In the wake of a major storm, homeowners often submit a claim for water damage to the interior of their home or other insured buildings. The damage frequently involves water-soaked carpets, peeling wallpaper, damaged drywall, and occasionally electrical, heating, ventilation, and air conditioning systems.
Frustratingly for the insured, many policies include limitations that specifically exclude coverage for the interior of any structure or building when the damage is caused by rain, snow, sleet, ice, sand or dust (whether it is driven by wind or not), unless an opening first occurred during the incident from wind or hail. Many Florida policyholders have found their claims denied based on these types of provisions.
In some cases, claim investigators determined that rain damage was a result of wear and tear to the roof, and not caused by the storm, even though the resultant damage to the interior of the building was caused by the storm. But as long as the dynamic force of the wind caused an opening in the roof, and damage was caused by rainwater that entered through said opening, the claimed damages are not subject to the policy exclusion (and are therefore covered).
In order for the insurance policy to cover the interior damages, generally the following “tests” must be met.
Some homeowners mistakenly believe that flood insurance will cover water damage caused by wind-driven rain. When rain enters a structure through a window, door, or hole in a wall or roof, the resulting damage is considered to have been caused by the wind, not by flooding. Flood insurance is designed to cover overflow of inland or tidal waters due to unusual accumulation from any water source. A flood is considered to be temporary in nature. The National Flood Insurance Program further states that a flood consists of “partial or complete inundation of two acres or more of land that is normally dry ground.”
If you are unsure about coverages and exclusions related to your homeowner’s or business insurance, please contact an expert at Lanier Upshaw, Inc. We are happy to talk with you to ensure your risks are protected in the event of a catastrophe or other unforeseen circumstance.