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.
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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.