Hurricane Harvey Flooding in Biloxi, MS: What Homeowners Need to Know
Hurricane Harvey pounded the Houston, TX area in late August 2017 and rains from the storm have impacted residents in Biloxi, MS as well. Local ABC affiliate WLOX recently reported on how many people in the area are reminded of the casualties and catastrophic damage caused by Hurricane Katrina 12 years earlier, especially the devastating floods. Unfortunately, many Mississippi homeowners suffered not once in the flooding – but twice, as their flood insurance claims were denied by insurers. Attorney Judy Guice fought the insurance dispute claims all the way to the state Supreme Court, winning payouts for policyholders across the Gulf Coast region in the case of Corban v. USAA.
While not a guarantee of coverage in a flood insurance case, protecting your rights in these matters starts with these steps to properly filing your claim.
Review Your Homeowners Policy Regarding Flood Damage
Not all homeowners insurance policies include protection from floods, so you should first check the details of your provisions to make sure you’re covered. Review the information carefully for any exceptions and note any deadlines for filing a claim. If you just recently procured flood insurance, keep in mind that it takes 30 days for the policy to take effect.
File an Official Claim Under Flood Insurance Provisions
As soon as possible after sustaining flood damage, contact your insurance company to notify them of your claim. You’ll be asked to provide your name and contact information, and be sure to have your policy number handy. An adjuster should give you exact instructions and tell you the forms you’ll need to submit.
You won’t need an exhaustive list of losses and evidence during this initial conversation, but you should begin to document all damage to your home. Take pictures of all damaged property, including your personal belongings, furniture, and household items. Also, capture images of the standing floodwater levels. Itemize all damaged or lost items, and note the date of purchase and current value.
It is also a good idea to annually take photos of your home and possessions. This way, in the event you suffer a loss to your home via flood or fire, you have photographs to help you in constructing your list of losses.
Prepare a Proof of Loss Statement
You’ll need to draft a sworn statement of the amount you’re requesting, along with documentation and pictures, to support your official claim for damages. Your insurance company can provide a form for this Proof of Loss Statement. After receiving the signed document, your insurer will review the claim information. It’s possible that the agent will issue a payout, but there may be a dispute over the claim amount or supporting information.
Talk to a Biloxi Attorney About Homeowners’ Rights in Flood Insurance Disputes
You pay your homeowners insurance premiums to gain peace of mind when a disaster hits, so you have certain expectations from your provider if flooding from a major storm causes catastrophic damage. A recent Mississippi Supreme Court decision requires insurers to uphold their end of the bargain: If your claim is denied for bad faith reasons, you may have a cause of action to force a payout. The legal team at the Law Offices of Judy Guice has experience fighting on behalf of policyholders in the case of Corban v. USAA, and our lawyers can help you, too. Please contact our Biloxi, MS office today to schedule a free initial consultation.