How to Get Advance Payments for Flood Claims

At Williams Kherkher, we’re prepared to help the community access current and accurate information about flood insurance claims filed in the wake of Hurricane Harvey. The entire team at Williams Kherkher are here as a resource for those looking to receive advance payments for flood claims in Houston and the surrounding areas.

According to NPR, over 126,000 homes have been damaged as a result of Hurricane Harvey and it’s flooding. The effects of the disaster are widespread and have been devastating to the community. Many residents did not have flood insurance in place prior to the flooding and are now looking to FEMA for assistance in the aftermath of the hurricane. Those who had flood insurance policies prior to Harvey could receive advance payments for their flood claims under their current policy. According to bulletin W-17024 published by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), policyholders are given leniency and less stringent requirements than usual as a result of the catastrophic hurricane.

There are two means by which advance payments can be obtained from the NFIP for Hurricane Harvey flood victims as outlined in bulletin W-17024. The first is Pre-Adjuster Inspection and the second is Payment for Significant Damage:

Advance Payment Opportunity One: Pre-adjuster Inspection

Once a policyholder provides a notice of loss, an insurer may offer an advance payment after confirming coverages and deductibles and validating that the insured property has flooded. Such advance payment may not exceed $5,000. An insurer may offer a total advance payment of up to $10,000 if the policyholder also provides the following documentation:

  1. Photographs depicting flood damage to covered property; and
  2. Either: Documentation verifying out-of-pocket expenses related to the repair or replacement of covered property, such as receipts or canceled checks; or a contractor’s itemized damage estimate.

Advance Payment Opportunity Two: Payment for Significant Damage

An insurer may offer a larger advance payment of up to 50 percent of the contractor’s estimate prior to receiving a proof of loss if:

  1. The insurer receives a contractor’s estimate of necessary repairs on an item-by-item basis for the insured property; and
  2. A flood insurance adjuster retained by the insurer has inspected the insured property.

Traditionally, NFIP- policyholders are required under the Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) to submit proof of loss before receiving advance payments. In light of Hurricane Harvey, FEMA has waived this standard requirement for those looking for relief in Houston. In a later bulletin titled W-17031a, FEMA added that requests for payment to policyholder’s Write Your Own (WYO) Company can be made in the form of written, verbal and electronic requests. This addendum makes it easier and quicker for policyholders to receive advance payment:

“To accept a verbal or electronic request for advance payment, a WYO Company must:

  1. Verify the identity of the requester.
  2. Advise the policyholder of the conditions listed under the heading “Advance Payment Guidance” on page 2 of WYO Bulletin W-17024, and
  3. Advise the policyholder that completion and signature of the Advance Payment Agreement is not required for this event.”

The bulletin also reported that the original provision has been amended to increase the maximum amount of payment from $10,000 to $20,000 if photographs and proof of payment for repairs and replacement of property or an itemized damaged estimate are provided by a contractor. When reading the bulletins provided by the NFIP, please pay close attention to the guidelines for advance payment. Additional living expenses are not covered by the advance payment. Additional payment may still be sought after under SFIP if advance payment is accepted. Any mortgagee is required to be listed before advance payment is issued.

Questions regarding the bulletins should be sent to Contact the hurricane claims attorneys of Williams Kherker today for more information. Call us at (888) 220-0640, fill out our email form, or chat live with us on our website.

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