June 10, 2015 in Roland's Law Blog

Waiting to cross the flood damaged river bridge on Ranch Road 12 just days after the Wimberley flood my thoughts turned to the “aftershocks” that many of our neighbors will face in the coming days. One of those “aftershocks” will be dealing with insurance claims. Flood insurance is somewhat unique in that FEMA typically is involved through the National Flood Insurance Program. This means special rules and deadlines must be complied with including the filing of a Proof of Loss. For losses from the recent flood, that must be done within 240 days (normally 60 days). Before signing anything and particularly the required sworn Proof of Loss, be sure you have enough information to be complete and accurate on descriptions and values. When you talk to your insurance adjuster, be as thorough as possible but make it clear you are only pointing out what you currently have discovered and that you will provide any new information when available. Document what you tell the adjuster or any appraisers that your insurance company may send. Documentation also applies in spades to photographing and cataloging each and every item of loss as soon as possible. Check your roof for possible windstorm damage, and file a windstorm claim as well if recent damage is found.

What about “public adjusters”? These are non-attorney individuals not connected to your insurance company who may contact you and offer to assist with your claim. They may be helpful or they may just be out for a buck. Typically they may charge a percentage of what you are paid on your claim for their involvement. They cannot provide legal advice or legal representation, so you might consider using an attorney instead. Litigation attorneys are usually familiar with handling insurance claims, often on a percentage basis, and bring their legal expertise into the mix on your behalf. Ask for the Flood Resource Assistant if you call our office for information.

[Note: The above article appears in the Wimberley News & Views magazine as well as the Dripping Springs Outlook magazine. These fine publications from Pedal Ranch Publications provide a wealth of information on a variety of topics to residents of the Wimberley Valley and Dripping Springs areas.]