It's important to make sure your home is protected from flood damage during hurricane season. While water damage caused by water that has intruded through a wind-damaged roof or windows is generally covered by your homeowner's policy, water that rises into your home from ground level is generally considered “flood damage” and is not covered.
Groundwater Versus Water Intrusion Through a Storm-Caused Opening
When the majority of damage from a storm is caused by flooding from the rise of groundwater, it is often the case the flood damage will not be covered by insurance because homeowners did not carry separate flood insurance. Often, the only interior damage that is covered as a result of rain entering the building is when wind or flying/falling objects cause an opening to the building that allows water to enter. Many people who suffered damage to their homes or businesses as a result of Hurricane Michael or Sally do not know this and will expect if their house floods in a storm that their current homeowner's insurance policy will cover the damage. Don't let this happen to you. If you do not yet have flood insurance, contact the NFIP at 1-800-427-4661 or Floodsmart.gov. You can also download this informative Summary of Coverage FEMA offers to help you understand your NFIP coverage.
You Must File a Proof of Loss 60 Days After the Loss
Those who have suffered flood damage should also know all policies issued by NFIP contain a mandatory proof of loss requirement. The policyholder must submit a Proof of Loss within 60 days of the loss. This is a mandatory condition for the filing of any lawsuit for payment allegedly owed under the policy. Meaning, if you and your flood insurance company get into a dispute about how much you are owed on your flood and you did not file a timely Proof of Loss, you may be barred from filing a lawsuit to collect the full amount you are owed. It is your responsibility to submit the signed and dated Proof of Loss document to your insurance company within 60 days of the date of the flood loss, unless FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program has issued a waiver for the flood event. You can learn more about the flood claims process via the Florida Chief Financial Officer's website here.
If you have questions about your homeowner's insurance policy and whether you have adequate coverage for both wind or flood damage, please give us a call. We never charge an initial fee to sit down with you, review your policy, and answer your questions about coverage.