The first person to call if your house is flooding is either a plumber or first responder, depending upon the water source and the degree or source of the flooding. If the flooding is due to a broken water pipe, contact a plumber immediately. If the flooding is due to a natural disaster, you may need help evacuating. In the latter situation, making a call to 911 is imperative.
No matter the source of the flooding, an immediate response is essential for safety and protecting your property. Contacting your insurance company is another important step. If you find your insurance company is unresponsive or failing to honor your policy, a lawyer can help.
Flood Damage and Homeowners Insurance
Depending on the type of flood, your home may never be the same. Extensive water damage can leave your home uninhabitable and in need of costly repairs. You must stop the flood of water, air out the home, and document any damage before repairs can take place.
Your homeowners’ insurance policy may not cover flood damage. However, the Federal Emergency Management Administration (FEMA) reports that flood insurance is available via the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Appealing or filing a suit regarding a denial of coverage is an option under federal law. Still, you should be aware that you have a limited amount of time to act, according to Florida’s statute of limitations, and you must file your case in the district where the damage occurred.
Documenting Your Flood Damage
It is critical that you collect proof of your flood damage. Before you clean up the damage, document your losses inside and outside of your property. Take before-and-after photos, video footage, and written notes to show what areas need repair or replacement. You may also want to record serial numbers for large appliances or electronics.
We advise that you keep track of all receipts and invoices you have that show estimates you received, repair costs, and what you spent on materials and replacement items. You should also log all emails, text messages, and phone calls to show correspondence, including who you talked to and when.
Some people opt to work with a lawyer during the flood documentation process. Having an attorney on board can ensure you document your losses correctly. They can also ensure you fill out your Proof of Loss forms correctly before submitting them to an insurance company.
Report Your Damage Promptly to Your Insurer
Review your insurance policy first so that you know what is covered and how much coverage you have. Then, contact your insurance company to notify them of the damage your property has sustained. Do this as soon as possible.
The timeliness of your filing could be a factor in how your insurer will handle your claim. You likely will have to fill out a Proof of Loss form by a specific time. This document is an official declaration of what the flood damaged or destroyed. You must fill this document out thoroughly, or it could delay or derail your claim.
An insurance adjuster will be assigned to come out and inspect your property for damage. They will then inform you about how to communicate your losses to your insurance company. You can ask them about your next steps at that point, as well.
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What to Do If Your Claim Is Rejected
Discovering that your years of paying premiums have left you without the support you need when you need it is devastating. Sometimes, your documentation is not enough to convince the insurer to issue the compensation you need to cover your flood losses. If your insurer denies your compensation claim, you could appeal the decision, and a lawyer can help.
Securing legal representation can help you hold your insurance company accountable for the policy they sold to you. An attorney can review your insurance policy coverage and the insurer’s written denial letter to get insight into the matter and explain why your claim was denied.
After their review, they can help you correct any errors or submit more evidence that supports your position (if it’s available and required). Such evidence can include witness testimony, an independent party’s professional opinion, and other items your lawyer thinks could support your claim.
Your Lawyer Can Help You Appeal the Insurer’s Decision
An attorney can prepare and file your appeal for you, giving you your time back to take care of other matters while they handle your claim. Property claim attorneys will use their experience to protect your interests while seeking the recovery you need to repair flood damage to your property. They can advise you on whether a lawsuit is the next step in your case.
Mediation Could Help You Resolve a Dispute Flood Claim
Not all disputed claims need to head to court. Some claimants attend a mediation session to try to come to an agreement with their insurer. An attorney can discuss this option with you. They also can represent you in mediation with your insurer.
Your lawyer can explain more about how mediation works. In general, a neutral party oversees the session as both sides work out their differences. You are not required to accept any proposed agreements. Your attorney will tell you what you’re facing by either accepting or rejecting the proposed outcome. No agreement is legally binding until both sides sign off on it.
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How the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine Can Help You
Dealing with the aftermath of a flood is stressful enough. When you call your insurance company after a house flood, and it fails to honor your policy, it is not fair. You have enough to deal with without the added stress of fighting your insurance company. A law firm can take on tasks like this on your behalf while you rebuild your life post-flooding.
Insurance companies must act in good faith when it comes to fulfilling the legal and contractual terms of your homeowners’ policy. If your insurance company purposely misled you or was dishonest regarding your policy coverage, you deserve justice. Our team will fight for the compensation you deserve while compassionately keeping you updated at every stage of the case. We keep you informed throughout the process, so you never have to wonder about the status of your case.
Call Us for a Free Consultation Today
If you experienced significant covered losses after your home flooded and your insurance company is denying or delaying payment, protect your best interests. We offer free case evaluations, and we work on a contingency-fee basis – there is no fee unless we secure compensation for you. Call the Law Offices of Anidjar & Levine now at 1-800-747-3733.
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