Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services Offers Insurance Tips to Michigan Residents Following Mid-Michigan Flooding
FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE: May 28, 2020
(LANSING, MICH) Following the massive flooding in the Midland area resulting from the breach of the Edenville and Sanford Dams, the Michigan Department of Insurance and Financial Services (DIFS) is providing tips to assist residents when working with insurance companies to file a claim and repair damages.
“The devastating flooding will provide additional challenges for many Michiganders during these already difficult times, so it’s important that residents understand their rights when it comes to homeowners and flood insurance,” said DIFS Director Anita Fox. “Although most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover flood damage, some residents may have flood or other applicable insurance. Residents should carefully review their policies and work with their agents and insurers to see what coverage may be available to them.”
Consumers are encouraged to take the following steps if they suffer water-related damages or a loss:
- Most homeowners and renters insurance policies do not cover flood damage.
- If you have private or federal flood insurance, it will likely cover damage caused by dam failures, but policies will have limitations on coverage. For example, if you purchased contents coverage it will not cover belongings in the basement or other areas below the lowest elevated floor in your home. Additional information on what flood insurance covers is available from FEMA. Check with your agent or insurer to determine coverage for any of your damages. If you need help finding your flood insurance carrier, call the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) Call Center at 877-336-2627.
- To start a claim on your flood insurance policy, contact your insurance agent or your insurance company's toll-free claims number as soon as possible. Keep a record of the time, date, topic, and name of the person you talk to every time you call. Advance payments may be available to assist with repairs or temporary living expenses. For additional tips on how to file your flood insurance claim, review the NFIP Claims Handbook or FEMA’s guide to disaster recovery, both available on floodsmart.gov.
- When you can safely return to the property, take pictures of damage and make temporary repairs to secure your home and property and prevent further damage. It is your responsibility to take reasonable steps to prevent further damage, including to prevent the growth and spread of mold.
- Start making a list of all personal property destroyed or damaged for your insurance company, and report damage to your county Emergency Management Office. Note the approximate date, price, and place of purchase and attach any sales receipts you have. The adjuster will request this information.
- Do not make permanent repairs until your insurance company has inspected the damage. If you do, your claim might be denied. In addition, the insurance company may want to inspect the damaged items, so do not throw anything away.
- Ask your insurance agent or company if your policy covers living expenses until repairs are made to your home. Many homeowners’ policies provide for temporary lodging and meal expenses up to 20% of the insured value of your home.
“Residents should read their insurance policies and contact their agent or insurance company to clarify coverage or for answers to any questions they may have,” said Fox. “In addition, the Department of Insurance and Financial Services’ live call center is available Monday through Friday from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. to answer insurance and financial services questions.”
Additional information on flood insurance is available on the NFIP website.
Anyone with questions or concerns about their insurance coverage may call the DIFS toll-free hotline at 877-999-6442. If you believe your insurance company has not handled your claim properly, file a complaint with the DIFS. They will determine whether your insurance company has followed the Michigan Insurance Code and your policy language in their processing of your claim. For more information, visit Michigan.gov/DIFScomplaints.
The mission of DIFS is to ensure access to safe and secure insurance and financial services fundamental for the opportunity, security and success of Michigan residents, while fostering economic growth and sustainability in both industries. In addition, the Department provides consumer protection, outreach, and financial literacy and education services to Michigan citizens. For more information, visit www.michigan.gov/difs or follow the Department on Facebook, Twitter, or LinkedIn.