We have previously highlighted some important things to know about your North Carolina flood insurance policy, as well as the importance of having an independent adjuster and flood insurance attorney estimate your damages. We’ve discussed why you need to know how the claims process works and why meticulously documenting all of your damage is vital. We’ve also answered questions that are most frequently asked. Understanding these points is useless, though, if you miss a deadline during the follow-through. What are those “can’t miss” deadlines?
• First, “prompt written notice” of loss must be given to FEMA. To do so, an insured should submit the appropriate Notice of Loss form immediately after he or she suffers flood damage. To find this form and others, visit www.fema.gov/forms.
• Within 60 days of the loss, you must file a Proof of Loss – your statement of the amount you are claiming under the policy. The Proof of Loss form must be signed and notarized. The insurance company’s adjuster may provide forms for your use. However, that adjuster is under no duty to do so and your Proof of Loss must be submitted within 60 days regardless of what is provided to you.
• In the event that your claim is not adjusted fairly, you have one year from the date of written denial (see Kroll v. Johnson) of any portion of your claim to file suit. Importantly, your right to file suit is lost unless you adhere to all of your obligations under the policy.
The consequences for failing to submit prompt written notice or failing to file a Proof of Loss within 60 days are severe and the deadlines are strictly imposed. Non-compliance will almost certainly result in a forfeiture of your legal rights under your policy, including your right to file a lawsuit.
Residents along the southeastern coast of the United States face numerous difficulties as they recover and rebuild flooded and damaged communities. The path to recovery is daunting, sure, but well worth it. Don’t make the difficult recovery worse by missing a deadline.