Do you have Insurance Coverage for Hurricane Damage?
Parts of Atlantic Canada were recently devastated by Hurricane Dorian. Windstorms can damage buildings, cause water damage, and knock out electricity. All these problems can cause significant losses for home and business owners.
Wind Damage Claims
Generally speaking, most insurance policies will provide some coverage for damage caused by a hurricane or tropical storm. However, that is not always the case. Each insurance company and each insurance policy is different and the fine print can often determine if something is covered. Many policies cover “All-risks” or are called “Comprehensive” policies. But there can be exclusions in the wording that can limit what is covered.
In many cases, direct damage from wind will be covered. It can get more complicated in some situations when water damage also occurs. Insurance policies will often have tricky definitions of what water losses it will cover and what losses it will not cover.
For example, if the wind damage blows off a roof or window causing rain to enter the home causing water damage that would likely be covered under most policies. By contrast, if you left a window open or had a prior hole in your roof and rain damaged the property it may not be covered.
Most insurance policies will not cover pre-existing problems or conditions. For example, if there is prior damage, mold, improper workmanship or leaks these may not be covered.
Water Damage Claims
Many policies have not historically covered damage from surface water flooding. For example when a river or a lake overflows or where waves or a storm surge cause water damage. This type of coverage has become more common recently but may not always be part of the insurance.
Damage to cars and other vehicles may not be covered under a homeowner’s policy. These could be covered under an automobile policy. There can often be limits on how much insurance is available for one item or type of item. This is called a “sub-limit”. For example there can be limits on how much you can claim for jewelry, collectibles or cash. Following a loss, many people are surprised to learn how low these limits are.
If water damage is not quickly and properly removed the damp conditions can cause mold. Mold is not generally covered under most insurance policies and can be very expensive to re mediate. It can also be a major health hazard. It is crucial that any damaged areas are dried out immediately and damaged goods inventoried and discarded.
Most people are also not aware that they can choose their own contractor and do not have to use the insurance company’s preferred vendors.
Contact an Experienced Insurance Lawyer
Insurance policies are very complicated. Most people have trouble understanding them and very few people will read them until after they learn that they might not be covered. There are frequent Court battles about what insurance words mean.