Do you have any questions regarding hurricane flooding and damage that you need answers to? Here at Your Insurance Attorney, our team of experts is here to make sure you have all the information you need to stay safe before and after a big storm. We want to ensure you are protected. We are an insurance lawyer who cares.
Q: I don’t have a separate “flood” policy and my home insurance company is telling me that all the hurricane damage to my home is excluded/not covered. Are they right?
A: In most cases, no. Insured property owners should be getting coverage for some or all the damage caused by the hurricane. What matters is:
- Location: Where your home is/was located (coast versus inland, path of the storm)
- Causation: The cause(s) of the damage, (wind, wind-driven rain, trees or other falling objects, and the source of any water that entered your home)
- Words: The specific wording of the exclusion for flood damage in your homeowners’ policy.
- Laws: The laws in your state relating to insurance claims, contracts, and unfair business practices.
- Politics: (Whether or not your elected and appointed public officials are willing to put pressure on insurance industry representatives to pay fairly and promptly)
Q: My adjuster seems friendly and knowledgeable. Why would he or she mislead me?
A: Insurance companies are profit-making businesses, and their employees are not social workers. Their goal is to close your claim quickly and without paying a dime more than necessary. Your adjuster may be friendly, but he or she is not your friend. Insurance companies are naturally trying to control their payouts after a devastating disaster. There is a lot of confusing wording and legalese in insurance contracts, and there are laws to protect you from getting taken advantage of.
Q: I don’t want to get involved in a lawsuit, isn’t there something else I can do?
A: YES. Take the time to read the wording of the specific exclusion the adjuster is relying on. Make sure to read the whole policy and whatever brochures or sales materials you can get your hands on. You may find words that show they promised or owe more benefits than they’re offering. Insurance policies are contracts written by insurance company lawyers. Doesn’t it make sense to get legal advice for yourself before taking the insurance company’s word that you’re not covered? You can use legal advice and arguments to convince your insurance company to change its position without getting involved in a lawsuit. Get together with neighbors and others in your situation. Find home videos taken of the storm that show the wind that came first. Pool your money and hire a “forensics” engineer who’s experienced in evaluating hurricane damage. If the engineer concludes that wind or another covered “peril” was a triggering cause in your neighborhood, present the information to your insurance company and don’t take no for an answer.
Q: My house isn’t totally destroyed, but its water logged. Does the exclusion for flood damage in my homeowners’ policy mean I get nothing?
A: No. If there’s any evidence of water coming in through any type of opening (such as a damaged roof, siding, window frames, etc.), the wind was a triggering cause and it should be covered. Where there’s no way to tell whether the standing water came from rising or falling water, the damage should be covered, unless your policy has the kind of “anti-concurrent causation” exclusion.
Q: My home was near the coast, my adjuster is saying the damage isn’t covered because it was caused by a storm surge or waves, is that true?
A: Although a storm surge may have washed away or severely damaged your home, it was first hit by heavy winds. By the time the water wiped out your home, some percentage of it was already destroyed by wind and rain. Wind and wind-driven rain damage is covered under standard homeowners insurance policies. Experts say that every ten miles per hour of wind will drive water one inch up a vertical wall. That means one hundred miles per hour wind can drive rain and debris up and under the roof and into your home. Suppose the storm surge, caused by low pressure, was 10 feet, but wind caused waves on top of the surge that came up another 4 feet. If your home is at 12 feet and was damaged – wasn’t it the wind that caused the damage?
Stay On Top of Hurricane Flooding
If your home has been damaged through some type of disaster, vandalism, or you have suffered a loss through theft, you have likely filed a claim with your insurance company. This can often take quite a bit of time, and some insurance claims even get denied or paid insufficiently, which is unsatisfying and can seem unfair.
As an insurance attorney Miami locals trust, we don’t sit around waiting to see how your insurance company is going to help you, we talk directly with them and let them know what exactly you are entitled to. Best of all you incur no fees unless you win!
Make sure you are fully informed when it comes to dealing with hurricanes this season and hurricane flooding. You need to stay safe! If your home has been damaged through some type of water damage, you have likely filed a claim with your insurance company.
This can often take quite a bit of time, and some insurance claims even get denied or paid insufficiently, which is unsatisfying and can seem unfair. As an insurance lawyer locals trust, we don’t sit around waiting to see how your insurance company is going to help you, we talk directly with them and let them know what exactly you are entitled to. Best of all you incur no fees unless you win! Call our property damage attorney Miami today for more information. We are located in Miami-Dade County.