Hurricane Hermine – Flood Damage and Insurance Coverage
As Hurricane Hermine moved through Northern and Central Florida, many Floridians were left to clean up the aftermath. Unlike many hurricanes, Hermine proved to cause more damage by flooding than wind damage. Unfortunately, even with their possessions and homes underwater, many Floridians found their insurance policies left them high and dry.
Though water damage is covered by standard homeowners policies, there are stipulations for how the damage occurred. If water enters a home from the outside through windows or a roof, the water damage will likely be covered. However, water damage caused by rising water such as overflowing streams and rivers, flash floods or water seeping through a basement floor due to ground saturation will likely not be covered by a standard policy.
The harsh truth is this: unless homeowners had a separate flood insurance policy, it is likely their homeowners insurance companies will not cover the water damage caused by Hurricane Hermine.
The Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) manages one of the most recognized flood insurance programs, the National Flood Insurance Program. Created by Congress in 1968, the program allows property owners and renters in participating communities to purchase government-backed insurance protection against losses from flooding.
After a flood, it is important to promptly file a claim with the homeowners insurance company and, if a flood policy is in effect, with the flood insurance company. When filing the claim either by telephone or letter, be prepared to provide the insurance company or companies with information that will be important in their investigation(s), such as:
- Photographs and video of the floodwater levels
- Photographs and video of the damaged possessions and property
- Home inventory of damaged or lost items
Once the claim has been filed, an insurance adjuster will work with the policyholder to calculate the value of the damage and prepare an estimate. Once the policyholder and the adjuster agree to the amount of damages, the insurance company will make the payment.
If the policyholder believes the insurance company is acting in bad faith or has other concerns or questions about flood insurance coverage, a Florida attorney experienced in flood insurance claims can be helpful. Often offering a free consultation, the lawyer, will provide information and answers about consumer rights and pursuing legal action, if necessary.
If you have questions regarding your flood damage or homeowners insurance claim, please feel free to contact our firm. We are Board Certified Civil Trial Lawyers, members of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum, and have substantial experience with handling property insurance claim disputes.