Flooding is one of the most costly disasters that affect the United States. In fact, the majority of disasters declared by the president are floods or involve heavy flooding in the wake of another disaster. For example, of the 43 major disaster declarations in 2015, 29 of those incidents—more than two-thirds—involved flooding. However, even though serious floods are a fairly common occurrence across the nation, policyholders can still run into major problems in the aftermath that limit their ability to recover and move on.
Damage Caused by Flooding
There is no doubt that floodwaters are destructive. Rising waters are responsible for extensive property damage every year, including losses related to:
- Building interiors
- Exterior features
- Structural damage
- Vehicles and equipment
- Lot and driveway surfaces
- Sewer and water issues
- Mold and post-flood sanitation issues
Flooding is also often responsible for displacing people from their homes, condos, or rental properties for weeks or months at a time, as well as causing short-term business interruption or complete closure of commercial properties.
Despite this destructive power, many people either don’t carry flood insurance at all or don’t understand the limits on their flood coverage. When a flood does strike and they try to submit an insurance claim for the damage, they can run into very serious and unexpected problems.
Potential Issues With Flood Insurance Claims
In insurance claims for flood damage, there are a number of potential problems that can come up, including:
- Potential confusion about flood insurance policies. Most flood insurance policies are separate from the main homeowners’, business, or condo insurance that policyholders rely on. Instead, flood insurance policies are usually through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). In some cases, flood coverage may also be offered as a separate policy through private insurers. Because flood claims are so unlike other common loss claims, it can be very hard for policyholders to even figure when, where, and how to submit a claim for their losses.
- Delays. Delays are common when large areas and numerous properties are affected by flooding. Contractors, insurance adjusters, and others may be overwhelmed by the sudden influx of so many claims, and policyholders can be left twiddling their thumbs while waiting for a resolution.
- Denials. Outright denials of flood coverage can sometimes be an issue, but policyholders can also struggle with problems related to partial denials of specific losses, such as mold damage or repair-versus-replacement costs. Many times, the denials hinge on confusing policy language or misunderstandings about coverage.
- “Hidden” costs and damages related to flooding. Flood damages are often more extensive than they first seem, which makes it even more important that damages are carefully assessed by a professional. If the assessments are rushed, policyholders are likely to accept less than their losses are worth from the insurance company or only find out about the damage when it later worsens.
- Misunderstandings about policyholder rights. Many policyholders are unaware that they have recourse when the insurance company is acting unfairly, so they accept less than their claims are truly worth or try to recover out-of-pocket after an unfair denial of a legitimate flood claim.
If you’ve run into one of these problems, you should know that there is help available. By speaking with an attorney who understands the flood insurance industry and the laws that protect policyholders, you give yourself the best chance to recover and get the most out of the insurance you pay for.
Understanding Time Limits for Property Damage Claims
How long does a policyholder have to file an insurance claim for hail damage? Although it’s a common question, it can be surprisingly difficult to answer. Find out more about the major factors that can affect time limits for filing a property damage claim.
When to Get Help With an Insurance Claim for Flood Damage
Flood claims can become very complex and take months—or even years—to resolve. Although many policyholders expect a straightforward process, many end up overwhelmed and disappointed with complications. An experienced policyholder attorney can help by:
- Analyzing flood losses and policy details
- Working with experts who can offer fair assessments
- Maximizing claims and including all covered losses
- Helping individuals and businesses recover more quickly
- Guiding policyholders through the legal steps that will protect their rights and offer the best chance at a full recovery
- Building strong claims with the potential for litigation in mind
- Representing clients in litigation to secure fair compensation for losses
At the Voss Law Firm, our attorneys are passionate about helping policyholders recover fairly, and we have the skills, experience, and resources to effectively fight denied flood claims. If you need help, or if you have questions about a flood insurance claim that has been denied, delayed, or underpaid, you can learn more today by reaching out to us at 1-888-614-7730.