Hurricane Florence Damaged Homes and Businesses: Things To Know About Filing Your Insurance Claims

Hurricane Florence has already been catastrophic for many communities in North Carolina, impacting both homeowners and businesses. Many folks are now wondering “what’s next”? Fortunately, the internet and smartphones will make it easier for homeowners and business owners alike to find guidance on  how to:

  • File an insurance claim for damage to their homes, automobiles, and businesses;
  • Apply for Federal Disaster Assistance; and/or
  • Apply for a Small Business Loan (“SBA”).

We have included links below to a few articles and fact sheets that might be helpful.

When it comes to filing insurance claims for water or wind related damage, there are a few things to keep in mind;

  • Standard homeowners and commercial property insurance policies do NOT cover flood damage. But, home and business owners in participating communities can purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”). In fact, federally regulated or insured lenders require flood insurance on mortgaged properties located in certain areas. 
    • Private flood insurance coverage is also available in North Carolina.
    • Check your insurance policies and consult with your insurance agent/broker if you don’t know whether you have flood insurance (or whether your flood insurance is through the NFIP versus the private market). 
  • In some coastal areas, windstorm damage is excluded from standard policies. But, hopefully, you have coverage for wind damage via either a private insurer or the Coastal Property Insurance Pool. The Coastal Property Insurance Pool offers windstorm coverage to persons (and businesses) having an insurable interest in property located in 18 coastal counties in North Carolina. Check your insurance policies and consult with your insurance agent/broker for more information regarding your coverage for wind damage.
  • The “comprehensive coverage” on a car insurance policy typically covers flood damage.  Many lenders require comprehensive coverage if you have an auto loan.
  • All insurance policies—including NFIP policies and policies issued through the Coastal Property Insurance Pool—have deadlines for submitting claims and detailed proofs of loss, requirements for mitigating damage, and deadlines and procedures for resolving disputes with your insurer.  It’s always important to understand the deadlines and requirements in your policies, and if you have questions, consider consulting your insurance agent/broker or a lawyer.

Fortunately, many policyholders—individuals and businesses—will be able to submit claims and resolve any disputes with their insurance companies without the assistance of a lawyer. However, if you need the assistance of a lawyer, you can always contact us at Bell, Davis & Pitt. The firm has several lawyers, including the authors of this article, who counsel policyholders regarding all aspects of their insurance coverage and coordination with insurers.

 Helpful Articles and Fact Sheets:

North Carolina Department of Insurance (NCDOI)

  1. After the Storm — FAQs
  2. HurriClaims Center Contacts

Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA)

  1. What To Do After the Flood
  2. National Flood Insurance Program Summary of Coverage

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About the Authors

Alan M. Ruley

Alan Ruley is a seasoned civil trial and appellate lawyer. He represents clients in a wide variety of disputes in federal and state court, focusing primarily on business litigation, intellectual property, insurance, banking and employment.
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Allison Buckner Parker

Allison Parker is a commercial litigator who focuses on insurance coverage litigation for corporate policyholders.
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