Deputy Commissioner Dan Schwartzer Statement on
the Flooding in Northern Wisconsin
Madison, WI—Wisconsin Deputy Insurance Commissioner Dan Schwartzer expressed concern for the citizens of Douglas County facing overwhelming floods after the county received over eight inches of rain yesterday.
"We won't know the full impact of the storm until later, and we sincerely hope that everyone stays safe," said Schwartzer. "As the next phase unfolds, we know the immediate aftermath of the storm will be stressful and heartbreaking. We also want to let people know that we're here to help."
The City of Superior and Douglas County are currently in a declared State of Emergency with regard to the heavy rainfall and flooding on June 19 and 20, 2012. The city and the county are asking that residents report any flood damage they have suffered to the city's Environmental Services Division at (715) 394-0392 via the city's Web site:
www.ci.superior.wi.us/flooding, or e-mail either:
firstname.lastname@example.org. Please report the following items: Name, location/address, phone number where you can be reached, and the assessment of damage (i.e., depth of basement flooding, home uninhabitable, etc.).
Do homeowner's insurance policies cover flooding?
No. Homeowner's policies do not cover most flooding or seepage through the foundation. You need to purchase separate flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program to protect your home and belongings against flood damage.
Do automobile insurance policies cover flooding?
Yes, if you have purchased comprehensive coverage. If you only have collision coverage, your vehicle is not covered for flooding.
Is sewer backup or sump pump overflow covered under my flood insurance or my homeowner's insurance policy?
Neither flood insurance nor standard homeowner's insurance policies cover damages from sewer backup or sump pump overflow. However, some homeowner's insurance policies have an option to purchase a limited amount of this coverage as an endorsement to the policy. Check your policy or contact your agent or insurance company if you are unsure whether you purchased this coverage.
I have a flood insurance policy or I think my damages might be covered by my homeowner's or automobile insurance, what should I do first?
- Notify your insurance agent or insurance company as soon as possible to begin filing a claim. Make sure you provide a telephone and/or e-mail address where you can be reached. Your insurance company may also have representatives on the scene immediately following a major disaster to speed up the handling of claims.
- Pay attention to local news to find out if state and federal agencies are available on-scene to help with relief efforts.
- Make a detailed list of all damaged or lost personal property. It will help to take photos of the damage. Your adjuster will need evidence of the damage and damaged items. Do not throw out any damaged property without your adjuster's agreement. If local officials require the disposal of damaged items before the insurance company's claims adjuster can inspect the damages, take photos and keep a swatch or other sample of damaged items for the adjuster (e.g., cut swatches from carpeting, curtains, chairs). For more information on completing a home inventory please visit
- Separate damaged items from undamaged items.
- Contact your insurance company again if an adjuster has not been assigned to you within several days.
If my home is flooded, will federal disaster assistance pay for my damage?
No. Federal disaster assistance offers loans to help cover flood damage, not compensation for your losses. Even then, those loans are only available if the President formally declares a disaster. For Federal Emergency Management Agency Disaster Assistance, call 1-800-621-3362.
If I forget to include some items in my claim, can I still get coverage for them?
Unless the insurance company has paid the entire limit of your personal property coverage, you may be entitled to further reimbursement. It is not unusual for an insurance company to reopen a claim for additional payment. However, it is important that you file an accurate claim in a timely fashion.
Will business interruption insurance cover my loss of business due to flooding?
Business interruption coverage compensates you for lost income and certain operating expenses if you are forced to vacate your business because of a loss covered in your policy. You will only receive payments if your property is damaged by a risk or peril covered by the policy language. Most commercial property policies exclude flood coverage. If you bought separate policies for flood or windstorm coverage, ask your agent if these policies include business interruption coverage.
What if my crops are damaged?
If you have multiple peril coverage through the federal government, you will be covered for the loss of crop value as a result of all types of natural disasters, including excessive moisture.
If I am not satisfied with the service that my insurance company has given me, how do I file a complaint with the Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI)?
All complaints should be submitted in writing to OCI. You can file a complaint online via OCI's Web site (oci.wi.gov). Additionally, you can obtain a complaint form by calling 1-800-236-8517, or by printing a form from OCI's Web site. You can mail completed complaint forms and copies of any supporting material to:
Office of the Commissioner of Insurance
P. O. Box 7873
Madison, WI 53707-7873
OCI offers several publications that may help you as you sort through the claims process, including
Settling Property Insurance Claims,
Personal Property Home Inventory, and
Documents and Records—which provides information on who to contact for a list of documents that will need to be replaced if they have been destroyed. All publications are available on our Web site and can also be ordered free from the agency.
Created by the Legislature in 1871, Wisconsin's Office of the Commissioner of Insurance (OCI) was vested with broad powers to ensure that the insurance industry responsibly and adequately met the insurance needs of Wisconsin citizens. Today, OCI's mission is to lead the way in informing and protecting the public and responding to its insurance needs.