Help for homeowners
Special Report: Help for homeowners
Your homeowners insurance does protect you from fire and theft but many weary homeowners will soon learn it does not cover flood damages.
"Flood is only covered by a flood insurance policy issued by the federal government," Frank O'Brien, Property Casualty Insurers Association of America said.
We found here in Essex County only about 5000 people have the federally backed insurance. That's just one out of ten.
"Go and see if you have bought it. Hopefully you have," O'Brien said.
Homeowners who haven't could be paying for clean up out of their own pockets.
So where do you start?
* Call your insurance agent. Even if you don't have flood insurance.
* Some homeowner's policies may cover basement flooding caused by sewer backup or sump pump failure.
* Take pictures of everything and document all the damage.
* Keep receipts for anything you buy and any clean up services you employ.
Whether a damage adjuster is from the feds or your insurance company you need to prove exactly what you lost.
"You want to be able to show the insurance adjuster what you had, what happened to it and why you should be compensated," O'Brien said.
This Red Cross book, also available on line, is full of specific disaster repair instructions: make sure it's safe, rescue valuable items first, protect your home from further damage. All to make sure once the waters recede you aren't faced with another disaster.
"Trying to take on something on your own that you're not ready or skilled in can create more of a disaster and that's the last thing you'd want at this time," Hugh Drummond of the American Red Cross said.
Victims without insurance may eventually get some help from federal disaster aid but it could be awhile before that money actually comes through.
(Copyright (c) 2006 Sunbeam Television Corp. All Rights Reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten or redistributed.)