Water Damage Claims and Long-Term Damage Exclusions
Water damage is one of the leading causes of property loss in Florida and throughout the United States. Indeed, according to a report from the Insurance Journal, one insurer, the Travelers Companies Inc., reviewed all of their property insurance claims from 2009 through 2015 and found that water damage was responsible for 30 percent of all home damage claims. Approximately one-third of those water damage claims were related to weather, while the other two-thirds were related to non-weather events such as leaks, bad plumbing and general appliance issues.
Water damage claims are notoriously complex. As water damage can have many different underlying causes, homeowners may run into some situations in which their water damage is not covered by their insurance policy. While non-weather water damage is generally covered by most policies, coverage will likely be denied if your water damage is determined to fall under a ‘long-term damage exclusion’. These types of exclusions are very common in Florida homeowners’ policies.
Most Insurance Policies Require Homeowner Attention and Action
Homeowners’ insurance policies generally contain provisions that require the policyholder to:
- Take action to mitigate the damage and corresponding property losses; and
- Report their damage to the insurer as soon as reasonably possible.
Long-term water damage, usually caused by a small but persistent leak, often faces exclusion because the insurance company believes that the homeowner failed to follow through with his or her duties. In some cases, the language of the exclusion will require the homeowner to stop the water damage and report it within a certain number of days. Under some policies, lack of knowledge of the water damage may not be allowed as an excuse.
Know the Terms and Conditions of Your Policy
It should always be noted that insurance policies are fundamentally contracts. While they are regulated by the state of Florida to ensure a certain level of fairness, ultimately, your water damage claim will be controlled by the language and provisions of your specific policy. As soon as you notice serious water damage, please take a look at your policy to assess your rights and responsibilities. The last thing you want is your claim being denied because of an avoidable mistake.
Be Ready to Seek Professional Help
In many cases, disputes arise over whether or not water damage was actually ‘long-term’ damage or if was ‘sudden’ damage. If the insurance company is attempting to classify your water damage as long-term damage, and you believe that such as classification is incorrect, you should get professional help with your claim. You may need to get an independent investigation done to determine the true source of the damage.
Contact Our Team Today
At Geyer Fuxa Tyler, our dedicated property insurance attorneys have helped many homeowners recover full and fair compensation for their water damage. If your water damage claim has been denied or has been underpaid, please contact our team today to schedule your free initial legal consultation. From our office in Sunrise, FL, we represent property owners throughout Broward County, including in Fort Lauderdale and Hollywood.