FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
Insurance policy changes could leave homeowners under water
May 26, 2016
Insurance is largely accepted as one of the “necessary evils” of home ownership, along with having to fix your own toilet if it breaks and that one neighbor that always needs to borrow something. While it can be frustrating to pay for a service you may never need, the benefit to insurance is security. It is knowing that should tragedy strike, the insurance company will step forward and help you pull your life back together. Or perhaps not. Florida homeowners may be in for an unpleasant surprise. An unsettling trend is developing as insurance companies move to reduce water damage coverage, if not remove it all together.
Water damage is a very real concern in Florida, a state that is not only surrounded by water but contains more than 30,000 lakes and hundreds of miles of rivers. In addition to this already damp and humid climate, Florida is regularly beset by tropical storms and hurricanes every year. Water damage on some level is almost inevitable.
Insurance companies are already offering discounts on policies if homeowners are willing to exclude water coverage. Knowing the environment is ripe for it, these insurance companies are trying to avoid an almost guaranteed payout. Additionally, many companies are trying to set the cap for water damage coverage at $3000. Something as simple as a burst pipe could cost $3000 or more to fix. When you factor in an incident such as a tropical storm or a hurricane, the claims rise from tens of thousands to hundreds of thousands of dollars.
Additionally, being covered for flood or hurricane damage does not include coverage for water damage. For example, say your area is wracked by a tropical storm. Days of rain have saturated your roof and your walls, and then eventually the house flooded. Would you be covered, or would your insurance company claim that the water damage was done before the actual flooding? Perhaps the tropical storm evolved into a hurricane, and your saturated walls gave way to the wind. Would you be covered in this instance, or would the insurance company insist that since the water damage came first they were not liable?
The conditions and clauses only grow more absurd as policies are broken down. Many policies offer coverage for mold damage, but not water. If the water damage is the source of the mold, are you then no longer covered? Other policies offer coverage for volcanoes, but not water. Since Florida is well outside of the Ring of Fire, what is even the point of that coverage? At what point does common sense reassert itself? If you have a house fire, will they refuse to cover damage from the water used to put the fire out?
We pay for insurance to be covered in times of distress. As homeowners, we need our policies to cover the damages and pitfalls we are most likely to face. It is important to make sure your insurance policies cover your needs, and are relevant to your home and the area in which you live. And as a Floridian, coverage for water damage is incredibly relevant.
Cohen Law Group are a multifocus law office with experts in litigation, specifically insurance claims. Their office is at 350 N. Lake Destiny in Maitland, FL and they can be found on the web at http://www.itsaboutjustice.law/.
Cohen Law Group
350 N. Lake Destiny