When your home or business is damaged by a flood, you rarely have warning. In fact, most floods occur without any notice, leaving you at a loss for what to do. It’s common for people to feel overwhelmed and confused about where to even begin to restore their property and file a flood claim.

As a result, many people are often caught off guard when it comes to knowing the many details of filing a flood claim in Los Angeles. Flooding can happen anywhere in Los Angeles, usually due to high amounts of rain or due to a water line break. When flood damage strikes, you could be left with hundreds of thousands of dollars in repairs leading to lifelong debt and permanent home damage. Just one inch of flooding in a home can cause more than $25,000 worth of damage, according to FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program.

Anyone can experience a flood. Here are the things you need to know about filing a flood claim in Los Angeles.

How is a Flood Damage Claim Different from a Water Damage Claim?

A flood claim and water damage claim are two very different things. While flood damage involves excess water on land that is considered to be normally dry, water damage occurs before water touches the ground.

Water Damage would involve the following situations:

  • Sudden and accidental leaks that occur in less than 2 weeks
  • Burst pipes
  • Washing machine leaks
  • Refrigerator leaks
  • Garbage disposal leaks
  • Rain and wind together (including hail storms)
  • Slab leaks (slab leaks are sometimes excluded in insurance policies)

Water damage is almost always covered under homeowners insurance. Flood damage is not covered under homeowners insurance. In fact, most people will need to purchase flood insurance separately (although it is not always required), which is commonly done through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or a private insurance group.

What Qualifies as a Flood Claim?

You can file a flood claim when you experience flood damage. Flood damage is when there is an excess of water on land that is considered to be normally dry.

The following situations would likely be considered as flood damage:

  • Damage done due to the overflow of inland or tidal waters
  • Runoff or surface water that accumulates rapidly
  • Mudflow
  • Collapse of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above

For example, damage done to your home by a sewer backup that was a direct cause of a flood would most likely be covered under your flood insurance policy.

Flood damage is not covered when it is caused by landslides, earthquakes, or sinkholes.

When it comes to flood claim payouts from your insurance provider, there are two types of costs: Direct Costs and Indirect Costs. Direct Costs involve damage done due to the overflow of inland or tidal water, runoff or surface waters that builds up quickly, and mudflow. Mudflows are considered to be a river of flowing mud on the land’s surface (this is different from a landslide).

Indirect costs involve expenses that accrued as a result of the flood in the weeks and months following the incident. For example, meals, transportation costs, and loss of personal income fall under this category.

One of the most important things you should know about a flood claim is that flood damage is considered to be completely different from water damage.

Pro Tip: Check Your Insurance Policy

One thing you can do before you experience a flood is check to see what is covered under your insurance policy. Does your insurance policy cover a flood claim? If not, do you have flood insurance? What many people do not realize is that flood damage and water damage are not considered the same thing when it comes to your homeowner’s insurance. If you do experience a flood, you will need to be careful with the specific wording that you use in filing your claim with your insurance provider. This is one reason why it’s important to hire an independent, licensed public adjuster to help you navigate the technical wording of your flood claim in Los Angeles.

To make matters more complicated, many insurance policies for flooding provide two separate types of coverage – Building Coverage and Content Coverage. Building Coverage protects things such as window blinds, electrical systems, permanently installed cabinets and carpets, foundations, walls, and staircases. Content Coverage tends to cover the costs associated with personal belongings, such as clothing, jewelry, artwork and other valuable items.

So even if you do have flood insurance, the specific terms of your policy can make a difference in what damage is actually covered. If you decide to purchase flood insurance, keep in mind there is typically a 30-day wait period before the insurance policy takes effect.

It’s also important to note that insurance covers water damage claims if they are sudden or accidental leaks that typically lasts for up to 14 days. This means if you experience a sudden pipe burst in your home, you’ll need to report the water damage and have proof that the leak lasted for 14 days or less in order to receive coverage.

What If I Can’t Live at Home During the Flood
Restoration Process?

This is a major concern for many flood and water damage victims. Oftentimes when homeowners experience a flood or water damage, they can no longer live in their home while repairs are being done. Some living expenses might be covered under your insurance policy during that time where your home is uninhabitable. This can include things such as meals, laundry, transportation, and pet boarding.

In order to increase your likelihood of having your living expenses covered, you’ll want to:

Determine what your Additional Living Expense (ALE) and Loss of Use Coverage is and how much is covered by your policy. You can find this information on your policy’s declarations page.

Provide your insurance company with a legitimate reason why you cannot live in your home or use your kitchen. For example, if you cannot sleep in your home because your bedroom has extensive damage, your insurance provider might cover your stay at a hotel or other residence.

