Appealing a flood insurance claim can feel like a bit of a headache; after all, the entire point of insurance is to cover your assets when they’re damaged or ruined. But appealing a flood insurance claim isn’t as tricky or fruitless as you might think.
To get started, take the following steps:
Documenting your damage is among the most important things you can do when dealing with flood insurance. Before fixing or replacing any item, no matter how big or small, take pictures or videos to show the harm that item sustained. You might also look at old photographs to show proof of the item’s original condition. Documentation is a vital step whether or not your claim is denied.
Talk to Your Insurance Company
In the event of a denial, go to the source: contact your insurer to see why they refused payment (or paid less than you believe you’re owed). Insurance adjusters, just like everyone else, aren’t immune to mistakes and it’s always possible that another look can remedy your situation. If it’s clear that no errors were made, your point of contact can help you understand your policy, thus helping you understand what to do next.
Turn to FEMA
If your claim is denied or underpaid and your insurance isn’t offering a solution, consider filing an appeal with the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), which oversees the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Once FEMA is involved, they will get information from you, as well as your insurer regarding the flood, the damage sustained, and your policy. They will then provide you with a decision regarding your appeal. Filing an appeal is free of charge; however, you must file it within 60 days of your claim’s denial.
Get an Appraisal
If you file an appeal with FEMA, you can’t get an appraisal (and vice versa). But an appraisal is a viable option if you prefer to go this route. An appraisal is especially effective if you and your insurer both agree that an item was damaged but disagree on the value of that item.
Pursue a Lawsuit
If none of the above resolves your situation, consider pursuing a lawsuit against your insurer. This must be filed within one year of their denial letter. You can file a lawsuit even after you’ve filed an appeal with FEMA, but this does not affect the one-year deadline. Filing a lawsuit also negates your appeal with FEMA.
If your flood insurance claim is denied, there are several options available to you, and our team of property claims attorneys can help. We understand how frustrating it can be to have a claim denied, so we’re committed to making sure your insurance company holds up its end of your agreement. We see every case through to timely payment.