"We are so grateful that a consumer-focused organization like UP – completely independent of the insurance industry – is there to help families and individuals, homeowners and renters alike, navigate the confusing claims process after a disaster, and to help them before a crisis as well."
Hurricane Harvey - Insurance Help
by United Policyholders
If your home or business has been damaged or destroyed by Hurricane Harvey, United Policyholders' Roadmap to Recovery® program will help guide you in valuing and documenting your loss, understanding insurance rules, settling your insurance claims fairly and finding qualified professional, charitable and government help.
The Hurricane Harvey Claim Help Library is for property and business owners, policyholder advocates, elected officials and the media. The Library contains tips, articles, bulletins, forms, reports, statistics, links and a wealth of information. This library section will be updated regularly.
At this time, take care of your family's immediate needs first. If you are in a mandatory evacuation zone, you may be able to access insurance funds through your "Additional Living Expense" Coverage.
Once you are able to return to your home, focus on documenting by completely inventorying and valuing all damage and costs to repair or replace your property, regardless of your insurance situation. If your rental, home or business was insured for flood damage, there are some differences in how a flood versus a home insurance claim gets adjusted and settled, but many similarities. Wind damage will be covered under your homeowner's policy, while flood damage caused by storm surge should be covered under your flood policy.
Every type of insurance policy contains a deadline for submitting your proof of your loss and claim. NFIP flood policies usually require a complete proof of loss to be submitted within 60 days of the storm but UP and others asked FEMA to extend the deadline due to Harvey's mass destruction, FEMA extended the proof of loss deadline to one-year.
Check your home and wind policies for special deductibles or coverages related to Hurricane damage. You'll find lots of information in our library, tips, videos and tools. We're rooting for your recovery and are here to help.
- Take photos of the damage before any clean-up or repairs are done.
- Keep a diary of conversations with insurance, repair, government and other professionals.
- Focus on drying/cleaning out, avoiding further damage, while getting all damage inspected, measured and estimated by qualified, reputable and independent experts.
- Flood insurance policies have different rules than home insurance policies.
- Start working on a detailed and itemized "proof of loss" form but don't rush and leave things out.
- Give your home and/or flood insurer a chance to do the right thing, but advocate for yourself and be prepared to get help if you’re not being treated fairly. Sources of help include professional claim advocates and attorneys, FEMA, and your state's Department of Insurance. You may have damage covered by both your homeowners and flood policies. Please visit our State-by-State library for additional resources.
- If a home or flood insurance adjuster says damage isn’t covered, but you feel it should be, get an independent professional opinion before giving up on getting some or all of your claim paid.
Additional Self-Help Resources Include:
- Top ten insurance claim tips
- Hurricane claim guidance library
- Sample Letter Requesting Copy of Policy
- Simplified Guide to Your Declarations Page
- Flood Recovery & Insurance - Getting Started
- Mold Damage Guide - Information and resources about mold damage
- Sample Claim and Proof of Loss Form
- FEMA: Hurricane Harvey information
- Hurricane tips from floodsmart.gov
- National Flood Insurance Program
- Watch previous flood workshops United Policyholders hosted in Colorado
- National Disaster Legal Aid
- Disaster Legal Services hotline info
- FEMA: answering your flood insurance questions
- Texas Department of Insurance
- Louisiana Department of Insurance
- Harvey's devastation
- Information if you are displaced and cannot work
Disaster Survivor Support Network: Confidential emotional support, insurance and rebuilding tips from previous catastrophic loss victims/survivors through the United Policyholders Disaster Survivor Support Network ("DSSN") For a list of and contact info for available DSSN recovery mentors, please email your request to firstname.lastname@example.org and put "DSSN" in the subject line.
Expert Answers to Your Questions: The ”Ask an Expert” tool is an easy and safe way to ask direct questions to attorneys, claims professionals and previous disaster survivors who serve as UP volunteers and get the answers you need. The expert doesn’t see your contact info, but you can contact them if you want to follow up on their answer. To use the forum, please visit www.uphelp.org/Ask-an-Expert.
UP distributes the following tools where funding is available to cover costs. Email your contact information to email@example.com and we will notify you if we secure funding in the Houston area.
The Disaster Recovery Handbook/Household Inventory Guide: Since 2006 "The Disaster Recovery Handbook and Household Inventory Guide" has been a trusted book that's led thousands of people through the process of overcoming obstacles to repairing and rebuilding after a major loss. The book is written in plain language by disaster survivors for disaster survivors with tips and expert advice from legal, insurance and personal finance professionals.
The Roadmap to Recovery Organizer Kit: includes the essential tools for staying organized and recovering financially from serious property damage or loss. Each kit contains a diary/notebook, essential tips and guidance, business card holders, a pouch for receipts and a messenger bag.
- Home Inventory Worksheets: Most disaster survivors must prepare an itemized and detailed inventory list of every single item they lost in order to recover insurance monies and/or claim tax losses. Creating this inventory is one of the most challenging and time-consuming tasks survivors must complete on the road to recovery. To ease this burden, download UP's home inventory worksheets.
About The Blogger
United Policyholders is a non-profit organization that serves as a voice and an information resource for insurance consumers in all 50 States.