Are You Speaking the Same Language as Your Insurer?

Monday, May 2nd, 2016 by Greg Dennison

Unfortunately, two parties can have different ideas of the meaning of a single word. When this happens between an insurer and their client, the results can be frustrating—especially when you are the client! As an example, look at the word flood.

To most people, the word flood is self-explanatory. However, when an insurance company is involved, the word can take on different meanings. FEMA’s definition for flood takes on a different view than homeowners or business owners view it.

FEMA’s Definition

The FEMA definition of flood is “A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of 2 or more acres of normally dry land area or 2 or more properties (at least 1 of which is the policy holder’s property from overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, mudflow or the collapse or subsidence or land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.” Usually this definition is quite different from what most homeowners and businesses think.

What’s Covered?

So if your home’s basement floods or you have a couple of flooded rooms after a rainstorm or because of a plumbing problem, will your current insurance policy cover it? That depends. You need to review your insurance policy for the definitive and specific information regarding water damage or floods.

Insurance policies and insurance companies differ significantly. Some insurance policies will cover water damage resulting from internal sources while they will not cover damages resulting from water that seeps into your home from outside sources. As you check your policy, you need to specifically look for words that allude to accidental overflow of municipal or home plumbing systems or natural perils, such as storms. 

If you are having problems with the wording or understanding the terminology, call your insurance agent and ask specific questions. He or she should be able to show you exactly what you are looking for right there in the policy. You want to make sure that in the event of a flood your property and its contents are adequately covered.



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