Storm damage can be devastating and sometimes leave your property uninhabitable. Merlin Law Group has handled insurance claims from multiple storms throughout the country since 1983. Our attorneys are well versed in dealing with the insurance company adjusters to assist in coverage issues that may arise.
Tropical Storm vs. Hurricane
It’s important to remember that tropical storms and hurricanes are types of weather phenomenon known as cyclones and their differences are in the method of categorization. However, this categorization will impact how the claim is made on an insurance policy. A tropical storm is a cyclone consisting of wind speeds between 39 mph to 73 mph. A hurricane is a cyclone that has wind speeds in excess of 74 mph. Hurricanes are classified by categories, and the higher the sustained wind speed, the higher the category classification.
Rain and Wind
Some property insurance policies may contain an exclusion where an insurer will not cover a loss “to the interior of any building or structure, or the property inside any building or structure, caused by rain…” In this situation it is important to look at the policy to see if it defines the term “rain” as this may affect whether the loss will be covered. It could be covered if there were windstorm damages to the exterior roof or walls of the structure the water had entered. This policy limitation/exclusion is often referred to as the wind-driven rain exclusion. It is important for insureds to be aware of this common provision when reporting claims to their insurers or giving statements about the details of a loss.
Verify that what you understand to be your insurance is actually reflected in your policy. Make sure you have everything you need when a storm is on the way. Thoroughly review your insurance policies to be sure you have coverage for what you assume is insured and read through the declarations page carefully. It is important that to have flood and wind coverage; often times the flood policy is in an entirely separate envelope so finding and reviewing those documents can be forgotten. Confirm that the covered property is the property that is listed on the policy, make sure the locations are all on the policies to make sure those areas are covered in the event of a loss. Contact your agent if you have questions about what would be covered.
If insureds discuss their claims with insurers before having the claims reviewed by their own professionals, the insurers’ one-sided conclusions can have detrimental consequences on the coverage case. The term “opening” is not often defined in policies, and there can be situations where water enters through an “opening” that may not even be visible to the untrained eye.
Be sure to read your insurance policy. Levels of coverage, exclusions and limits of liability vary greatly. If you have an insurance claim that’s been delayed, denied or underpaid, Merlin Law Group will review your insurance policy as a courtesy to and inform you of what coverage you’re entitled to.