As you know, our region is still in a state of emergency and there is flooding throughout. Flooding is still a serious threat and there are hazardous conditions across the region. People who are safely sheltered in place should remain there and avoid unnecessary travel. Know that even after the rain ceases, it may take several days before floodwaters completely recede. If you need to seek shelter elsewhere, check here for neighborhood shelter sites and follow these tips for how to make it safely through or around floodwaters. For info on how to support relief efforts, click here.
Today I want to focus on insurance claims for damage done to your home. Everyone who has property damage should begin the process of filing insurance claims ASAP: Carefully document all damage to your property and all of your correspondence with your insurance company. You may have seen various messages circulating on social media that you must file an insurance claim before Friday, September 1 2017 because of a new law that is going into effect. Some of it is accurate and some of it is not. Here is what you need to know:
Yes, a new law is about to go into effect that reduces the leverage that a homeowner has against an insurance company, which makes it easier for companies to deny and delay certain claims. Here are the two main takeaways:
- The new law applies to wind damage claims for private insurance homeowner’s policies, but it does NOT apply to Texas Windstorm Insurance Association policyholders, which provides windstorm insurance in coastal counties.
- The new law does NOT apply to flood damage, which is governed by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Bottom line: If you are a policyholder that will be impacted by this new law based on the information provided above and you have storm damage claims from Hurricane Harvey: You should file your claim prior to September 1, 2017 if at all possible.
- Be sure to provide written notice to your insurance company with the date prominently displayed on the notice and keep a copy of it for your records. Review your policy requirements for providing written notice, including how to file a claim electronically via email or insurance company website. Begin this process as soon as possible.
- If you are unable to file a claim prior to September 1, 2017, you will still be able to do so after that date. The primary difference will be a reduction in penalty interest from 18% to 10% that an insurance company owes you if they fail to fully pay a legitimate claim in a timely manner.
- Please note: If you have water damage in your home that appears to be coming from a leak in the roof or other opening and not from flooding, that is most likely a wind damage claim.
Flood insurance is administered by the NFIP and has strict Proof of Loss procedures. Begin the process ASAP. Be sure to carefully document all damage with photographs and videos as soon you are able to do so. For a detailed step-by-step process on how to file a flood damage claim you can click here or see document below:
I will continue to bring you the accurate information that you need to stay safe and begin the relief and recovery process from Harvey and Houston Flood. I know anxieties are running high and at Precinct One we are doing everything in our power to help people make it through these devastating events. You can count on us to be here every step of the way.