Get help settling flood damage claim

Third of a four-part series

Anyone who suffered flood damage may be covered under homeowner’s, renter’s or car insurance policies.

Even if victims are not sure their losses are covered, attorneys from the Missouri Bar Association urge them to file claims. When contacting an insurance company, make sure to write down the name of the people and the claim number given.

If an insurance policy was lost or destroyed during the flood, contact a broker, agent or insurance company. Policy holders are still covered, with or without a copy of the policy. Anyone who has forgotten which company insures them can ask a mortgage holder or other companies that have loans on your home or car to check their records for you.

When talking with an insurance company, ask for an adjuster to come out and inspect the property. As a safeguard, the Bar Association urges claimants to make this request in writing. Before the insurance adjuster inspects any property, make a list of all damaged or destroyed items. Take pictures  and collect the names, addresses and telephone numbers of people witnessed the damage. When time permits, get repair estimates. Keep a list of all expenses, such as alternate housing, and save receipts for any expenses for protecting property.

Attorneys warn to be on the lookout for anyone who claims to be a public “adjustor.” Some people may say they can help you file your insurance claim in return for a percentage of your reimbursement. It is extremely unlikely that such a person will be of much help. Whatever a “public adjuster” can do, you can do for yourself. Anyone who has signed a contract with a “public adjuster,” has three business days to cancel the contract in writing.

Also, watch out for anyone else who asks for money to help file a claim and receive quicker payment. Some people may claim to be working on behalf of the government, the Missouri Department of Insurance or your insurance company — and they may ask for money. Victims who are approached by anyone wanting money to help settle insurance claims should ask for their name and immediately report this to your insurance company and the Missouri Department of Insurance at 1-800-726-7390.