Hurricane Harvey: Texans Urged to File Insurance Claims by Friday

"You have to have a separate flood insurance policy and it's available through the federal government, through the national flood insurance program or it's available in some private insurers", says Hudgens.

Shelly Steinkamp, an agent with O'Brien Insurance said many people forgo flood insurance due to the cost, but she advocated buying insurance for sewer back-ups because it's one of the most common claims in the Tri-States.

"Now you know what it's like".

Harvey made landfall in Texas late Friday as a Category 4 hurricane and has lingered off the coast, dropping heavy rain as a tropical storm. For the uninsured, this means funding will need to come straight from the federal government, according to former FEMA Director Joe Allbaugh, who appeared on FOX Business on Thursday.

Lynne McChristian, spokesperson for the Insurance Information Institute, an industry organization, said that Florida homeowner insurance rates shouldn't be affected for one simple reason: rates are set at the state level and are based on what happens within the state.

If you have a problem with a flood insurance claim, you'll have to deal with FEMA.

As the largest flooding event in modern USA history affects millions across Texas, members of Congress face a political crisis over how to handle the nation's largest insurance plan for floods.

Hagins recommends documenting any flood damage with photographs and video, and to only make temporary repairs if they are needed prior to the adjuster coming out.

The lowest insurance rates in the US are Idaho and Utah, she said.

But it appears for most of the victims, insurance will not cover the damage.

Colten says ideally a restructured NFIP would expand the pool of those required to carry flood insurance from those who live in a 100-year floodplain to those who live within the 500-year floodplain.

Harvey, which has now been downgraded to a tropical storm, and the flooding that followed it, has caused nearly $10 billion worth of damage to properties in Texas, according to early estimates. But it can be a hard to get paid. "It's very important protection, and really it's the only coverage that makes you whole after a natural disaster", said McChristian.

"It's agonizing. It can take weeks and months, and during Sandy it took years".

The high cost for those who need flood coverage most often deters homeowners from buying it.

Congress has been at odds all summer over the reauthorization of the NFIP, which is administered by the Federal Emergency Management Agency and is perennially in debt because it pays out in disaster claims so much more than homeowner premiums bring in. We might pay for it twice, but not four times.

  • Sheila Mcguire