Many Homeowners Unknowingly Lack Flood Insurance

J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo
Founder of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A.

Recent serious flooding in St. George has caused extensive damage to private residences and apartment complexes.  Many of these homeowners believed that they were covered in the event of flood damage because they purchased homeowners insurance to cover storm damage.  While water penetration often is caused by a serious rain storm or hurricane, flooding is a special form of hazard that is not covered by a standard homeowners policy.  Florida residents need to be careful to avoid learning the hard way that flood damage must be covered by special insurance.  Many homeowners currently experiencing flooding in St. George are panicked because they have discovered that they are personally responsible for the devastating financial loss to their home and property.

An insurance broker interviewed by a media source indicated that most homeowners are unaware that flood insurance even exist. The broker indicated he has been in business for over twenty years.  He estimates that only about two percent of homeowners purchase flood insurance.  In the same article, an insurance agent for AAA indicated that he believed the two percent estimate is on the high side.  The AAA agent suggested the percentage of homeowners with flood coverage is closer to one percent. 

A homeowner interviewed by the news service provided a telling account of the hardships that can confront homeowners who do not realize they lack flood insurance.  She indicated that both her home and yard were damaged by the flooding.  The homeowner estimated that her home, which she has owed for 17 years, suffered damage in the amount of $100,000.  She indicated that they had to rip out all of the carpeting in the home and that her swimming pool was filled with red mud.  This unfortunate homeowner is now living with her husband and two children in a fifth wheel trailer while hoping to find a way to repair their home.

Many people do not carry flood insurance because mortgage lenders do not require this form of coverage unless a home is located in a flood zone.   Homes will more likely be in a flood zone if the area has limited or no drainage infrastructure, or the home is located in close proximity to a lake or river.  Homeowners that do not live in a flood zone might only need to pay $300-400 for flood coverage.  Some people not located in flood zones decide not to obtain flood insurance because they mistakenly assume that FEMA will provide assistance if they are the victim of a severe storm or hurricane that causes flooding.

When a homeowner suffers flood damage, it is important to have a professional cleaning service repair the damage.  While a homeowner might be able to tear out carpet, professionals will have equipment that detects moisture in the walls or subflooring.  If this moisture is not dealt with appropriately, the home can develop mold damage.

If you suffer flood damage caused by a storm or other cause, you might have a right to have the claim covered.  My law firm represents policyholders in claims disputes in Miami and throughout Florida.  The Law Firm of J.P. Gonzalez-Sirgo, P.A. offers free consultations and case evaluations.  No Recovery, No Lawyer Fees.  Call 305-461-1095 or Toll Free 1-866-71-CLAIM.

 

Sources:

http://www.thespectrum.com/story/news/local/2014/09/13/agents-homeowners-flood-coverage/15612297/

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