After a severe weather incident causes flooding that leaves your home damaged or even destroyed, you expect that your insurance will take care of the costs. After all, that’s what you pay a premium for, right? However, not all insurance coverage is created equal. If you don’t have the right kind of coverage for water damage, you may not be able to receive a dime in compensation. Worse, even with the right insurance, many insurers will do their best to minimize the amount of your claim, leaving you still on the hook for thousands of dollars’ worth of damage.
The good news is that you are not powerless as a policyholder. Here’s what you need to know about flood insurance, the claims process, and what to do if your claim is undervalued or denied outright by the insurance company.
About Flood Insurance and the NFIP
If you’re a homeowner, it’s likely that you have purchased a homeowner’s insurance policy to protect your home, especially if you still owe money on your mortgage. Most lenders require that you carry coverage for the length of your loan. However, there’s one big catch: standard homeowner’s insurance policies don’t usually cover flood damage. Flood coverage is almost always separate.
If you live in an area that’s at particular risk of flooding (called a Special Hazard Flood Area) your lender may also require you to carry flood insurance, but if it’s not a condition of your loan, you may not be aware that flooding isn’t covered.
In order to secure coverage for flooding, most people use the National Flood Insurance Program, or NFIP. This is a federal program run by FEMA and is supported in many flood-prone communities across the nation. To check for participation in your area, visit the NFIP Community Status Book and choose “Texas” to find your location, or ask your insurance agent for help.
There are two types of NFIP-funded policies; you can choose either or both:
- Coverage for up to $250,000 for your home itself (the physical building).
- Coverage for up to $100,000 for your personal property.
Any further coverage desired beyond these amounts must be purchased separately as excess flood insurance, and may also be required by lenders if the value of the home exceeds NFIP limits.
Reduced or Denied Flood Insurance Claims
Once you have flood insurance and a flood has caused damage to your home, you’ll want to file a claim with your insurer to receive the compensation that you’re owed to rebuild or repair your home. However, there’s one key fact that insurance companies would rather you not think about: insurers don’t make a profit by paying out claims. Many insurers will do everything in their power to reduce the value of your claim, or even deny it entirely.
However, a denial isn’t the end of the road. You are entitled to know the reason for the claim denial, and you should make sure that the reason is one that’s allowed in your insurance contract. Most policies have an appeals process that you can go through, and you may be able to have an unfair claim denial reversed.
You don’t have to go through the appeals process alone, though. If your claim seems suspiciously low or has been denied outright and you think that your insurance company is not upholding its end of the bargain, your best recourse is to contact a law firm with experience handling insurance issues. Your attorney can help you decide on the best course of legal action to get the compensation you’re rightfully owed for the damage to your home.
Get Legal Help With Your Flood Insurance Claim
If you’re having trouble with the insurance company after suffering flood damage, Wayne Wright LLP is here for you. We’ve spent decades fighting for the rights of policyholders against greedy insurance companies, and our experienced attorneys are ready to help you today. To arrange a free, no-obligation consultation with a legal professional, call by phone, send an email on our contact page, or click the live chat box on this page now.