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Louisiana Flood Claims Insurance Dispute Attorneys

Strong advocacy for flood victims in the Gulf Coast, New Orleans and Southeast

If you live in Louisiana, you’re likely no stranger to flood waters. High water from time to time simply comes with the territory of living in our beautiful state. We might be used to it; however, that doesn’t make property damage from floodwaters any easier to deal with. And if your insurance company denies your claim, it just adds insult to injury.

The Louisiana insurance dispute attorneys at Warhurst Law are experienced in handling flood claims and, further, are experienced in dealing with insurance companies. Firm founder Gene Warhurst uses the skills he learned as a former insurance adjuster to investigate, negotiate, or litigate in order to ensure the company honors the terms of your policy. We can help.

How does flood insurance work?

Flood insurance protects your house, and its contents, from damage due to flooding. Although flood insurance isn’t required in Louisiana, if you live in areas considered “high risk,” like along the Mississippi River or the bayou, you can’t get a federally-backed mortgage without it. Our state offers two main options for flood insurance – the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or coverage from a private insurance. Generally, people use NFIP and then a secondary private insurance policy, as property insurance doesn’t provide the same amount of coverage as the NFIP.

The National Flood Insurance Program

The NFIP, run by FEMA, is a federally-funded program providing insurance coverage for damages caused directly by flooding. In insurance coverage terms, a flood means “an excess of water on land that is normally dry, affecting two or more acres of land or two or more properties.” For example, flood insurance wouldn’t cover damages from an overflowing toilet, unless the toilet is overflowing from a sewer backup caused by a natural flood.

The NFIP offers two types of coverage – building, to protect your home, and contents, to protect your belongings. NFIP insurance protection costs about $700 per year.

Building coverage includes:

  • Detached garages
  • Electrical and plumbing systems
  • Foundation walls, anchorage systems, and staircases.
  • Fuel tanks, well water tanks and pumps, and solar energy equipment
  • Furnaces and water heaters
  • Permanently installed cabinets, paneling, and bookcases
  • Permanently installed carpeting
  • Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances like dishwashers
  • Window blinds
Contents coverage includes:

  • Carpets not included in building coverage (e.g., carpet installed over wood floors)
  • Curtains
  • Microwave oven
  • Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
  • Portable and window air conditioners
  • Valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)
  • Washer and dryer

 

Our Case Results

$11 Million Hurricane
Hurricane Katrina property damage of New Orleans apartment complex settled pre-suit.

Katrina Settlement

$2.4 Million Settlement in Commercial Tornado Claim
Warhurst Law secured $2.2 million in additional recovery for a lumber mill damaged in a tornado.

Tornado Claim

$2.226 Million Fire Loss Settlement
Warhurst Law secured more than $2.226 million in additional recovery for a Baptist Church

Fire Loss Settlement

$1.3 Million Car Crash Settlement
Client was in a car accident resulting in severe brain damage.

Car Crash Settlement

$26 Million Hurricane Katrina Settlement
Hurricane Katrina loss of New Orleans Apartment complex previously offered $3 million.

Katrina Settlement

What’s the difference between homeowners insurance and flood insurance in Louisiana?

Your homeowners, property, or business insurance covers any sort of flooding and water damage that either originated inside your home, or fell from the sky. This could be a broken water heater, rain damage from a leaky roof, or a burst pipe. However, homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover any water and flooding damage that originated from outside your property; for example, damage from Hurricane Katrina in New Orleans.

After a federal disaster, home and business owners may be eligible for a low-interest loan from the Small Business Administration (SBA), but these loans must be paid back. NFIP loans do not have to paid back, but they may not be enough for you to rebuild and repair. This is why it’s a smart idea to have a secondary private insurance policy, especially if you live in a high-risk flood zone.

According to insurance.com, federal flood insurance caps between $350,000 and $250,000 for your building and $100,000 for your possessions. If your losses go above these limits, you may find yourself underinsured.

What happens if my insurance company denies my flood claim?

If your insurance company or the NFIP deny your insurance claim, you don’t have to give up. You always have the right to appeal, and having a smart Louisiana insurance dispute attorney on your side can increase your chances of a successful outcome.

If your NFIP claim is denied, FEMA offers an appeals process. Although you aren’t required to have an attorney handle your claim, we recommend consulting with an experienced lawyer if you plan to appeal. According to FEMA, to appeal a denied NFIP claim, you must:

  • Explain the issue in writing
  • Include a copy of the denial letter
  • Provide any supporting documentation, like photos of the flood damage and itemized repair estimates from a contractor
  • File your appeal within 60 days of the date on the denial record
  • Send your appeal request to FEMA, 400 C Street SW, 6th Floor, Washington, D.C. 20472-3010, or FEMA-NFIP-Appeals@fema.dhs.gov. Email appeals are generally processed faster than physically mailed appeals.

If your private insurer denies your flood insurance claim, you also have the right to appeal their decision. Our Louisiana flood insurance dispute attorneys can help you prepare a thorough and detailed appeal. We investigate the reasons behind your denied claim, whether or not that reasoning is valid, and – if necessary – take your insurance company to court if we have to.

Why was my Louisiana flood damage claim denied?

Although your insurance company claims to be your friend, your neighbor, or your helping hand, they’re really just a business trying to make a profit. Avoiding or denying valid claims keeps your premiums in their pockets instead of yours, where they rightly belong. Common reasons insurance companies deny flood claims include:

  • You didn’t apply for insurance soon enough
  • You filed your claim too late
  • The damage occurred to areas of your home not covered by the policy
  • The flood was accompanied by earth movement
  • Your house was damaged before the flood occurred

If your insurance company denied your claim for these reasons, or any reason, our insurance dispute lawyers can help appeal your case.

What is my Louisiana flood zone?

Everyone in our state lives in a flood zone. It’s just a matter of whether the flooding risk where you live is low or high. The higher your risk, the higher level of flood protection you’ll need.

The LSU AgCenter maintains a portal to FEMA’s Louisiana flood maps, so you can find out in what type of flood zone your property is located.

How a flood insurance dispute attorney can help

A flood is one of the most destructive acts Mother Nature can throw at us. Destruction of property is almost guaranteed, and when an insurance company denies your claim, the first thing we do is investigate for bad faith. If you have a valid claim and your insurance company refuses to carry out the terms of the policy, they may be breaking the law – and we’ll do something about it.

Remember, even if you don’t live in a high-risk flood zone, it doesn’t mean your area will never flood. If you need guidance or advice with the terms of your flood insurance policy, give Warhurst Law a call and we can help.

Experienced Louisiana flood insurance dispute attorneys on your side

When you suffer property damage due to floodwaters, it’s in your best interest to consult with an insurance dispute attorney as soon as possible. Whether your flood claim is delayed, denied, or underpaid, the lawyers at Warhurst Law can help. To make an appointment for a consultation, call 251-207-1296 or complete our contact form. We represent clients on the Gulf Coast, New Orleans, and throughout the Southeast.

* Warhurst Law cannot and does not guarantee an outcome to any case.

Text Us251-207-1296