Maps show Hurricane Harvey flooding is worse than you thought

An unusually large share of Hurricane Harvey victims lack adequate insurance according to early estimates

An unusually large share of Hurricane Harvey victims lack adequate insurance according to early estimates

The relatively low damage estimates will be of little comfort to citizens whose homes are under water or whose safety is still threatened.

Over the past several years, the soft reinsurance market has allowed primary insurers to obtain favorable terms from reinsurers, including higher limits on catastrophe programs and extended hours clauses. The U.S. government is generally on the hook for the bulk of flood-insurance claims; Hurricane Harvey's costs are expected to mount to tens of billions of dollars in Texas.

Which brings up a question posed by WESH 2 News to four local insurance agents.

This anti-policyholder law also imposes additional (and potentially onerous) pre-suit notice and inspection requirements on policyholders; these requirements are all created to minimize policyholder insurance recoveries.

And from Lee Rogers of Florida Insurance Group, "If you live in Florida, you need flood insurance".

House Bill 1774 puts more work on the consumer and could cost some consumers money, but it only kicks in if your insurance company doesn't pay what you think is fair and you file a lawsuit against them.

Adjusters will start by visiting areas that experienced the most severe damage once emergency officials give them the green light. The Natural Resources Defense Council estimates that the government has spent about $5.5 billion since 1978 to rebuild 30,000 homes that have flooded as many as five times in a two- or three-year period. These contractors generally are not trained nor educated in insurance policies or policy language and may not as a matter of law present or negotiate insurance claims on behalf of insureds. Typically, the maximum home coverage is $250,000 and the maximum coverage for the "contents" of your home, is $100,000.

The NFIP offers flood insurance at steep discounts for homes and other buildings, including businesses, constructed in flood-prone areas. And that could be especially disastrous for Houstonians, who learn the hard way that their homeowners policy doesn't cover some losses from the storm.

Homeowners must purchase flood insurance if they're in a high-risk flood zone and have a federally-insured mortgage. After Katrina in 2005, the program paid $16 billion for flood damage.

Trump assured Texans that areas affected by Hurricane Harvey would see swift action from the government. If you can afford it, recurring contributions are best, as this is going to be a long process. "Where will it go?" "These same policy holders who thought they were receiving all to which they were entitled from the hurricane wind and flood damage are stunned when finding the insurer underpaid what actually was due", added Perlmuter. However, there are a few situations in which coverage can kick in without a delay.

Additionally, be aware of your insurer's right to investigate your property to make its own determinations regarding coverage and the extent of the damage. There may be no waiting period if you buy your policy within 60 days of the date the fire is contained. They say you can act now, or pay much more later.

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