is not a covered flood loss.” He simply said, “Take it to Appraisal,” and left to adjust the next loss. (Appraisal is a policy’s form of arbitration.)

Unfortunately, if everything under the flood line is covered in mud, adjusters can have a hard time determining if something is brand new or 20 years old. If possible, try to locate receipts or proofs of purchase before the adjuster arrives, especially for major appliances, to prove the age of the items.

Compounding this problem, flood areas are usually without power, they smell foul, and can contain mold, bacteria, spiders and snakes. Given these circumstances, the adjusters do not want to, nor do they have the time to, clean and inspect every item and determine its precise age and worth. They typically depreciate most items a standard percentage, unless someone is there to point out otherwise.

Another example is flooring. A property may have very expensive walnut wood flooring; however, caked with mud, it looks just like...

“All NFIP or insurance company flood insurance policies contain the same language and work the same way. The only differences insureds will encounter with various companies involve how different adjusters interpret the policies.”