Flood insurance questions crop up after historic South Florida rain

PEMBROKE PARK, Fla. – Some South Florida homeowners are having to figure out how to deal with the historic flooding that impacted parts of Miami-Dade and Broward counties over the past week.

That usually involves working with their insurance agencies, which is generally not an easy task.

Mark Friedlander is the Florida spokesperson with the Insurance Information Institute.

He said more than two feet of rain in a matter of days should be a wake-up call for anyone, especially those who don’t have flood insurance, and should.

“We’ve never seen anything quite like this in terms of a non-named event,” Friedlander said. “It could flood anywhere, at any time, in Florida. Just because you don’t live in a FEMA-designated flood plain -- it’s not showing on the map -- doesn’t mean you can’t have catastrophic flooding.”

Attorney Brandon Arrow with The Professional Law Group said the next few days for property owners will be crucial.

It starts with filing claims, something he’s already helping with.

“You want to get the claim reported right away, you want to get the estimate and the proof of loss submitted to the insurance company,” Arrow said. “From the date of loss, you have 60 days to get your proof of loss submitted to the carrier.”

As for reporting that damage, Arrow said it’s very important to document everything, but to be smart about it.

“Some people are going to be inclined to really want to clean up as quickly as they can,” he said. “You don’t want to wipe away evidence. You don’t want to make it harder for you, and easier for the insurance company, to come out and say, ‘I’m not seeing anything,’ or, ‘I’m not seeing the flood line, I’m not seeing the water, (it) didn’t rise high enough for me to allow for that two inches, three inches, four inches of drywall replacement.’”

Those FEMA flood maps won’t be updated anytime soon, either, in spite of, and despite, this latest weather event. It’s all the more reason for South Florida residents to make sure they’re covered.

For those who don’t have flood insurance and find themselves wondering what to do, the experts Local 10 News spoke with said one option would be to contact FEMA to see what, if any, assistance is available.

About the Author:

Layron Livingston made the move from Ohio's Miami Valley to Miami, Florida, to join the Local 10 News team.