Save all your receipts for expenses that are a direct result of the flood damage. This can include things such as meals and other living accomodations. It does not include alcoholic drinks.

What To Do If You Experience a Flood

Collect Evidence of Your Flood

When it comes to flood claims, it’s crucial that you document everything. Take photos and videos of the flood damage and make sure to include damage done to the floors. If you find broken pipes, garbage disposals, filtration systems, washing machines, water heaters, or any other devices in your home or building, make sure to hang on to them. Everything can count towards evidence of damage from the flood. Having this type of evidence throughout the claims process will help ensure there are no coverage suspicions from your insurance company.

A plumber’s report is also very important in determining coverage, so it’s recommended to hire a licensed plumber as soon as you notice water damage. Plumbers can determine a timeline of how long the leak has occurred and the exact location. As mentioned, insurance companies will not cover any long-term leaks (leaks that have lasted for more than 14 days). It’s crucial that you bring in a plumber quickly so that they can provide accurate evidence to support your claim.

Contact a Licensed Public Adjuster

Flood claims have a lot of loopholes and insurance providers regularly try not to pay for damages. The earlier in the process you contact a public adjuster, the more we can help you.

This is because when you file your flood claim in Los Angeles, your insurance provider will visit your home or send an expert to inspect. The purpose of their visit is to find out first-hand what the cause of the flood was, how it happened, and what they think needs to be repaired or replaced. Also known as “field scoping,” this process is done in order to prepare an estimated cost of repairs to your insurance company.

These third-party experts who perform the field scoping are commonly contacts of your insurance company. Ultimately, this leaves you with no one on your side to help defend you.

That is where a public adjuster comes in. An independent, licensed public adjuster represents you – the policyholder. Our goal is to make sure you receive a fair payout from the flood damage done to your home or business.

How Excel Adjusters Can Help With Your
Flood Claim or Water Damage Claim

At Excel Adjusters, we will accompany the field insurance adjuster during the field scoping process. We will help you negotiate a fair payout for your flood claim or water damage claim. We are not provided by the insurance company, making us fully independent and able to prioritize your needs. Our goal is to make sure your rights are upheld during the flood claim or water damage process and maximize your payout.

We’ll help to:

Notify Your Insurance Provider

Whichever step of the claims process you are at, it helps tremendously to have a public adjuster speak with your insurance provider on your behalf. You might be wondering, why do I need a public adjuster when I can get my own repair estimates and talk with the insurance company myself? While it’s true that you can go through the claims process alone, dealing with water and flood claims requires in-depth knowledge of insurance policies and home repair. It is almost like speaking a different language. Most homeowners have never filed a water damage or flood claim before or spent any time understanding the intricacies of such claims. It’s also easy to become emotionally involved, since your valuables and livelihood are at stake.

Maximize Your Payouts

As your public adjuster, we do our best to maximize payouts for insurance water damage and flood claims. We know how to speak to insurance carriers to do everything in our power to get you the money you need for your repairs.
Additionally, did you know that most contractors and floor experts are not licensed by the Department of Insurance and are not legally allowed to represent you on your water damage public claim? However as a public adjuster, we are licensed by the state and can provide legal representation for you throughout the water damage and flood claims process.

Guide You Through the Water Damage and Flood Claim Process

As your public adjuster, we will be there during the entire claims process to guide and advise you and negotiate payouts with your insurance company. We’ll also manage and submit any necessary paperwork. We only charge a small percentage based on what we settle for with your insurance. There are no upfront costs for you, making it affordable to get help when you need it.

Assist with Every Stage of Your Water
Damage or Flood Claim

Whether you’re at the beginning of filing a water or flood damage claim in Los
Angeles, or several weeks into the process, we can help.

  • If your insurance company is refusing to cover ALE or Loss of Use expenses, we can
    work with your insurance company in an attempt to get you reimbursed for any living
    costs you incurred in your temporary home.
  • Sometimes insurance companies will try to cut corners in your repairs by doing a
    poor repair job to your floors, hiring cheap damage restoration companies, and failing
    to remove cabinets for drying when the drywall has been damaged. If you are not
    happy with the repair of your hardwood floors, we can help negotiate with your
    insurance company in order to get the “like-for-like” standard outlined in your policy.
    Also known as the “like kind and quality,” if your insurance policy includes these
    terms, you are entitled to receive a payout from your insurance company that covers
    the entire cost to replace items of the same quality as what you previously owned.
    Again, some insurance policies cover replacement costs, while others do not, so each
    situation is unique to your specific policy.
  • If your insurance claim has been denied, we can speak with your insurance
    company and provide evidence and reasoning as to why your water or flood damage
    claim should be covered by your carrier.

If you’ve experienced water
damage and need to file a water
or flood claim in Los Angeles, we
can help.

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