Jason D. lives in the Black Creek Hills in Middleburg, one of the hardest-hit areas in Clay County. Even though his home is elevated by 20 feet, it is located 30 yards from Black Creek. That wasn’t enough to prevent the creek from flooding his home. His home was gutted and all his kitchen appliances needed replacement.
When he tried making a flood insurance claim, however, he learned to his dismay that the flood insurance premium he had paid had never made it to the National Flood Insurance Program. He paid the program through his insurance premium. He has a receipt, but that wasn’t enough to convince them he had a policy.
“No one ever came up to the plate to say ‘hey’ we forgot to mail your premium in,” Jason told First Coast News.
Apparently, there have been a lot of people in the same situation. Jason says he has spoken to hundreds.
About a month after the storm and at his wits’ end, Jason called his Congressman, Ted Yoho, and First Coast News’s On Your Side consumer reporter. Both contacted FEMA and got some results.
Jason was initially offered a paltry $43,000 to settle the claim, but after some discussion he was able to get a reasonable settlement.
“They finally settled for $107k which there is still a shortfall there,” he told reporters, “but I’ll be able to get my house back into livable condition.”
Now, new drywall is in and being painted, and the repairs are scheduled to be finished by March.
Although he says it has been difficult, he encourages others in his situation not to give up. He also says he paid his flood insurance premium directly to the National Flood Insurance Program this year instead of having his mortgage company or insurance company do it.
If your insurance company isn’t coming through, get help
After a hurricane, you shouldn’t have to fight with the insurance company you paid to help you — and that includes the National Flood Insurance Program. Unfortunately, consumer advocates like On Your Side can’t help very many people.
An improperly denied, delayed or low-balled insurance claim can be a sign of bad faith on the part of the insurance company. If you can’t seem to get a fair insurance settlement despite having a legitimate claim, we recommend calling a lawyer who knows how to handle bad faith claims.