Is it Covered: Wind-Driven Rain
In general, a standard homeowners insurance policy will not offer coverage for flood damage. That type of coverage must be obtained by purchasing a separate policy. Of course, floods are not the only way that homes sustain serious interior water damage due to a storm. During hurricanes and tropical storms, homeowners often experience water seeping into their homes around the windows and doors, causing interior damage, but without windstorm damage that caused an opening in their roof or walls. This is usually referred to as wind-driven rain which is an insurance term used to describe any rain that is propelled into a covered property by wind. Policies that cover storm damage often cover damage done by rain and damage done by wind separately. However, the two are likely to combine during a storm, making it difficult to tell when a wind-driven rain exclusion may apply.
Most property insurance policies are required to include coverage for damage caused by wind during a storm that the National Hurricane Center declares to be a hurricane. Most policies consider any direct physical loss to be covered unless the loss is either excluded or limited by a specific policy provision. Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover damage caused by windstorms, hurricanes and hail, unless the coverage is waived. However, some policies exclude or limit coverage for interior water damage unless there is evidence of a wind-created opening in the roof, outside wall, door or window, leading to an entry point for the water to enter a home. During hurricanes and tropical storms, homeowners often experience water seeping into their homes around the windows and doors, causing interior damage, but without windstorm damage that caused an opening in their roof or walls. Under this scenario, the homeowners’ policy could deny coverage under a windstorm exclusion and the windstorm policy could deny coverage under the wind-driven rain exclusion, creating a gap in coverage.
Ricky K. Patel, Esq., Partner at Farrell, Patel, Jomarron & Lopez writes:
“Insurance companies are run first and foremost as businesses. This means insurance companies may not always have your best interests at heart. In some cases, an insurer may claim that rain is “wind-driven” as a negotiation tactic to drive down the value of your claim. Some insurers will not hesitate to deny claims first, only paying out when a policyholder challenges the denial. By giving policyholders the runaround, companies are saving themselves millions of dollars in payouts. This is wrong and insurance companies must be held responsible. The most common denial letter I see for water intrusion, once the above wind-driven rain exclusion is cited, is one for lack of maintenance, or faulty workmanship. However, it is still possible to dispute a claim that is denied because of wind-driven rain. If your insurance company refusing to pay your claim on the grounds that the damage resulted from wind-driven rain, we can examine your policy to determine how much you may be owed, getting you maximum payment from your coverage.”
Is your insurance company refusing to pay your claim on the grounds that the damage resulted from wind-driven rain? It’s important that you understand the terms of your homeowner’s insurance policy so that you know your rights and obligations under the policy. Contact one of the attorneys at Farrell, Patel, Jomarron & Lopez! We provide representation to clients facing a wide range of insurance claim issues. Call 844-HURRICANE Now!