Is Water Damage Covered Under My Homeowners Insurance Policy?
Damage from water may be covered under a standard homeowners insurance policy. Damage from water and damage from flooding are commonly separate within a homeowners insurance policy, with flood damage being a common exclusion. Flood damage coverage typically requires a separate election.
FEMA defines flooding as: “A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of 2 or more acres of normally dry land area or of 2 or more properties (one of which is the policyholder’s) from:
- Overflow of inland or tidal waves; or
- Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or
- Mudflow; or
- A collapse of subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water because of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that results in a flood as defined above.”
The way the damage is described to your insurance company is important to your overall claim and the length of time it will take to achieve full coverage. Best believe the insurance company wants to immediately obtain a recorded statement to lock in “flood” damage, as opposed to “water” damage. In other words, if you attempt to handle your claim without an attorney you may fall into a common insurance trap where insurance companies attempt to compartmentalize water damage into flood damage in an effort to undervalue, delay and deny a claim.
In regard to hurricane Ian, your water damage could be from storm driven rain or wind driven rain and not flooding. If your water damage is in fact not flood damage, then you may need an attorney to maximize the value of your claim. If you water damage is in fact flood damage, then you may want to contact FEMA for assistance with damages.
If you need help determining whether your water damage is covered under an insurance policy, please call Quattrochi, Torres and Taormina for a free consultation.