Flood Insurance – What You Need To Know
Having lived through the torment of Hurricane Katrina, we truly sympathize with the struggle forthcoming for the victims of the torrential rains that caused floods throughout Louisiana. From an flood insurance standpoint, our suggestions are to document, be patient but persistent, remain safe and look to the future optimistically.
Current Flood Relief
The commissioner of insurance has exercised and implemented emergency rule 27 in an effort to provide some relief to the individuals and businesses affected. The rule affects cancellations, non-renewals, premium payments and some other items that are part of the normal insurance regulations. The timeline for the changes begins on August 12, 2016 at 12:01 AM. So for example, if a flood policy was canceled on or after the 13th of August by an insurance company, then the expiration is extended until September 10, 2016. This rule applies to State regulated insurance only however, the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and FEMA have issued its own rules.
The National Flood Insurance Program
The NFIP has extended the grace period from 30 days to 120 days for policies renewing between August 11, 2016 and September 10, 2016. This will allow individuals to renew ones flood policy if the premium has not been paid timely for 120 days after the expiration date. It only applies to policies renewing during the above referenced time period in the designated parishes. It is very important to note that your policy must be enforced at the time of the loss in order to collect. If you have a policy and did not pay the premiums be sure you do to protect your claim.
The Parishes included in the special regulations include the following:
Acadia, Ascension, Avoyelles, East Baton Rouge, East Feliciana, Evangeline, Iberia, Iberville, Jefferson Davis, Lafayette, Livingston, Pointe Coupee, St. Helena, St. Landry, St. Martin, St. Tammany, Tangipahoa, Vermilion, Washington and West Feliciana
What To Do If Your Home Has Flooded
The best recommendation I can make is to document your claim with video and pictures. This will come in very handy in making any flood insurance claims. The next important item is for you to have an inventory prepared for your loss. During Katrina, we used a spreadsheet and went room by room listing every item. Included on the sheet is a description, its purchase cost, age, and its current value. The reason for this is that contents coverage is not insured on a replacement cost basis and depreciation will be deducted. If you have a family member and some downtime start your list by going room by room and be generous to yourself. In addition, you may need this information for income tax purposes. It is possible that the 10% of AGI tax deductible rule may be waived for casualty losses as it was during Hurricane Katrina. This is just a hope.
What To Do If Your Car Has Been Damaged In the Flooding
If your automobile was flooded you must have “comprehensive “coverage on your auto policy. Flood insurance only covers your home/dwelling and its contents. When the insurance company makes a settlement with you and if the company “totals” the car, you should make sure that all the paperwork is in order to avoid a nasty letter from the DMV. Be sure that the insurance company prepares a Certificate of Destruction on your behalf. It must be sent to the OMV within 30 days of the settlement.
On another note, be aware that you will need to have flood insurance in the future if you receive government benefits in addition to your flood insurance. Please call us to discuss your coverage or to receive a new flood insurance quote. Alpha insurance has historically been a leader in the flood insurance industry and can help beyond what other agents typically provide. We know the rules, have all of the old maps and use them to your benefit. Please feel free to contact us if you wish to discuss any of this information and we will be glad to assist or refer your friends, family and neighbors. Best of luck and keep your head high as it will pass quickly. Louisiana citizens are strong and we will endure.
Bryan Duplantier, CPCU, CLU, ChFC