Winter Flood Damage Insurance Claims
While you might expect flooding to a be a summer or spring problem, the winter months come with their own flooding risks caused by burst pipes and sudden snowmelts. When it comes to insurance, there are two types of flooding – internal and external. There are distinct differences between the two, and you need more than one type of insurance policy to protect your property against both flooding dangers.
Internal flooding occurs when something inside your house or another nearby building causes flooding inside the home. A burst water pipe, a ruptured water heater, or a defective washing machine are among the common causes of internal flooding.
External flooding occurs when the water comes from an outside source and has to cross your doorstep to enter your home. Runoff from rain saturating the soil, a swollen river, or a storm surge are common ways in which external flooding happens. With winter in full swing, you may also hear about sudden thaw flooding, which is caused by the sudden thaw of ice and snow during a spike in temperature; ice jams, which are floods that occur when rivers are backed up by jammed-up ice; or even heavy rainfall in areas that are not quite cold enough for snow. Your insurance should detail what kind of flooding is covered.
Different Policies Protect Against Flooding Dangers
Whether you own or rent your home, you need more than standard property insurance to fully protect it against flooding. You might have home or renters insurance that protects against flooding. In most cases, that flooding is strictly for internal flooding and not external flooding.
Virtually all underwriters of homeowners or renters insurance require separate flood insurance coverage for external flooding. The rule of thumb is that if the water crosses the entrance from the outside, it is an external flooding event.
You can purchase flood insurance from many private insurers if you live in an area that is not especially flood prone, but if you are in a federally-designated flood zone that is subject to frequent storms and external flooding, the National Flood Insurance Program might be your only viable option.
Potential Flood Insurance Exclusions
Even when you have internal and external flood insurance protection, you might run into issues with a flood insurance claim, including exclusions of which you were not aware that causes an insurer to deny your claim. Common exclusions might include a sewage backup or a water backup that causes flooding inside your home. Mold and mildew mitigation also might not be covered despite commonly occurring due to internal or external flooding.
Fortunately, many insurers offer special riders that you might buy to increase your flood protection. You should discuss your needs with your insurance agent and ensure you get quality coverage at a reasonably affordable rate.
What to Do if Your Insurer Mishandles a Legitimate Claim?
When you file a claim, New Jersey requires your insurer to acknowledge receipt of your claim and initiate an investigation, if necessary, within 10 business days. When you provide proof of your losses, your insurer has 30 calendar days to affirm your claim and pay it or deny it and give provide written notice that tells you why. An insurer might underpay your claim or delay payment beyond the state-allocated timeframe.
Whenever you suffer flood damage and your insurer is less than forthright, you should obtain the services of an experienced insurance attorney. Your attorney can help to uphold your rights and file a lawsuit if necessary to obtain full payment for your legitimate claim.
Get Help with Flood Insurance Claims from the Plainfield Insurance Lawyers at Herold Law, P.A.
If you suffered internal or external flood insurance damages and your insurer denied some or all of your claim, the experienced Plainfield insurance lawyers at Herold Law, P.A. can help. You can call 908-647-1022 or contact us online to schedule an initial consultation at our Warren, New Jersey, law office. We represent clients in Warren, Plainfield, and throughout New Jersey.