MISSISSIPPI (WDAM) - If you are recovering from flood damage, there are some important things you need to know before filing a flood insurance claim.
Attorney Jeffrey, Pierce of Jeffrey G. Pierce, PLLC in Hattiesburg, said the public is sometimes misinformed about the requirements to file a flood insurance claim.
"The flood insurance claim is a little different than the standard homeowner's insurance policy," Pierce said. "It is a federal insurance policy and so certain rules apply that may not apply to the normal homeowner's insurance policy. There are strict requirements in accordance to federal law."
Pierce said there are a number of cases where homeowners relied upon misinformation provided by local agents and this resulted in the homeowners unintentionally waiving their claims.
Pierce helped to draft Eaker v. State Farm, 216 F. Supp.2d 606 (S.D. Miss. 2001)
In Eaker vs. State Farm, the homeowner relied on statements that were suggested by his insurance adjuster about whether or not his claim had been submitted. The homeowners did not submit a sworn proof of claim in a timely manner and they were timed barred for raising his claim. In that case the plaintiff was informed that they had been put on a waiting list.
"It doesn't matter what an insurance adjuster tells the homeowner," Pierce said. "What's most important is what's contained in the policy. Based on the decision of this case the homeowner cannot rely on what someone else tells them. They have to know what the policy requires of them."
The Standard Flood Insurance Policy is found in the Code of Federal Regulations
"Even though they buy the policy through their insurance company like State Farm, All State, or Nationwide, the policy is just being brokered by those insurance companies. It's actually a federal policy," Pierce said.
The claims are paid using U.S. treasury funds not insurance company funds.
Homeowners only have 60 days to submit their sworn proof of loss from the date of that loss, only unless there is written proof from the Financial Insurance Administrator.