According to FEMA, an alarming 80% of households that were damaged by Hurricane Harvey did not have flood insurance coverage. The reasons for this severe lack of flood insurance can be complicated and attributed to a variety of factors. These include inaccurate floodplains, the high costs of insurance, attitudes that insurance was not necessary, as well as the sheer magnitude of the storm and its unprecedented damages in the area.
Homes and Businesses Outside of Flood Zones Severely Damaged in Hurricane Harvey
Hurricane Harvey was a Category 4 storm responsible for a record 50 inches of rainfall in Houston alone. The intense flooding and wind from the hurricane caused homes and businesses throughout Texas, even those that were not located in designated floodplains, to be severely damaged. Unfortunately, many families were left shocked and overwhelmed by the challenge to rebuild.
Yet, even though the storm was very powerful, issues lie with how data is used to draw flood maps and how residents are informed about the flood risks. As detailed in our past blog post, floodplains are not reliable, and the public is often misinformed about the potential damage that hurricanes can cause. Scientists and government officials alike should work together to improve the accuracy of these assessments to ensure more households and businesses are protected.
Texans Make Difficult Financial Decisions to Not Have Insurance Coverage
In addition to inaccurate floodplains leading Texans to believe their houses were not at risk, and therefore did not need insurance, every day, many homeowners and business owners are forced to make difficult financial decisions. These decisions can directly affect their insurance coverage, and their futures.
The average cost of flood insurance coverage is $600, which can vary depending on risk. In addition to everyday expenses, bills and other insurance policies, this can be very costly. For a family in a flood zone that needs the money to help raise their children or put more food on the table, this can be an incredibly difficult choice.
Policyholders may feel as though they are wasting their money, paying their premiums when they have never needed to make an insurance claim before.
Sadly, this choice could be made before a major storm, which could completely destroy a home. This was a reality for many in high-risk flood zones in Texas as less than 20% of properties in these areas had flood insurance during Hurricane Harvey.
Number of Insurance Policies Increasing in Texas, But Only Temporarily
In the aftermath of the storm, which caused approximately $125 billion in damage, many homeowners and business owners alike have been struggling to rebuild their homes and move on with their lives. Likely in an effort to better prepare for future storms, the number of insurance policies in Houston increased by 18% from July 2017 to May 2018.
Historical data shows that this increase in insurance policies after a major storm is on trend, as Louisiana residents did the same in the aftermath of Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. However, as the years passed, the number of insurance policies dropped, only to increase again after the next major flooding in Baton Rouge and Lafayette, more than a decade later.
The Most Important Takeaway for Texans: Without Insurance, You Can’t Make a Claim
As we near the one-year anniversary of Hurricane Harvey, hopefully, Texans will understand how vital it is to invest in flood insurance in order to protect their homes and businesses.
Although many Texans have been underpaid or denied claims to repair their homes or businesses with flood insurance, leaving many feeling frustrated and defeated, it is still essential to have coverage.
This is because without flood insurance, there are few options to receive assistance, leaving families affected by these tragic natural disasters to deal with the mounting costs of repairs on their own.
However, if your home or business was affected by flooding and you have insurance, you can make an insurance claim. If a claim is denied or underpaid, as has happened to thousands of families affected by Hurricane Harvey, you have the option to contact flood insurance lawyers.
Experienced Flood Insurance Attorneys Work to Help Policyholders Get the Fair Claims They Deserve
Although speaking to a lawyer is not necessary with an insurance claim, once a claim is underpaid or denied, the insurance company alone will not take steps to change it.
If you encounter any issues with your claim in future storms, it’s wise to protect your rights as a policyholder and contact attorneys who are experienced in flood litigation.
These lawyers understand the ins and outs of insurance claims, proof of loss forms and deadlines, and can apply their years of experience to your case. Filling out paperwork correctly and securing supporting documents can be difficult, which is why it is important to reach out to a lawyer immediately after a claim has been denied or underpaid in order to meet strict deadlines.
Experienced flood insurance claims lawyers can start by offering a free case evaluation to inform you about your options, and ultimately work to help you receive the payment that you deserve to move forward with your life. For more information, visit http://hurricaneinsuranceclaims.com/.