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If your home has been flooded by the devastating floodwaters brought to Houston and the surrounding areas by Hurricane Harvey, there are several steps that you must take to make a claim on your flood insurance with your insurance company. Please note that your homeowner’s insurance will NOT cover flood damage caused by floodwater. If your home has been damaged due to wind and/or rain (e.g., via roof damage), then you will file your claim under your homeowner’s policy. Nevertheless, damage due to flood water cannot be filed under your homeowner’s policy and must be filed according to the following steps:

Step One: File a written claim that reports your loss with the insurance carrier from which you bought your flood insurance by August 31, 2017. Make sure that you keep a dated copy of your filing. The copy will serve as proof of filing in case a dispute over whether you filed arises.

· From there, you will be assigned an adjuster who will handle your claim on the insurance side.

· Your carrier will assign an adjuster to inspect your damaged property and/or documentation and then provide you with an estimate of the covered flood damage.

Step Two: Make sure that you have documented all of the damage caused by the floodwaters. This includes photographs, written accounts of damaged property (including value and date of purchase), contractor repair estimates, and receipts of and from the property damage. This will have to be submitted to your insurance carrier.

· Photograph damage to the interior of buildings. Do not wait for an adjuster to come look at the property before you start to clean up your property.

· There will be countless claims made to your insurance carrier in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. Waiting for an adjuster may cause more damage to your property and may create a hazardous environment for you and/or others who cohabitate the property.

Step Three: You must file a sworn Proof of Loss form with FEMA within 60 days of the flood event; this is a strict deadline, unless otherwise extended by FEMA.

· The Proof of Loss is your sworn statement of the amount claimed, date and explanation of loss, details (including inventory) of the damaged property, and information about any lienholders relevant to the damaged property.

· The Proof of Loss is a difficult and tedious document to fill out; several of these documents are rejected for being incomplete.

· To ensure that your document will not be rejected, have a competent attorney (one who is specialized in first-party issues) review and/or draft the Proof of Loss prior to filing with FEMA.

· In addition, depending on your policy, you may also have to file a detailed repair estimate and an inventory of damaged personal property with your insurance carrier.

In addition, you may be able to apply for disaster assistance from FEMA either online or by telephone. You have 60 days from the date of a federal disaster declaration (August 25, 2017 for Hurricane Harvey) to apply for Individual Assistance. For more information regarding Individual Assistance, please visit FEMA’s website at the link below.

Relevant Links:

FEMA – Applying for Disaster Assistance: https://www.disasterassistance.gov

FEMA – Information Regarding Applying for Assistance: https://www.fema.gov/apply-assistance

FEMA – Individual Disaster Assistance: https://www.fema.gov/individual-disaster-assistance

FEMA – How to File a Flood Claim: https://www.fema.gov/nfip-file-your-claim

FEMA – Detailed Steps to Filing a Claim: https://www.fema.gov/media-library-data/1454965506940-fabb104bfd871fd94e3c6ce5e3d59e19/NFIP_Flood_Claim_Process.pdf

Texas Department of Insurance – Help After Harvey: http://www.tdi.texas.gov/consumer/storms/helpafterharvey.html


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