Hurricane & Wind Insurance Claim
Understanding Hurricane Damage
Typically a property insurance policy covers direct physical damage from windstorm. If direct physical damage is obvious, such as entire roofs/walls or portions of roofs/walls blown away, then a coverage determination becomes easy. Then the major concern of the property owner becomes, "What is the full value of repair or replacement to make me whole again?" Business owners will suffer down time creating the need to document business interruption losses. Homeowners will want to know where they will live while their home is being repaired. Not only is the building loss a concern, but business inventory losses and personal property damage frequently become a major portion of the windstorm damage insurance claim. Sometimes however, the damage from a covered peril is not so obvious.
What about water damage resulting from a windstorm event? One must always look to the specific policy language of the loss in question. Typically, if the windstorm event causes a breach (break) in the building envelope (that is, the roof or walls) and water comes into the building due to that breach, then you have coverage. This would include water damage to the building itself, such as drywall damage, particle board expansion, electrical damage, mold, etc. Water damage to contents would also typically be included as part of the loss. Wind driven rain can also be very problematic in a hurricane as many insurance companies will not pay unless there is a breach or opening in a structure.
More people live and work around the United States coastline than at any other point in our history. Coupled with the ever increasing cost of scarce materials and labor following a catastrophic windstorm event makes exposure to hurricane events more severe than ever. Damage from hurricane events, especially in our coastline areas have high exposure to both windstorm and flood damage. This creates the wind vs. water controversies that fill our courtrooms following hurricane events. Why?
The primary reason is that property insurance contracts that do cover windstorms normally exclude the peril of flood, and flood policies cover flood but not the peril of windstorm. So what happens when a hurricane damages properties, especially near our coastlines? Will the windstorm carriers and the flood carriers point fingers at each other, and leave you, the policyholder, caught in the middle. Our experience is if you have a loss from wind and flood you need to be prepared to prove which caused what part of your damage. Note that the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), part of FEMA, underwrites the flood policies. How does one sort out this controversy? Corbitt Public Adjusting, LLC will point you in the right direction.