FLOOD DAMAGE

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Flood Damage

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Texas experiences approximately 400 floods per year. For those unfortunate enough to have their homes affected, catastrophic damage and even death or injury can occur. Despite the high risk of flooding in Texas, flood insurance is not required for property owners whose property is outside a designated high-risk area.

You may assume that your homeowners insurance policy will cover the damage if your home is in a flood. Unfortunately, many homeowners’ policies do not cover flooding. The exception to this is if a supplemental policy has been purchased from a private insurer or through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Every year, many Texans are left to foot the bill when their homes flood. When a claim is denied or underpaid, you may need to consult with an experienced flood damage lawyer to get the compensation you deserve. At the Law Offices of Colby Lewis, we understand the devastating effects of floods and can help you get paid fully for your claim. Here, we take a closer look at flooding in Texas homes and let you know what you can do to protect yourself and your home.

Flooding Overview

Flooding refers to water that enters your home from an external source. Examples include:

  • Heavy rain
  • Storm surges
  • Overflowing bodies of water
  • Other flooding events

With it, flooding can bring severe damage to your home, including:

  • Structural damage
  • Interior damage
  • Water damage
  • Mold
  • Damage to personal belongings
In theory, the more extensive the damage is, the higher the payout from your insurance company.

Flooding Insurance Coverage

If you do have flooding insurance, it covers a broad range of damages to your home. Coverage may include:

  • Building property damage
  • Personal property coverage
  • Cleanup and removal
  • Temporary housing costs
  • Basement coverage

Typically, flood insurance does not cover damage caused by sewer backups or seepage through the foundation.

Building Property Damage

Sometimes flood damage is so severe that it actually threatens the integrity of your home itself. Included in building property damage protections are structural damages to the foundation, walls, floors, roof, electrical and plumbing systems, built-in appliances and central air conditioning systems. Any one of these can make the home inhabitable and put homeowners and their families at risk of injury or death.

Personal Property Damage

Floods can also ruin personal property. The personal property protections in a flood insurance policy cover furniture, clothing, electronics, removable appliances, and other items in your home. While not as serious as structural damage, the cost of replacing or repairing the large amount of personal property items in one’s homes can be astronomical if not covered by insurance.

Cleanup and Removal

With the goal of flood insurance being protecting you and the things you own from loss or damage, cleanup and removal are an essential part. This requires the help of experts who can clear out debris in your home and help facilitate the water in your home drying up. Without flood insurance, the cost of cleanup and removal can be significant, making a catastrophic event even worse.

Temporary Housing Costs

In some instances, flood damage is so severe that a homeowner and their family may be forced to temporarily relocate. When this happens, flood insurance can help you cover the additional living expenses you have including meals and hotel stays. While no temporary accommodations can replace your home, having a safe place to stay is paramount especially when there is structural damage to the home.

Basement Coverage

Depending on the policy, certain items in your basement may be covered in the event of a flood. Furnaces, water heaters and utility connections can all be subject to this type of policy. To find out whether your policy includes basement coverage, review your policy or contact your insurance company.

Flood Insurance Claim Denials

Not all flood insurance claims are approved. Some of the most common reasons for flood damage insurance claim denial include:

  • Policy exclusions
  • Insufficient documentation
  • Late reporting
  • Policy lapses
  • Misrepresentation
  • Non-compliance
  • Property maintenance
  • Coverage limits
  • Pre-existing damage
  • Waiting periods
  • Flood zone errors

Policy Exclusions

Unfortunately, not every flood insurance policy covers every type of flooding damage. The particulars of your policy will dictate what type of coverage you have. Your insurance agent or an experienced flood claims lawyer can help you determine whether your policy is inclusive of your particular damages.

Insufficient Documentation

To establish a valid insurance claim, the policyholder needs to supply the insurance company with proof of damage. This proof can take the form of photos, video, receipts or damage records. Failure to supply sufficient evidence of damage can cause your claim to be denied.

Late Reporting

Informing your insurance company of damage promptly is crucial to having your policy cover your flood damage. Once it is safe to do so, you should call your insurance company immediately. Denial of your claim can occur if you wait too long to report the flooding event through the proper channels.

Policy Lapses

For your insurance policy to pay out, your policy must be active and in good standing. Lapses in policy coverage can cause claim denials. When your insurance has lapsed, you are left to foot the bill for costly repairs.

Misrepresentation

To recover under your policy, the policyholder has the duty to tell the truth about the flooding event. Providing inaccurate information is one major cause of claim denials. To prevent this from happening to your family, make sure to keep all pertinent documentation such as quotes from third parties for repairs.

Non-compliance

Policyholders have the responsibility to comply with policy requirements. One such requirement your policy may include is that you have to take reasonable measures to mitigate the damages. This can include actions such as securing your property from further damage and promptly reporting the damage to your insurance company.

Property Maintenance

An insurance company may deny your claim because of failure to properly maintain your property prior to the flooding event. If failure to maintain your property was a factor in the damage to your home, you may be on the hook for repairs.

Coverage limits

Like other insurance policies, flood insurance has limits. If your claim is valued beyond what your coverage will pay, your claim may be denied. If you think this denial is in error, consult an experienced flood insurance claim lawyer.

Pre-Existing Damage

Sometimes a flood will only exacerbate existing damage to your home. If there are conditions to your home that existed before the flooding occurred, your insurance policy will likely deny your claim.

Waiting Periods

Policies also have waiting periods. It’s important to abide by any waiting period requirement. Failure to do so can result in a denied claim.

Flood Zone Errors

When taking out your policy, it’s important to properly identify the flood zone your home is located in. By misidentifying the flood zone, your policy claim may be denied.

Protect your home and your family with the Law Offices of Colby Lewis

If you believe that your flood insurance claim was denied in error, contact an experienced flood insurance lawyer at the Law Offices of Colby Lewis to evaluate your case for possible legal action.