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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2017 wasn’t the best year for Houston Texas. Due to the unprecedented rain fall that occurred during Hurricane Harvey, the Barker Reservoir and the Addicks Reservoir—both located off of Highway 6 in Houston—quickly filled to their maximum capacity. In an effort to protect the greater Houston area from experiencing even worse flood inundation, the US Army Corps of Engineers—the federal government entity responsible for management of the reservoirs—intentionally released the flood gates on the reservoirs, causing severe flood inundation to thousands of homes and businesses that had never flooded, were not in a flood zone, and had no reason to expect that level of damage.
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Hurricane Harvey flooding affected Texas property owners (i) with sufficient flood insurance to cover the loss, (ii) with insufficient flood insurance to cover the loss, and (iii) without flood insurance. This three-part series discusses the differences in property ownership rights and two separate avenues to recovery.
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Hurricane Harvey flooding impacted Texas property owners (i) with sufficient flood insurance to cover the loss, (ii) with insufficient flood insurance to cover the loss, and (iii) without flood insurance. This three-part series outlines the differences in the rights of these property owners and the different avenues to recovery. My previous post was Hurricane Harvey FEMA Claims vs. Inverse Condemnation Claims: Do You Know Your Recovery Rights? (Part I), where I discussed one avenue of recovery for property owners with flood insurance under the National Flood Insurance Act of 1968. This post focuses on a wholly separate recovery avenue for property owners with or without flood insurance under the Takings Clause of the Fifth Amendment to the United States Constitution.
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The Hurricane Harvey floods in Texas impacted property owners (i) with sufficient flood insurance to cover the loss, (ii) with insufficient flood insurance to cover the loss, and (iii) without flood insurance all together. The different avenues of recovery and the rights of the different property owners are important issues to understand.
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