I lost everything in a hurricane. What does my flood policy cover?
A standard residential flood policy covers up to $250,000 for the structure of the home, $500,000 for the structure of a commercial building, and $100,000 for personal contents. Structural damages are calculated using either replacement cost, that pays the amount needed to rebuild or repair the home to the condition it was in prior to the flooding, or actual cash value, which will only pay for the replacement cost less the depreciation.
Whether your policy is a replacement or actual cash value depends on the value of your home and the size of your insurance policy. Damages to personal possessions are calculated using actual cash value. This means the older the possessions are, the less value the homeowner will be able to recover. Excess flood policies to cover damages in excess of $250,000 in structural damage and $100,000 in damages to personal property are available.
Why should I hire an attorney to help with my property loss insurance claim?
Many people feel that they can handle the insurance claims process on their own, but understanding the full terms, coverages, and contractual obligations of a lengthy insurance policy is difficult. There are many exclusions and deadlines that come into play, which an experienced property loss attorney can identify and help you to understand and resolve. For many commercial and residential policyholders, this is an incredibly stressful time, and an experienced lawyer will fight to recover the legitimate, full value of your losses under your insurance policy.
If worse comes to worse, and you cannot get your insurance company to see reason by yourself, the insurance policy leaves you with very few options to assert your rights. Your insurance company may give you no other choice but to file a lawsuit. Time is of the essence in making these decisions, as your insurance policy has deadlines and limits for asserting your rights. Call an experienced insurance lawyer at Long & Long to talk about your options before it’s too late.
Are there deadlines to appealing my flood claim?
Yes. Under a standard flood insurance policy, there is normally a 60-day deadline to file a proof of loss. FEMA has extended this proof of loss deadline for Hurricane Harvey victims for 1 year. It is absolutely critical that a Hurricane Harvey flood victim complete and submit an accurate proof of loss according to FEMA’s strict rules and requirements by that deadline.
A standard flood insurance policy and many typical homeowner’s policies also have 1-year deadlines that can prevent you from preserving your right to getting the insurance money you deserve. When dealing with devastating loss of home and property, and the financial and emotional stresses that come along with it, keeping track of time can be tough and deadlines can be hard to meet. Call an experienced insurance lawyer at Long & Long to talk about your options before it’s too late.
How Important is completing my own proof of loss for my flood claim?
It is the most important part of your claim. In fact, it is so critical that without a proof of loss you are likely forever barred from receiving additional insurance money. While the initial proof of loss requirement might be waived by FEMA in some cases, a proof of loss that complies with FEMA’s rules must be completed and submitted in order to receive any additional money from your insurance company.
FEMA’s rules regarding the proof of loss are complex and strictly enforced. You must use the FEMA Proof of Loss form, and provide the specific information and supporting documentation required. The proof of loss must be signed under penalty of perjury and must be supported by, among other things, a detailed, line item damage estimate to support the amount claimed in the proof of loss. It is up to you, the policyholder, to present and prove your loss to the insurance company.
It is essential that your proof of loss form is filled out correctly, per FEMA guidelines, and that you attach your own expert report. Do not think that simply attaching a contractor’s estimate will get you the recovery you deserve. At Long & Long, we have the experts and the expertise needed to complete your proof of loss. You don’t have to do it alone. We can help.
Will my insurance company be fair with me?
Profit-motivated insurance companies want to undervalue and underpay you on your claim. Flood insurance companies and their adjusters are driven to low-ball you on your damage estimate to avoid scrutiny by federal agencies. From the moment disaster strikes your home and property, you are subject to complex rules and deadlines that put policyholders at a serious disadvantage.
If your insurance company does not pay you enough to cover your property loss, the experienced lawyers at Long & Long, will help you stand up for your rights and take back control of your claim. We will hold insurance companies accountable for unfair or fraudulent conduct.
Will Long & Long insurance attorneys send out their own professional adjusters to my commercial or residential property?
Absolutely. Our highly trained, certified adjusters will evaluate the true value of your claim, and conduct a comprehensive assessment of your losses in full. This is submitted to your insurance company, to be negotiated by one of our experienced flood insurance lawyers who is 100% working for you.
What if I cannot afford an attorney?
The insurance claims attorneys of Long & Long work on a contingency basis, which means we do not get paid unless you do. If we have to incur any court costs or expenses in the pursuit of your claim, we only get reimbursed if we are successful in getting you additional insurance proceeds.
If a hurricane has caused severe damage to your home or business, you have a limited time to file an insurance claim. Contact the disaster relief attorneys at Long & Long today for your free consultation.
Call 713-863-0333 today or fill out the form below for a no-cost consultation with an experienced insurance claims attorney.