Hurricane Matthew Flood Victims Need to Understand the Nuances of Flood Insurance Claims
Hurricane Matthew caused widespread flooding in St. Augustine, Jacksonville and other parts of the coast. For those who have flood insurance, we encourage you to review and pay close attention to your flood policy’s terms and conditions. The policies issued by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) are unique because they fall under a Federal Government program with its own rules and regulations. Keep in mind that many private insurance companies resell and administer the NFIP policies so make sure you confirm if your flood policy falls under this program.
As an example, the NFIP policy requires you to file a proof-of-loss within 60 days of the flood event. In layman terms, you must have figured out your loss and arrived at a sum certain amount to put on a document called a “proof of loss” and have it submitted to the appropriate person handling your claim. Unless this time period (60 Days) is waived by an authorized official of FEMA/NFIP (as was the case with Superstorm Sandy) the claim may be denied in total for failure to comply with the policy terms and conditions.
There are many other conditions and definitions found in these polices you need to be aware of which if violated may void your coverage. If your policy was destroyed or lost, these forms can be viewed on the FEMA/NFIP site. Also, be aware that detailed records are maintained by NFIP regarding any past losses. The details of any of your prior claim(s) will be given to the new flood adjuster and they will determine if prior damages have been repaired before paying for any new claim. A flood certified adjuster will also take serial numbers of any appliances you are claiming and the information will be stored in their records for future loss verification. Pay particular attention to your duties after a loss as outlined in your policy. Also be aware that “coinsurance” provisions (a penalty) may be an issue if you are not insured to value.
If you have Flood Damage and have to use a water restoration dry-out company you need to understand the rules in which FEMA and the National Flood Insurance Programs pays. If not, you may get stuck with a huge bill to pay or a lien on your property. Ever since Superstorm Sandy, these restrictions have become even more onerous. Here are the official FEMA Structural Drying Guidelines.
As always, the professional public insurance adjusters at Tutwiler and Associates are here to help with any property insurance related questions you may have. Please call 800.321.4488 or contact a public adjuster to submit a question to one of our insurance claim experts.