Most homeowners are surprised to learn that almost all homeowners’ policies include exclusions for damage caused by sewage water originating outside their home. For example, if your city or county’s sewer main line backs up because of tree roots or debris and the sewage water backs up into your home, the resulting damage will not be covered, or if it is, may be subject to significant limits—often covering only $5,000 or $10,000 of damage. Given the scope of cleaning required in these events, this amount will likely not cover even the costs to clean up the sewage. What’s more, some policies even exclude backups on the homeowner’s own lateral lines. Insurers may offer policy endorsements for coverage at an additional cost, but as many homeowners shop based on price alone, they may not realize they lack the coverage until it is too late.
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Rutgers Law Professor Jay Feinman has written an excellent paper regarding insurance protection gaps (of which insurance gaps are a subset) involving residential structures: The Protection Gap in Homeowners Insurance: An Introduction. I recently mentioned this emerging issue in, Coverage Gaps Plague Policyholders! Merlin Law Group and AAPIA Host Webinar Explaining What Is Being Done To Fight This Problem.
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Consumers are bombarded by insurance company advertisements loaded with puffery and bloated promises. While celebrity hucksters, jovial lizards with heavy accents, and emu sleuths might be amusing on TV, real world policyholders are left to discern fact from fiction when it comes to promotional statements in insurance company quotes.
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One of the first questions I’m often asked by a client is, “What is the statute of limitations in XYZ state?” The Property Insurance Coverage Law Blog has not addressed the statute of limitations in North Carolina, and below is a quick cheat sheet for North Carolina policyholders and their representatives.
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Journalist Jennie McKeon

Reporter Jennie McKeon wrote an article (‘Blue Tarps’ Doc Shows The Aftermath of Hurricane Michael) about two filmmakers, Carrie Hunter and Austin Hermann, who recently released a significant documentary about Florida’s Panhandle following Hurricane Michael. I was struck by one quote from Carrie Hunter:

Literally every person we talked to said they felt forgotten . . . . This was one of the most powerful storms to hit and it hit some of the poorest and rural parts of Florida. Help and safety nets are not reaching everyone.


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Last night at the Thousand Points of Light banquet Garth Brooks stated, “If you do not have love in your life, you have to look at yourself about why” I became involved with this organization following Superstorm Sandy and still remain an active supporter because the basic philosophy is so fundamental to whom we should strive to be.
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The Western District of Pennsylvania recently had to answer the question of whether a raccoon’s actions in destroying a property can be considered vandalism or malicious mischief under an insurance policy. The trial court found that “raccoons and their companions in the animal kingdom cannot formulate the intent needed to engage in vandalism, malicious mischief, or any other criminal or actionable conduct.”1
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Steve Badger and Chip Merlin

Steve Badger has certainly made his mark Texas property insurance law over the last decade. Bob Norton has similarly made a name for himself over the same period of time by forming the Insurance Appraisal and Umpire Association (IAUA) and getting some of the top legal talent and practitioners in the insurance industry teaching at IAUA programs.
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