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Floods vs. Wind Driven Rain – When Water Damage isn’t Water Damage

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The 2016 Storm Season has been a sobering reminder of the impact Mother Nature can have on the Sunshine State. Matthew was our first major hurricane to impact us in over a decade, bringing with it the probability of serious damage across the state. Although the damage was widespread, we were spared the full impact of a storm’s fury. Hurricane Matthew does, however, remind us that it is just as important to remember what is covered under a Florida Homeowners or Property Insurance policy as what is not.

Floods

The National Flood Insurance Program includes in their definition of “flood”: inland tidal waters; unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; and collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood. The big thing to take note of here, no property (that includes any Homeowners and Dwelling Fire Insurance Policy forms)covers flood damage as defined.  Damage from flood waters is covered only by a separate Flood Insurance Policy and is subject to policy limits and deductibles.

Wind-Driven Rain

Rain or wind-driven rain, and hail damage are not in the same damage category as floods. Wind-driven rain damage, regardless of the cause, is a covered peril like wind or lightning, which may have caused an opening in which rain has entered and caused water damage to the home or personal property. You may have a separate Wind and Hail Deductible on your property policy.  Olympus Insurance Company does not attached a separate Wind and Hail Deductible, therefore your Hurricane Deductible would apply if the loss occurs during a “named storm”, if there is no “named storm”  your All Other Perils Deductible applies, and any losses to be covered are subject to this amount. However, generally speaking, there is coverage for this kind of water damage in your Homeowner or Dwelling Fire Policy Forms.

Murky Waters

No, this is not a specific coverage. It’s what happens during a storm when you could have flooding AND wind driven rain. These specific instances are looked at very carefully. Would flooding have occurred if there were no opening caused by winds for rain to enter and flood a structure? Was the flood caused by a storm surge? How much of the water damage was caused by flood and how much by rain? These types of claims happen all the time in the Southeast U.S. and can be a nightmare for insurance companies, adjusters and most importantly, policyholders in trying to determine the source of water damage and whether the claim is covered.

Conclusion

To keep things safe, if you live in a flood plain, or in an area where heavy storms occur regularly (or if there is a possibility of a tropical storm or hurricane!), you need a flood insurance policy on any property you own. With a separate policy, you can make sure that in most cases, your water damage claims will certainly be covered.


Stability, Strength, Service

Olympus Insurance Company is revolutionizing the Florida homeowners’ insurance market. With quality homeowner insurance products, financial strength and superior service, you can be confident that Olympus is here to stay. Our uniquely disciplined organic growth strategy differentiates us from many other Florida insurers. The emphasis on steady, conservative expansion continually strengthens our financial position and enables Olympus to provide the finest possible service to Florida property owners. Agent or homeowner, inland or coastal, doing business with Olympus always means peace of mind.

 


This article is for informational purposes only and does not form a part of, replace, change or amend any terms, conditions, provisions or language within your Olympus Insurance policy. We encourage you to read your entire policy.

Olympus Insurance is licensed by the state of Florida. Information found on this site is intended for Florida residents only.