FLOOD INSURANCE ATTORNEY
Navigating Flood Insurance Claims
Flood insurance policies tend to define ‘flooding’ in a narrow way that can exclude some forms of water damage. No matter what your flood insurance policy states, insurance adjusters may try to pay the minimum amount to cover flood damage on your home. In some cases, insurance companies may attempt to deny your flood damage claim.
If your insurance company fights you, do not abandon your flood damage claim. You should talk to a flood insurance attorney to review possible legal remedies to get the compensation you deserve.
Understanding Flood Insurance Coverage
Most flood insurance policies cover direct damage to buildings and personal property from flooding. What caused the damage and its extent may be a point of contention with the insurance company. There also may be questions about whether your homeowner’s or flood insurance policy should cover the damage.
Determining what caused the damage – flood vs. wind, for example – can affect how much you can recover from your insurance company. For instance, homeowners’ policies usually pay for you to live somewhere else while contractors repair your home. Flood insurance does not usually offer loss of use coverage.
In most cases, flood insurance pays for damage to the following:
- Building property coverage: Flood insurance protects your home and foundation as well as the building’s vital systems, such as electrical, plumbing, HVAC, water heater, appliances, carpeting, etc.
- Content coverage: Flood insurance covers your personal belongings, such as furniture, electronics, clothing, curtains, washer and dryer, portable air conditioners, some valuables, etc.
However, the insurance company probably will not cover the following under flood insurance:
- Moisture, mildew, or mold damage that you could have avoided with proper maintenance
- Septic systems, decks, patios, fences, swimming pools, and landscaping
- Valuable documents, precious metals, and currency
- Temporary housing if your property is uninhabitable
- Financial losses due to business interruption
- Damage from water leaks inside the home
Insurance companies stay afloat by collecting maximum premium dollars and paying out as little as possible.
Examples of Flood Damage
A flood may cause terrible damage to your home and make you rush to file a claim. A devastating flood can cause structural damage to the property that makes getting immediate insurance coverage vital.
Common flood damage includes:
- Collapsed ceilings from water retention
- Water damage to the home’s foundation
- Basement wall and floor cracks from water pressure
- Weight-bearing structures that are destroyed or contaminated
In severe cases, flood damage can so damage the home’s structural integrity that it is uninhabitable. The home may need to be demolished and rebuilt.
If the insurance company drags its feet to cover your damages, you can fight for the owed coverage by pursuing legal action.
Floods and Mold Growth
Southern Louisiana experiences plenty of severe weather, including heavy rains and hurricanes. This can lead to harsh flood conditions that can wreck your home or commercial property. Water damage can encourage mold growth, which is hazardous to human health.
In some cases, excessive mold growth can even be life-threatening. But getting large amounts of mold removed in hard-to-reach-areas is expensive and getting that covered can be a challenge.
Also, insurance companies may delay providing coverage after a flood, which can lead to mold growth. If this happens, you may be able to take legal action.
Filing a Flood Insurance Claim
If a flood damages your home, you need to file a flood insurance claim. This process involves having the home inspected by a professional to determine how bad the damage is and what repairs will cost.
Follow these steps to file your claim for best results:
- Talk to your flood insurance company: Call your insurance company and tell them you need to file a flood insurance claim. It may take some time for the adjuster to get to you, but politely insist they get there as soon as possible before the damage worsens.
- Take pictures if you clean up the property: It is not advisable to clean up your property before the adjuster arrives. However, it is critical to take photos and videos of the damage to present to the adjuster if you do so.
- Sign the proof of loss statement: When the insurance adjuster arrives, they will inspect the property for damages and losses. You will need to sign the proof of loss statement. This document describes all the damage your property sustained. It also will contain a list of the personal property damaged in the flood.
After the adjuster determines the extent of the damage and pays the claim, the restoration process begins. Usually, repairing a flood-damaged home includes these steps:
- Extracting water from the carpet, furniture, flooring, and foundation
- Removing all unsalvageable property
- Drying every surface to inhibit mold growth
- Cleaning every surface damaged by flooding
- Replacing or repairing the damaged personal property
If the insurance company will not pay the full amount to repair the home to its pre-incident condition, you may need to take legal action. After you have paid for a flood insurance policy, you should not have to worry about getting all the coverage you paid for.
Contact a Flood Insurance Attorney in New Orleans
When you are recovering from a disastrous flood, the last thing you want is an insurance company dispute. As you restore your property, you will need funds that you thought you were entitled to when you bought flood insurance.
If you are having difficulty with the insurance company, Pandit Law can help. You may qualify for compensation through legal action. For more information, please call Pandit Law today for a complimentary case review.
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701 Poydras Street
New Orleans, LA 70139
Call or Text: 504-313-3800