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Flood vs. Wind: Determining the Cause in A Property Damage Claim

Pekar Law, P.A. March 3, 2017

Florida homeowners from the greater Tampa Bay area and elsewhere have a love-hate relationship with Mother Nature. They love the sunshine, but hate the wind and storm damage she can bring. Very often, homeowners easily transfer that hate to their neighborly insurance company when their property damage claim gets denied.

Property insurance claims related to severe weather events can present a problem for homeowners who may not understand the legalese of their homeowner’s insurance policy or know what types of damages will or will not be covered. Because insurance companies are in the business to make money, they generally deny a claim more often than they pay them-or at least they try to– if there isn’t an experienced Insurance Litigation attorney holding them accountable.

Homeowners in Orlando recently sued their insurer for breach of contract, for allegedly refusing to pay full coverage of an insurance claim related to a weather event. Specifically, the insurer denied coverage for the roof and refused to pay for the roof replacement. The plaintiffs seek to recover for “property damages, personal property and/or loss of use, plus interest, costs and attorney’s fees”.

Very often weather-related property insurance claims come down to whether the damage was caused by wind or by flooding. If wind is the culprit, the claim is usually covered. However, in the absence of separate flood insurance, most homeowner’s insurance policies will not cover the claim if the damages resulting from flooding. But that doesn’t mean you have to throw in the towel when you receive the initial denial.

Experienced insurance litigation attorneys understand complicated clauses in insurance policies and know ways to get coverage approved when a lay person would think all is lost. For example, what may look like flooding damage to you– especially if your insurance company uses that as a basis of denying your claim– may look like a storm surge to a skilled insurance litigation attorney.

In a storm surge, hurricane force winds create a “column” of ocean water that causes water damage when it hits land. The water column would not have been there had it not been for the hurricane’s winds. An attorney may be able to establish that water damage via wind rather than flooding, occurred and hence the homeowner’s policy should cover the claim.

If your insurer won’t return your calls or has not paid insurance benefits that you believe you are entitled to, Insurance litigation attorney Jeff Pekar of Pekar Law, PA can help. Call us for a no-charge consultation. We serve clients throughout Florida, including but not limited to the Tampa Bay area, Naples, Fort Meyers, Orlando, Daytona