What to do if you have damage

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As the floodwaters throughout Webster Parish begin to recede and homeowners begin to assess the damage, Farm Bureau Insurance Agent Clay Johnson says they need to get a claim started as soon as possible.

“The first thing they need to do is contact their insurance carrier and report any possible damage,” he said. “If they think they have damage, they definitely need to report it.”

When it comes to flooding, he says having documentation depends on the type of damage a homeowner or business owner has incurred. However, he made it clear that if a flood has occurred, the only way damage would be covered under their policy is if they have flood insurance.

He explained flood insurance is under a different carrier than regular homeowner insurance.

“Regular home policies don’t provide coverage for rising water,” he said. “This is what flood insurance that’s provided through the National Flood Insurance Program is for. Your regular homeowner policies provide coverage for fire, wind, hail, tornadoes, theft and things of that nature – even pipes bursting. But any type of flood damage is covered when someone has a flood policy.”

Johnson says many mortgage companies will require a business or a homeowner to carry flood insurance if they live in a low-lying area or a flood zone; in fact, mortgage holders won’t loan the money unless the borrower buys flood insurance.

Homeowners or business owners have the option to buy flood insurance no matter where they live or have their place of business. However, he says, in cases like the last few days, homes are flooded that are not considered to be in a flood zone.

The entire State of Louisiana is now under a state of emergency, Sen. Ryan Gatti, District 36, said.

“This is a statewide flooding event,” he said.

As of press time, Gatti says disaster relief aid in terms of funding is unknown at this time, but the Louisiana Army National Guard as well as all the state’s resources are available to local departments.

Webster Parish Sheriff Gary Sexton agreed that disaster relief aid is unknown at this time, even though the state is under a declaration of a state of emergency; he says homeowners need to keep up with damages to their home.

“I don’t know what kind of financial aid we’re going to get right now,” he said. “If people have damage, they need to keep up with that and their receipts and if we qualify for federal or state monies, that will be in the future.”

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