Terminology can sometimes be misleading. What might appear to you to be a flood in your home, might actually be termed a “Water Loss” by your insurance carrier, and the difference might well be a denied claim, or a covered loss.
Recent heavy rains in Florida, accompanied by strong winds have created a greater awareness of terminology with regards to water claims from any source. If you factor in the fact that the EPA and the IICRC have broken water into three categories, 1, 2, and 3, and established different protocols for each category of water, a person can easily be confused.
When it comes to insurance, it is possible that you have a windstorm policy, a homeowner’s policy and a flood policy for your home, have an event where rising water floods your home from the outside, and still you could wind up with no coverage for the resulting damages. The claims person that you talk with regarding your loss might not have the right answers, or interpret your responses to their questions and draw the wrong conclusion. This could result in your claim being denied for an inaccurate statement.
As a General Contractor that has been in the property restoration business for more than 15 years, I have seen many situations where the cause of a water loss has been misdiagnosed, and coverage issues have been based upon inaccurate information. As a contractor, we cannot determine coverage issues, but we can make accurate assessments of damages, and we often determine the cause of a water loss. Only yesterday, we were at a home that had interior damage due to wind driven rain through a few small cracks in a stucco wall. The assigned adjuster did not have a moisture meter, and was not able to determine if there was any damage to their home, as no damage was visible. The assigned adjuster advised the owner to hire a leak detection company. The leak detection company did not find any damage, or a leak. They charged the property owner their “leak detection” fee, and left.
In this particular case, the owner smelled mold when she opened a kitchen cabinet drawer. The walls next to the kitchen, and under the bay windows, were found to be wet, when we did our moisture mapping.
After our investigation, we suggested to the owner that we remove a particular piece of baseboard, feeling pretty confident that there was a wet wall and mold growth that would be discovered. The owner agreed to the baseboard removal, and low and behold, there was a major mold condition, and a wet wall.
If this action were not taken, the claim would probably be denied, as there was nothing visible, and the owner would be living with a hidden problem that would not simply go away. Repair of the outside wall is required, as well as remediation and interior repairs.