The recent hurricanes ripped through parts of the U.S. and its territories in what has become one of the worst hurricane seasons in over a decade. Winds, rains, flooding, and chaos quickly ensued after the storms hit land. Walking around your house after a natural disaster strikes can be upsetting. Not only are families displaced and belongings lost, but dealing with insurance claims can be complicated and frustrating.
Insurance is there to help you recover after a severe storm, that’s why you pay to have premium policies in place. Unfortunately, many homeowners are caught off guard when they are told their policy does not cover the damages because of wind-driven rain.
Wind-driven rain is rain that enters your home because it is being blown around by the storm. To insurance providers, this type of rain is forced into the home through an opening and is propelled by the wind. It is important to note that this type of damage cannot occur without the wind driving rain into the house.
When storms attack your home, wind and rain usually cause the most damage. Damage caused by wind and rain on their own is covered under most homeowners insurance policies. What is not covered is damage to your home from rain that was able to enter due to a preexisting problem, like gaps in the exterior portion of your home. If the insurance adjuster discovers that such a preexisting problem was responsible for the rain damage, then it may not be covered.
For instance, one family in Houston discovered that water damage to their home was not covered under their premium homeowners insurance policy. The insurance adjuster identified water damage inside the home as being caused by rain from the storm, and normally this should be covered. But, they also determined that the rain entered the home through tiles on the roof that needed to be repaired. The conclusion from the insurer’s perspective is that the storm didn’t damage the home, it was the improperly maintained roof that let water enter.
If the winds had blown debris into shingles or knocked a tree upon your roof, allowing water to then enter your home, insurance would cover it. However, if the rain was driven into your home because the roof’s shingles should have been replaced before the storm, then insurance might not cover the damage.
Many homeowners mistakenly believe that flood insurance automatically covers water damage inside their homes. Unfortunately, wind-driven rain is not covered under this type of policy.
According to the National Flood Insurance Program:
“When rain enters through a wind-damaged window or door, or comes through a hole in a wall or roof, the NFIP considers the resulting puddles and damage to be windstorm-related, not flood-related. Flood insurance covers overflow of inland or tidal waters and unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source. However, the flood must be a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area.”
Insurance claims for rain damage can be incredibly frustrating for homeowners that make a claim and get denied because of a wind-driven rain stipulation. Even policyholders that feel they did everything right including maintaining their home and reading through their policy can still be denied for wind-driven rain.
Many insurers clearly outline wind-driven rain and define it in their policy. In some cases, homeowner claims are wrongfully denied. Insurance providers that deny a claim because of wind-driven rain may not use that excuse if it is not clearly detailed in your policy.
Most people had never heard the term “wind-driven rain” until their insurance company told them why their claim was denied. Few things are more frustrating than being told by an insurance adjuster that your policy does not cover the type of damage to your home, especially after a major storm.
If you experienced massive damage to your property during a storm, and are not satisfied with the insurance adjuster’s assessment of the damages, you should consider getting a second and third opinion. Independent contractors and public adjusters are trained professionals that can give you an independent assessment of the damages.
You should know, in the state of Texas, any claim that gets unfairly denied can be only be appealed once. If the claim is wrongfully denied and you need to take litigation against the insurance provider, only the information you submitted in your appeal can be taken with you to court. Insurance companies are powerful corporations with nearly limitless resources compared to the individual homeowner, and they intentionally complicate the language in their policies.
If your claim has been wrongfully denied, it is essential that you have a professional who is experienced at dealing with unfair insurance practices to take a look at your individual case. The attorneys with Williams Hart are members of the Gulf Coast community, and for over 30 years we have helped defend people like you from corporate greed. Before you submit an appeal, contact our dedicated team today for a free consultation.