Post-Harvey: FEMA Guidance on Rumors & Scams by Michael Graves

It was bound to happen. In the wake of Hurricane Harvey there have come to be some rumors and even outright scams with respect to various issues facing people impacted by the storm. Fortunately, FEMA has assembled a web page with some great guidance on these issues.

Here are a couple of key takeaways from this guidance:

Flood Insurance - September 1 Deadline

Rumor: There are reports individuals must file a flood insurance claim before Friday, September 1 because a new Texas law goes into effect that day and all claims filed after Sept. 1 would be negatively impacted.

This rumor is FALSE. (August 30)

Texas State “House Bill 1774,” passed by the 85th Texas Legislature, does not affect flood insurance policies or claims. Flood insurance is provided through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), which was created by Congress through the passage of the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. The NFIP is a federal program subject to federal law, so this new Texas state law will have no impact on NFIP policyholders.

Flood Insurance Premiums - Robo-Calls

Rumor: There are reports Texas residents are being told (via robo-call) their flood premiums are past due and in order to have coverage for Hurricane Harvey they need to submit a payment immediately to a website.

This rumor is FALSE. (August 30)

Insurance companies and agents selling flood insurance policies do not use this process to communicate with customers about their flood insurance policies.  In fact, if your payment is past due, your insurance company will send you several pieces of mail 90, 60, and 30 days before the policy expires.

If you receive a call regarding your flood insurance policy:

Hang up the phone. Don't press 1 to speak to a live operator or any other key to take your number off the list. Just hang up.

Then contact your insurance agent or insurance company immediately to verify the information. Or call 1-800-638-6620 if you have a policy with NFIP Direct