Insurance claims rising after floods - ABC 33/40 - Birmingham News, Weather, Sports

Insurance claims rising after floods

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JEFFERSON COUNTY - AL -

We've seen many images of damage from floods. Some have insurance to cover it, but many policies don't include floods.  Many Alabamians are taking a second look at exactly what their insurance covers.

"Within a matter of a few minutes, my back doors busted open and a foot of water came flying in my apartment," Monique Hahn, whose apartment flooded said.

Stranded on the top floor of apartment buildings, or in cars people watched as water quickly covered everything they own.

"I lost everything," Veeshal Shah, an apartment resident said. "I lost my passport, all my files, everything got thrown out."

Insurance agent, Jacob Vail told us the phone has been ringing off the hook with claims. He told us, flood insurance isn't a part of typical homeowner policies.  Most Alabamians don't even realize they have no flood insurance until days like this.  

"Most people are not and they don't realize it," Jacob Vail, Alfa Insurance said. "Flood is only covered on homes through the National Flood Insurance Program which is a government program and it's not covered through standard homeowners - it is a separate policy."

The cost depends on where you live and whether it's in a flood plain.

"I do have renters insurance but we were told renters insurance doesn't cover floods," another apartment renter said.

 Renters  who lost everything Monday morning are out thousands of dollars.  Renter policies don't cover floods - the only way they can be covered is through the National Flood Insurance Program. 

But for people who watched their vehicles float away. Most car insurance covers floods and won't require much out of pocket.

If you're thinking about buying a new home, your realtor must tell you if it's in a flood plain.  But Vail told us it doesn't hurt to take a look at the maps yourself. 

"The flood plains, the districts are re-drawn from time to time so it's good to make sure you're indeed not in a flood plain," Vail said. "Use common sense  - if it looks like you might have a river close to you, you might want to consider getting coverage."

The bottom line - every house is different, and there are policies to match those situations.  He told us, the best thing homeowners or renters can do is talk with their agent to find out what the options are.

Here is a link to more information about the National Flood Insurance Program: http://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-program

 

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