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Frequently Asked Questions About Flood Insurance Claims

In our FAQ, our experienced policyholder attorneys answer common questions about flood damage, insurance claims, and what to do if a claim is unfairly denied.
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  • How can an attorney help if my flood insurance claim has already been denied?

    If you receive a denial for a flood damage claim, you may assume that there’s nothing to be done but to start budgeting for repairs out of your own pocket. However, you should know that insurance companies are not always fair in how they handle policyholders’ claims, and flood claims are routinely delayed or outright denied. This is especially true when flooding affects a large area and stands to have a major effect on an insurance company’s bottom line.

    While it may not be clear what your rights are as a policyholder when an insurance company acts unfairly in negotiating your flood claim, you can get help. An experienced policyholder attorney can step in and help you fight, even after you’ve received an unfair denial.

    A Flood Claim Denial Isn’t Necessarily the End of the Story

    There are a lot of reasons why a flood insurance claim may be denied. The policyholder has many responsibilities when making a claim, including following the rules and terms of the policy, meeting deadlines, and submitting the correct information in the right way. However, when a claim denial is issued, policyholders may still be able to take action. Sometimes, it’s a simple matter of communicating with the insurance company or going through the appeals process. Sometimes, you need an attorney to help you fight for what your claim is truly worth. Either way, you may not have to take an initial denial as the final word on your flood insurance claim.

    Unfair denials and other hang-ups do happen, and they may happen more often than you think. If you believe your flood insurance claim has been handled unfairly by the insurance company, don’t give up. An experienced attorney can help you maximize your claim and work through insurance claim disputes.

    How an Attorney Can Help Policyholder With Denied Flood Claims

    An attorney who has a wide-range of experience in insurance litigation for flooded properties will be prepared to thoroughly review your existing coverage and determine the reason for the denial. If the denial is unfair, or if you have another dispute with the insurance company over your flood coverage, an attorney can:

    • Help you understand what you’re up against. It can be difficult to understand a flood insurance policy, as well as the special legal rules for flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). While you can fight against insurance companies that act in “bad faith,” it can be hard to do if you don’t understand what your rights are or how to tell if a claim has been unfairly denied. If you’re feeling lost and confused about why your claim was denied, an experienced attorney can help you make sense of your rights and understand what happens next.
       
    • Arrange independent assessments of flood losses. If needed, an attorney can help you get independent assessments of your damage from experts in flood losses. Getting thorough assessments from professionals who know what to look for may help you prove to the insurance company that your losses should be paid.
       
    • Interpret the terms of confusing flood policies. Because flood policies are generally separate from other property insurance coverage, the terms and language can be confusing. Additionally, some types of damage may not be covered by the flood insurance policy, even though mold, basement leaks, and other issues may seem related. If you’re unsure if your flood claim has been unfairly denied, an attorney can help you look at your policy and figure out what your rights and responsibilities are, as well as what that means for your claim.
       
    • Prepare your case to go to litigation. Insurance companies have experience fighting legal action from policyholders, and they have teams of skilled attorneys on their side. If your case needs to move into litigation, it will benefit you greatly to have an experienced attorney on your side who can help you prepare appropriately and fight for your rights.
       
    • Fight for the resolution you deserve. Whether your case moves into litigation or not, an attorney who has experience with insurance disputes can handle the communication with the insurance company, work through difficult negotiations, advocate for a fair resolution, and make sure that your rights are protected at every turn.
       
    • Help mitigate your losses in the meantime. As you wait month after month for an insurance claim to resolve, flood damages can get worse or open your property to other losses. If you’re unsure how to protect your property while your claim is unresolved, an attorney can offer helpful guidance on how to protect against losses without jeopardizing your flood insurance claim.

    It’s up to you to maximize your flood insurance claim and make sure your home, business, or other property can recover effectively. If you need help, contact our law office today at 1-888-614-7730 or use the Live Chat on this page to connect with our experienced attorneys now.

  • What kinds of water damage are covered by my homeowners insurance policy?

    All homeowners insurance policies are different, and the only way that you can know exactly what your contract covers is to read your policy very closely or to call your insurance company and ask. However, many insurance policies are similar when it comes to water damage. Here are a few things you should know and look for:

    • Water damage from flooding. When flooding in your area is responsible for property damage, that damage is almost never covered in your homeowners insurance policy. Instead, it is probably covered by a separate flood insurance policy. However, flood insurance coverage can be very complicated because the some of the consequences of flooding may not be covered by the flood insurance policy. This may mean that you need to submit different claims under each policy to get the full coverage for your losses in a flood.
       
    • Water damage caused by a storm or extreme weather event. Water damage related to hail, tornados, hurricanes, and other weather events is often covered by your home insurance policy. For example, if high winds damage part of your roof and rain damages your property, you may file a claim. However, individual policies may contain limitations, so it’s important to understand your coverage if you plan to file a claim for the damage.
       
    • Water damage caused by burst pipes. While most residential property policies do not cover water damage caused by flooding, most do cover water damage related to other issues, such as frozen or broken water pipes. And, while you probably don’t have coverage to replace the appliance, your policy may also include the sudden water damage caused by malfunctioning appliances, such as washing machines and dishwashers. However, there are also several important exceptions included in most homeowners policies. For example, if your water pipes froze because you did not properly maintain your plumbing, your insurance claim will likely be denied.
       
    • Water damage caused by leaks. Slow leaks are easy to overlook and may be caused by weather-damaged roofs, leaking pipes, dripping appliances, and other issues. While most homeowners policies cover sudden water damage, it can be very difficult to get your losses covered for water damage that has happened over time. Leaks and undetected water damage are generally chalked up to a lack of appropriate maintenance and are probably not covered by your homeowners policy. For example, if you overlook a roof leak or fail to fix a leak under your sink, you may not be able to file a claim to repair your damage. However, there are some exceptions to this general rule, and you should consult your policy if you have questions.
       
    • Water damage caused by backup from a sewer or drain. When a sewer or pipeline backs up into your home, it can cause extensive damage. However, unless you carry additional insurance specifically for sewer backup and similar water issues from outside sources, it is unlikely that your homeowners insurance covers you for this type of water damage. If you’re unsure, you should carefully read your insurance policy or call your insurance company for clarification.

    Remember, too, that you have a responsibility to conduct regular maintenance on your property. If your home suffered water damage because you failed to make timely repairs or perform routine maintenance, you may be forced to pay for repairs out of your own pocket.

    One Important Tip for Water Damage Insurance Claims

    When filing an insurance claim related to a burst pipe, make sure to never to use the word “flooded,” even if you are simply trying to describe the incident and damage. Insurance companies love to deny claims that have anything to do with floodwater—don’t give them the opportunity!

    Water damage is one of the more confusing aspects of homeowners insurance policies—and, all too often, property owners do not know when they should file a claim or whether they were wrongfully denied. An attorney experienced with insurance claim disputes may be able to help you better understand your policy and your claim. If you need help, reach out to the Voss Law Firm today at 1-888-614-7730.

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The Voss Law Firm, P.C. represents clients on a local, national and international basis. We proudly serve companies and individuals along the Gulf Coast and around the globe on a contingency fee basis. Our law firm collects nothing unless we recover on our client's behalf.

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