Hurricane damage can be devastating, and dealing with the aftermath of the storm is the worst time to realize an insurance policy is lacking. Some individuals opt to appeal hurricane claim denials, but it can be a lengthy process. Understanding policy coverage and addressing any gaps well before a storm makes landfall can help prevent claim denials. The following are some of the most common reasons for hurricane claim rejections:
- No flood insurance. Homeowners’ insurance policies don’t usually cover flood damage caused by external water sources with a few caveats. For instance, homeowners’ insurance policies won’t cover flood damage due to rising water, but they may cover flood damage caused by other covered perils. For example, water entering the home because a tree fell and broke a window or put a hole in the roof. Even if a homeowner doesn’t live in a designated flood zone, they may need flood insurance due to nearby water sources (e.g., a pond).
- Policy exclusions. Insurance providers may be able to deny multiple claims if one isn’t a covered peril. For instance, if a homeowner reports wind damage to their house in addition to flood damage, their insurer may be able to deny both claims if the individual doesn’t have flood insurance.
- Policy limitations. FEMA offers flooding insurance as part of their national flood insurance program. However, some policies have limitations that can prove costly. The minimum insurance policy only covers the structure of the house. Homeowners may be on the hook to finance the repairs to any damaged outdoor property such as decks, pools, or patios.
- Multiple deductibles. Homeowners often have multiple deductibles—one for losses or thefts and another for hurricanes. Insurance providers may deny a claim if it doesn’t meet both deductibles.
- Clean up constraints. Insurance providers usually cover direct damages, such as a broken window or siding torn off by the storm. However, most policies won’t pay to remove fallen trees and other debris that didn’t cause damage or result in a covered peril.
Homeowners can appeal claim denials, but it requires a lot more work than understanding their policy ahead of severe weather. Windermere Insurance Group can help eliminate the confusion regarding covered perils, exclusions, and limitations. Contact us to assess your risks and ensure you have the coverage you need this hurricane season.