7951 E. Maplewood Avenue, Suite 110
Greenwood Village, Colorado 80111
Serving Colorado, New Mexico, Utah & Wyoming
Carole Walker, Executive Director
303-790-0216 or toll free 800-355-9524
Flash Floods Are Dangerous AND Damaging: Insurance Advice for Colorado Drivers & Homeowners
September 12, 2013 – Relentless rains causing flash flooding from Boulder and Fort Collins through the Denver Metro area are not only dangerous, but will leave many people with flooded vehicles and homes. One of the most important messages is to put safety first by staying off the road if possible, and do NOT drive through standing water. If you have a sump pump in your home make sure it is running.
Your car is covered for flood damage if you purchase optional "comprehensive" coverage. Flood insurance is not covered under a standard homeowners or renter's insurance policy, but it can be purchased through your insurance agent or company representative. Flood insurance must be in place 30 days in advance of the flood.
"Flooding can cause total damage to vehicles in water past the wheel wells," says Carole Walker, Executive Director of the Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association. "Flood damage to property will be covered if you carry a separate flood insurance policy. Homeowners and renters also need a separate flood insurance policy for damage to their personal belongings. If you have sewer back-up damage that is covered if you purchased an endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy."
This is a wake-up call that homeowners, renters and businesses need to at least consider purchasing additional flood coverage. Flooding is the most common natural disaster in the U.S. and during the past 10 years, the average flood claim has amounted to over $33,000. Flood insurance is covered through policies purchased and handled through FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Links to more information on flooding and flood insurance:
DURING THE FLOOD
- Do not try to drive over a flooded road. If the vehicle stalls, you and the vehicle may be swept away.
- Abandon a stalled vehicle immediately.
- Avoid traveling at night, when flood dangers are more difficult to recognize.
FILING AN AUTO INSURANCE CLAIM
- Phone your insurance agent or company representative. Ask how to proceed and what forms or documents will be needed to support your claim. Your company may require a "proof of loss" form, as well as documents relating to your claim, such as medical and auto repair bills and a copy of the police report.
- Insurance consumers make their own choice when selecting an auto body repair shop to fix their car. Many states, including Colorado, have laws that prohibit steering to specific repair shops.
- Make sure you hire an auto body shop that provides guarantees and specific timelines on repairs. Your insurance policy has certain limits and deductibles, so find out settlement amounts before you sign off on repair costs. If you don't know where to take your vehicle to be fixed, most insurance companies will provide you with a list of repair shops that are backed by repair and labor guarantees.
- If you need to rent a car while your vehicle is being repaired that will be covered if you have car rental coverage under your auto policy, but there are policy time and payment limits that you should be aware of.
For more consumer information on insurance topics, logon to www.rmiia.org.
Rocky Mountain Insurance Information Association is a non-profit consumer information organization. Affiliated with the Insurance Information Institute, RMIIA has been serving consumers and the media since 1952.