The current flooding in Houston and surrounding region has devastated residents and business owners.
Up to 17 inches of spring rain that fell in less than 24 hours was responsible for at least 7 fatalities, over 1200 rescues, and property damage to thousands of homes and businesses.
The National Weather Service in Houston may have summed it up the best, describing the flood as a “historic” event and a “worst case scenario.”
After The Flood
For those affected by any flood, it is important to know what to do afterwards.
Do not return to your home or business until the authorities say it is safe to do so. Of course, do not attempt to drive through areas which are still flooded. Even where the flood waters have receded, there may be debris or eroded roadways.
Standard insurance policies do not cover flood damage. If you have purchased flood insurance, it likely will be controlled by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) through the offices of the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA). In most cases, you must file a “proof of loss” within 60 days.
There are steps you can take after a flood to protect your rights to recover a fair insurance settlement:
- Document all property damage and standing water levels with photographs and/or videos.
- Make a list of any damage to your home, business, vehicle and belongings that you can see.
- Move your furniture and belongings out of the water to avoid further damage.
- Open doors and windows, use fans, run the air conditioner, or use a dehumidifier to circulate the air and remove moisture.
Do not throw away any damaged items without first checking with your insurance company. Keep a journal of each contact you have with your insurance company. Make note of when, the person you spoke with, and their response. Your agent will likely send an adjuster to inspect for flood damage. Share the information you have with the adjuster. The adjuster may also find additional damage that you were not aware of.
You Do Have Legal Options
If you feel that the amount offered by the insurance company is not sufficient for the amount of damage, you do have options. One is to get your own estimates of the cost to repair or replace your property. You can also contact an attorney for legal advice on how to proceed. Do not sign anything from the insurance company until you are satisfied with the amount.
If you have questions concerning your flood insurance claim, the experienced lawyers at D. Miller & Associates, PLLC are available to help. They can answer your questions, advise you on your rights, and communicate with your insurance company. We have years of experience getting the insurance settlements our clients deserve. It is easy to contact us for your free initial consultation. You have already suffered enough loss and damage because of the flooding. You don’t need to suffer from an unfair insurance settlement offer!