Water damage comes in many forms. Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma were very vivid reminders that storms can wreak havoc on any of us here in the beloved Sunshine State. As we come closer to the beginning of the 2018 Hurricane season, it is important to remember what is covered under a Florida home insurance policy AND what is not. So, let's look at a few things together:
Damage from flood water is NOT covered under a home insurance policy. The NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) includes in their definition of "flood": inland tidal waters; unusual and rapid accumulation of 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. Therefore, damage from flood waters is ONLY covered by a separate flood insurance policy.
Wind-driven rain, rain, lightning or hail damage are not in the same category as flood. 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. Now, if you have chosen to exclude wind coverage from your policy-you will need to speak directly with your agent to clarify this section. Many people affected by Hurricane Matthew and Hurricane Irma had BOTH flood and wind-driven rain damage in which case, claims needed to be reported to both the flood insurance carrier and the home insurance carrier. Adjusters then should communicate together to coordinate the loss settlement accordingly.
If you currently have a home insurance policy without having a flood insurance policy, you could find yourself in murky waters after a hurricane. Because hurricanes can cause BOTH wind-driven rain damage and flood damage you may be left without coverage for water damage to your home or personal property. If you want to stay out of the murky water; you may need to consider having both home and flood coverage. Remember, there is a standard 30 day wait for new flood insurance policies through FEMA. If you choose to consider a private market flood policy the wait is approximately 3 days. The Welch Group offers both types of flood insurance policies.