September 15, 2016

After the Flood: Post-Disaster Insurance Considerations

Insurance Commissioner Jim Donelon is advising Louisiana home and business owners of insurance considerations to keep in mind as they work through the recovery process. This comes as the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) has granted National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) policyholders a 60-day extension to file Proofs of Loss for claims resulting from the August flooding. 

“For NFIP policyholders, there are deadlines to keep in mind as well as changes in living situations that may necessitate adjustments to insurance coverage. For those not directly impacted by the flooding, I encourage them to review the coverages they have in place to ensure their property and contents are adequately protected,” said Commissioner Donelon. “As we work through the next stages of recovery there are certain insurance matters to keep in mind that can help you avoid further hurdles in the rebuilding process.”

NFIP policyholders filing claims must submit a Proof of Loss. The Proof of Loss is a sworn statement of the amount a policyholder is claiming including necessary supporting documentation. FEMA recently announced a 60-day extension for NFIP policyholders to submit the required documentation giving them 120 days from the date of the flood event to submit their Proof of Loss. Similar extensions were granted after the major flooding in Louisiana in March 2016 and in the northwest and central regions of the state in May 2015.

Filing the Proof of Loss is necessary even after filing a claim for your flood damage. This document substantiates the insurance claim and is required before the NFIP can make payment. If you need to file a claim as a result of the recent flooding, contact your agent or call the NFIP at 1-800-621-FEMA (3362). 

If you don’t already have it, consider flood insurance. As many homeowners and businesses recently learned, flooding is not covered by a standard homeowner's insurance policy. Only 21 percent of Louisiana homeowner have active flood policies (source: FEMA) yet anyone can be at risk for flooding. Moderate- to low-risk areas in Louisiana submit more than 25 percent of NFIP claims and just four inches of flooding in a 2,000 square foot home can result in $40,000 in damages. For more information, visit

The NFIP offers two types of coverage - building and contents. Keep in mind that your mortgage lender may only require you to purchase flood insurance for the structure. Building coverage will include the structure and attached items such as the electrical system and permanent flooring. Contents coverage will cover items such as personal belongings and furniture.

Review your auto insurance coverage. Coverage on your vehicle depends on the type of policy you have. If you have comprehensive coverage within your policy on your vehicle, you will be covered for damage due to flooding. However, if you have only liability coverage or liability/ collision coverage, you will not be covered for any flood damage to your vehicle. 

Determine if you need renter’s insurance. If you have been displaced and are renting another dwelling, consider getting a short-term renter’s policy or adding an endorsement to your existing homeowners policy. Your landlord may have insurance for structural damage to the building and may even be protected against damage caused by tenants, but none of that protection will extend to your personal property. It will also not protect you from being liable for damage you cause to the building inadvertently like a kitchen fire. Some companies may offer endorsements on homeowners policies that will extend coverage to the possessions of their policyholders while the policyholders are housed in temporary housing or second homes. Talk to your agent about how much coverage is right for you, but remember that renter’s insurance will not cover flooding.

Beware of buying flood-damaged vehicles. Under state law, if a vehicle has been declared a total loss because it has flooded, it cannot be resold. The National Insurance Crime Bureau offers a free service, VINCheck, on its website at to determine if a vehicle has been listed as a total loss.

Consumers can also contact the Louisiana Department of Insurance with questions by calling 1-800-259-5300 or visiting

About the Louisiana Department of Insurance: The Louisiana Department of Insurance works to improve competition in the state’s insurance market while assisting individuals and businesses with the information and resources they need to be informed consumers of insurance. As a regulator, the LDI enforces the laws that provide a fair and stable marketplace and makes certain that insurers comply with the laws in place to protect policyholders. You can contact the LDI by calling 1-800-259-5300 or visiting