As I watched Hurricane Irma coverage on CNN, following the landfall in Naples, I was reminded of a problem many insureds faced following Superstorm Sandy: “Is the water the result of flood or rain?” While Naples was in the eye of the storm, CNN showed a six block stretch of water covering streets where rain water had collected; and this was before the storm surge hit.
Coverage for damage from rain water or wind driven rain is usually available through a homeowner’s policy or commercial business policy. Damage from flood, however (storm surge, overflow of waterway, etc.), is covered under a flood policy of insurance issued through the NFIP. As always, it is necessary to read your insurance policy to see exactly what causes of loss your policy covers.
This was crucial following Sandy when so many insurance companies denied claims, stating either the damage resulted from flood waters (if a homeowners policy) or the result of wind and wind-driven rain (if a flood policy). Adding to the problem is the now typical “anti-concurrent causation clause” that insurance companies often rely on in denying coverage. In Anticoncurrent Causation Clause Explained in Relation to Hurricane Losses, Chip Merlin blogged on how the anti-concurrent causation clause specifically relates to hurricanes.
For anyone dealing with the aftermath of Hurricanes Harvey and Irma, or anticipating Maria, you’re in my thoughts.