April 8, 2015 | Share
Was it Water Damage or a Flood?
Even when you buy the best property and flood insurance coverage available for your home or business, you can experience surprises when filing claims. Our Fort Lauderdale property damage lawyers recommend that property owners reduce potential surprises by taking the time to carefully review their policy coverage.
However, even when you are certain of your coverage, water-related claims can still require experienced legal support to receive full and fair compensation from an insurance settlement.
Insurers Look at How Water Entered the Property
Property insurance policies often cover water damage but they exclude flood damage, which requires a separate flood insurance policy (available through the National Flood Insurance Program). There are countless reasons why these two types of insurers point fingers at each other to justify denying claims, but the overall distinction involves how and which way water entered the property, as follows:
- Flood damage claims essentially involve water that enters a building due to an excess of water outside, for example when runoff from an adjacent property enters a home. The National Flood Insurance Program Summary of Coverage brochure provides a list of covered situations.
- Water damage claims generally cover damage caused by accidents within a building. These can range from plumbing accidents to natural events, such as a wind storm that damages a roof, allowing water to enter. Most property insurance policies cover water damage, but they can exclude certain events, such as water damage caused by a leaky roof that the property owner should have repaired, or the slow and gradual seepage of water over a period of weeks or months that went unnoticed.
Claims Inspectors and Insurance Company Adjustors Look for Holes in Coverage
Identifying the precise source of damage can be open to interpretation. Some circumstances even suggest concurrent causes of damage. For example, storm water leaking under an exterior door might be interpreted either as a flood or as covered water damage if the seal is broken. Plus, even if it is interpreted as water damage, the insurance company might claim that the property owners should have fixed a bad seal on the door.
Insurers may have valid objections, but they are always looking for excuses to deny coverage. Florida property owners do not typically have the legal expertise needed to win these types of conflicts against powerful insurance company lawyers.
Experienced Property Insurance Lawyers Know What is Reasonable
Insurance companies can easily deny water-related claims just by pointing fingers at each other. Just as often, they deny claims under an expectation that property owners should have made repairs that most people would not even recognize as needed.
Skilled property insurance lawyers know how to unravel the maze of conflicting interpretations before heading to court. They can often intervene with your insurance company to resolve issues, and early intervention is best. To learn how we can help, call us at (954) 767-6333 or use our convenient online contact form.
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