Briefcase: Texas Flood Insurance

Guest: Professor Seth Chandler

Some Houstonians are filing claims to recover damages due to recent flooding from Tropical Storm Imelda. Seth Chandler, with The University of Houston Law Center, is an insurance law professor and explains what homeowners need to know.

"Conventional homeowner policies seldom cover losses from flooding caused by rising water," Professor Chandler said. "To get up to $250,000 in coverage for those events, most homeowners will need a policy backstopped by the National Flood Insurance Program. These policies are issued either by NFIP directly, or indirectly through private insurers."

Chandler explained what to do if a flood claim is denied. "Texas insurance law generally does not apply," he said. "You have one year from the denial of any part of your claim to file a lawsuit in federal court. It is occasionally possible to get reimbursement for attorney's fees if you win, but you won't get damages for emotional distress. The federal flood program is already deeply in debt and does not open its purse easily."

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