Will superstorm Sandy deplete the federal flood insurance program?

November 05, 2012|Eileen Ambrose

The Consumer Federation of America says yes.

The nonprofit estimates Sandy will lead to 200,000 flood insurance claims, exhausting the National Flood Insurance Program. The CFA says Congress will have to swiftly authorize additional money to meet those claims.

Makes you wonder if a polarized Congress will be able to pass such an authorization, or whether stalling will occur by politicians seeking to score some points.  But I digress. 

Anyway, the CFA offers tips on how to get a fair claim payment on homeowner’s insurance: 

—    Report the claim as quickly as possible, because with insurance companies, it’s first come, first served.

—    Keep claim number and other details handy. Maintain good records on your interactions with  the insurance company in case problems occur later.

—    If the insurer denies your claims or low-balls its offer, demand that it show you in the policy why the claim was rejected or why the offer was so low. It could be the insurer is right or it could be that the insurer added restrictions without giving your proper notice. If it’s the latter, talk to a lawyer.

—    Unhappy with the insurance company’s offer? Complain to the company, showing documentation to support your position. Complain to your state insurance department. Or, complain to a lawyer.

The CFA says the same rules apply for federal flood insurance, which is sold through insurance companies that also handle claims. But if you have complaints, contact the Federal Emergency Management Agency, which runs the program, at 800-427-4219.

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