Thursday, November 22, 2012

Flood Insurance: The Basics Everyone Should Know

In the world of home insurance, floods are quite the contentious issue. A home is not protected from a flood, even with a home insurance policy. Flood insurance does exist, but it operates completely separately from home insurance.

As flood insurance protects primarily the home from the damage that occurs as a result of a flood, it would seem natural for floods to be covered under a standard home insurance policy, but they are not.

Another problem with this division in insurance is that it is not common knowledge. Because the combination of the two types of insurance seems so expected, many people do not know that their home insurance does not, in fact, cover flood damage. They only find out when they file a claim for flood damage and it is denied because their policy does not cover such claims.

From of perspective of insurance companies, floods can be extremely costly and the damage is often extensive and difficult to repair. Obviously, this is also a problem for the customer who has to pay for these damages out of pocket.

Another issue for insurance companies is that floods are both seasonal and regional but to a greater extent than other natural disasters. Some regions flood annually while others flood sporadically. But almost all regions have the opportunity to receive the full force of a powerful flood.

Only some regions are prepared for these dramatic events in terms of the structural integrity of the home and the preparedness of the residents for such a disaster.

Different regions in the United States have their rainy seasons at different times, and even parts of the country that are known for their good weather have bouts of extreme rain which they are completely unprepared for.

However, there is a government program called the National Flood Insurance Program that works as a part of FEMA. The NFIP provides a basic but fairly comprehensive form of flood insurance. And for certain regions where floods are particularly prevalent and especially potent, flood insurance is required.

After Hurricane Katrina truly devastated parts of the South, namely Louisiana, flood insurance became more paramount but also more expensive because of all of the damage that was done.

But in the end of May of 2012, the authorization for the National Flood Insurance Program expires and is up for renewal in Congress. Unfortunately because of current political tensions, this program may not be renewed. To some people it is considered an additional ancillary and superfluous cost.

In 2005, the NFIP accrued massive costs because of the wreckage caused by Katrina, and its after effects. And now that every part of the country's budget and every expense is being scrutinized, every government program is being put under a microscope and their necessity is being questions.

But when floods are a constant problem and have the potential to cause horrible damage, a government program that helps clean up the wreckage and helps people recover seems to be a fairly necessary concept.

Be Prepared Even Before the Flood Comes

Each year, about 40% to 50% of natural calamities that happens all over the world is caused by floods. Just like earthquakes, floods take away thousands of lives due to the heavy waters, and can even wash away buildings, cars and trucks, and trees are even uprooted. It is apparent just how dangerous a flood can be. This is why disaster preparation is important to be able to survive a life-taking flood.

If you think that your location or the area where you live is prone to floods like houses located near streams or rivers, as well as those on the lower area of a slope and those with canals that are frequently blocked or clogged with garbage. One good tip to avoid experiencing floods would be to live where none of these are present like in higher places, a good drainage system and so on.

Houses located near rivers and dams, as well as those areas that have a poor drainage system and absence of trees are sure to have floods. In a situation like this, it really is important to have some disaster gear on the ready. This should include those flood essentials such as a life vest or a life jacket. Even if the water is still around the level of your ankle or knees, wear it ahead of time because water can increase at a rapid pace. It may be too late if you wear the life vest when the water is too high already.

You also have to prepare clothes that can resist the cold of the rain and the flood. Prepare jackets that can fight off the cold and has good ventilation. Pants or sweats, gloves, caps are also important. Towels are also important to dry yourself off. Protect your feet with boots to keep your feet dry in case you have open wounds that can be a possible entry for infectious organisms.

You also need some food in case you are stuck at the highest peak of your house because help hasn't arrived yet. Pack food that is good for 3 days to a week just in case it will take longer for you to be rescued. Water is also important so don't forget to store bottles of water, as well as foods that are not easily can last for a good number of days like crackers, canned goods and the like. A flood can quickly flush away your life if you are not prepared so make sure that you buy disaster gear beforehand so that you have everything on the ready when the flood strikes.

Friday, November 2, 2012

Flooding Help: Tips on Claiming Compensation From Your Buildings Insurance

The recent floods in the United Kingdom have left many households without a home due to flood damage. Over the past couple of years, the unseasonably high amounts of rainfall that have fallen in the summer months have caused a high level of disruption. In some cases a whole month's rainfall fell in just one day causing a serious amount of damage as river banks burst and torrents of water flooded settlements.

After such a traumatic experience, the unfortunate individuals must try to pick up the pieces and start re-building their lives. The first port of call will be generally the daunting task of approaching the insurance company and submitting an insurance claim. This requires them to provide relevant documents, which might have been destroyed by the flood. However, all is not lost.

Here are some tips on claiming compensation from buildings insurance:

Ensure that you create an organised list of all the items that sustained damage. This may include items lost or damaged within the property but also any structural damage sustained to the property itself.

It is very important to try and keep a photographic record that can be cross referenced with you full list of damages. The more extensive and detailed you can provide, the better your chances of receiving an improved payout from your insurance company.

It is also recommended that you keep the damaged items if possible because they may be required for assessment. In addition, if you can provide any documents that show evidence of purchase like receipts, bank statements or credit card bills, this can be crucial in your claim.

If any of your supporting documents such as title deeds, insurance papers or identity documents have been lost or damaged during the floods, you can always seek additional copies from relevant providers. Buildings Insurance companies will generally give you 180 days time to provide them with all the details. Take enough time you require and insure you have included as much information for the insurance company to carry out their job.

Remember to keep a constant record of any additional costs incurred. This will include anything from having to pay for temporary accommodation, buying new clothes through to any fees incurred in sourcing additional paperwork. Many Buildings Insurance Companies will provide alternative accommodation as a standard part of a flooding policy. It's always important to double check what you are covered before taking action to ensure you are not more out of pocket after this traumatic experience.

Flood damage is never an easy thing to deal with when it generally can cause such severe damage to our homes but this guide should help you take the right steps to overcome this difficult time.