Specific wording is extremely important when filing a claim with your insurance company. The terminology used can alter details such as the amount of covered loss, applied deductibles, etc., depending upon your policy. This is especially true when filing a first-time water related claim and it is crucial to be very definitive when describing the cause of loss.
Many policy holders make the mistake of categorizing various types of water loss as ‘flooding’. For instance, an overflowing dishwasher, water entering a home from outside due to rising water, or a burst pipe which fills an entire floor with a foot of water. In actuality, the only circumstance technically classified as ‘flooding’ would be water entering the home from outside due to rising water.
The legal definition of a ‘flood’ in the insurance industry is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow. A flood can occur any place where there is rain. Typically, a home insurance policy does not cover actual flooding and a separate flood policy is required. All flood insurance policies are provided directly by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), even when purchased through an insurance company. Confirm with your insurance agent to make sure your property has adequate flood coverage.
Some insurance companies will outright deny a claim if the term ‘caused by flood’ is phrased, despite further explanations. For example, notice the difference between saying ‘the damage was caused by flooding’ versus ‘my first floor has a foot of water caused by (cause of loss)’. Accurately describing the cause and damage of the excess water in your home is essential! To be safe, avoid the words ‘flood’ or ‘flooding’ as this refers to a particular type of loss and water. Do not use these terms to reference an amount of water because they are easily misconstrued and may lead to denied or underpaid claims per your policy.
Flood insurance is especially encouraged for people who live in Central to Eastern Texas. We live in a strange time where many places that have NEVER before flooded are receiving record rainfall. It is heartbreaking to see people who experience property loss without sufficient insurance coverage. Flood insurance is available to everyone, do not get caught unprepared!
Please don’t hesitate to contact our certified public adjusters for any questions concerning flood insurance or your own claim. As always, we offer free consultations!