Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Flooding from a Hurricane If you’re asking, “Does homeowners insurance cover water damage?” we sincerely hope that you are not already ankle-deep in H2O. Answering the water damage coverage question is nuanced; whether your homeowners insurance will cover water damage depends on a number of factors. Let’s dive in.

Types of Water Damage Commonly Covered by Homeowners Insurance

From overflowing dishwashers to water damage after a fire, the following items are typically covered by homeowners insurance.  

Plumbing – Burst pipes, resulting damage from faulty work and accidental overflow are usually covered. 
Fire – Extinguishing a blaze demands water to douse the flames. The resulting damage will be covered.
Leaky roof – Sorry to all those who were looking to get a new house-topper! While repairs needed due to leaks from lack of maintenance or wear and tear are not covered, if the wind removes a portion or all of your roof and lets the rain inside, your home insurance responds.
Accidental overflow – Should an appliance or fixture malfunction, you are likely in luck regarding recompense. This is one of those classic “thank goodness I purchased insurance” moments when the damage is an absolute surprise. Be aware that some policies limit or exclude water damage. Check your policy for specific terms and conditions.
Mold – When left undetected long enough, mold can pose a significant respiratory hazard. If mold is the result of a covered water damage loss, eradication expenses will be paid. Policy limits for water damage and mold coverage will vary depending on your policy form. This is another important reason to review your policy each year and to speak with your personal insurance advisor if you have questions.
Vandalism – The creative list of possibilities in this category is endless. Luckily, your homeowners insurance will most likely cover the damages. 

Types of Water Damage Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance

Now for the not-so-great news: Not all water damage is covered by homeowners insurance. Here are a few items that are not. 
Ground seepage – When rain falls to the ground, it doesn’t travel straight down. It moves underground and sometimes resurfaces in low-lying home areas. Damages from ground seepage are not covered by homeowners insurance. 
Poorly maintained pipes – You are held to a certain level of care regarding your home. If those pipes are exceedingly old or the repair work on them is shoddy, your coverage is likely not going to help you.
Water or sewer pipe backup – Avoid this scenario by keeping your pipes in good working order.
Flooding (rising surface water) – This comes as a surprise to many, but damage from rising surface water will not be covered by homeowners insurance. 

Why Flood Insurance is so Important for Florida Homeowners

Repeat the following adage as many times as it’s necessary to convince yourself that flood insurance is a necessary protection: Everyone lives in a flood zone. Even if you don’t have a view of the Gulf, you are still susceptible to nature-led flooding. Let’s talk hurricanes. Florida is the ultimate tourist destination for hurricanes, and these unwelcome storms bring massive flood potential with them. We also live in a state with massive rainfalls. These events can happen anywhere and at any time. Lastly, storm surge and tidal waters can easily flood or even level an entire home.

Not Sure if You’re Covered? Ask Your W3 Advisor.

At W3 Insurance, our advisors know protection. Specifically, our team understands the nuances of flood coverage and can direct you to the policy that is right for you. Before the flood, there’s W3. Contact us for a review of your current policy or to elect new coverage.

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Is Your Golf Course In Danger?

With the presence of Arnie in the 60’s, Jack in the 70’s, and Tiger since 1996, the game of golf has grown into one of America’s favorite past-times.  According to the National Golf Foundation, an estimated 25.7 million Americans played at least one round of golf last year.  The game is no more popular than in the state of Florida.  According to the AARP, our great state has 1055 golf courses.

Golf club owners, managers, and superintendents have an invaluable amount of real estate to protect in order for Floridians to continue playing our courses.  This actual experience below brings to light potential exposures, where you may think your insurance agent and insurance provider are going to protect you in the event you suffer a loss.

A client of ours was recently exposed to the outer rain bands of the season’s first tropical storm.  I recall emailing him the night prior to express concern over his property and to reassure him of our commitment to protect his business in the event they suffered a loss. He woke up the next morning to something out of a horror movie.  His facility had suffered 6 inches of rain and experienced significant washout of many of his bunkers, flooded fairways, downed trees, and backup from many of the course drains due to debris. Without a doubt, the club had sustained significant damage!

Golf Course Insurance

A major washout near the tee area of a local golf course after a recent storm.

Is your club prepared to deal with this sort of catastrophe?

More importantly, does your agent representative truly know how to interpret the policy they sold you and can they help remedy the situation so that you may re-open and restore the integrity of your golf club in an expedited manner?

Wallace Welch & Willingham has extensive expertise insuring Golf and Country Clubs throughout Florida.  We are prepared to be your partner in times of need and have every resource available to help you get back in business when disaster strikes.

David Cosper | Hospitality and Risk Practice Leader

727.522.7777 ex 110 | dcosper@w3ins.com


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Hurricane Season: What kind of insurance does your business need?

Hurricane Season: What kind of insurance does your business need?Hurricane season started once again on June 1st. So what does this mean for your business? There are several coverages that could make or break you should the right storm hit at the right time.

Property Coverage

Hurricane insurance coverage is provided in your property insurance. Depending on your location, your proximity to the coastline, and your carrier, you will have several different types of coverage under your policy.

All Peril – This is the most comprehensive coverage – covering everything except for what is specifically excluded in the policy.

Named Peril – Will cover ONLY what is specifically noted in the policy. It’s usually less expensive but offers little coverage.

Wind and Hail – this is the most restrictive of the three coverages and only covers damage caused by wind or hail.

All Peril, Named Peril, and Wind & Hail will all have a percentage deductible attached. It can vary from a dollar amount to a percentage amount. A deductible is the amount of loss paid by the policyholder before the insurance will begin.

Flood Insurance

Water damage is not the same as wind or storm damage. Most commercial property policies exclude coverage for losses caused by rising water. Much of the damage caused by hurricanes in coastal areas involves rising water which is not covered under most insurance policies. In cases where homes or businesses sustain concurrent wind and rising water damage, some insurers attempt to separate the covered wind damage from the uncovered rising water damage and pay what they owe. Other carriers deny the claims entirely citing the flood exclusion. It’s very important to make sure you are covered for both wind and rising water.

Business Interruption Coverage

Even if you have proper coverage under your property and flood policies, your business could be in danger. Could your business survive being closed and non-operational for 30 days or more during repair time? Most small business will find this lack of income detrimental for their business, and it causes many to close their doors. Business Interruption insurance will kick in after the 72-hour deductible period.

Make sure you are covered this hurricane season and contact your insurance advisor to go over your policies.


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Wind Mitigation Credits and Your Home Insurance

Are You Taking Advantage of Wind Mitigation Credits?

Wind Mitigation Credits and Your Home InsuranceThe State of Florida requires insurance companies to offer discounts for protecting your home against damage caused by windstorms.  These discounts are known as Wind Mitigation Credits and are offered after a certified inspection is done to your home. Unlike some home inspections, like a four-point inspection, this one is not mandated by your insurance company or your lender and is completely optional. However, most wind mitigation inspections result in savings that at least cover the cost of the inspection in the first year, so why not? It is important to note that you will never be penalized for not having these safety features. Your insurance premiums can only go down, not up.

What Does a Wind Mitigation Inspection Include?

An inspector will come to your home and look for specific factors that would make your home more resilient to a windstorm. Specifically, they will be looking at your roof and home openings such as doors and windows. Florida wind mitigation inspectors examine these key safety features:

  • Roof Shape
  • Roof Bracing of Gable End
  • Roof Deck Attachment
  • Roof Covering
  • Roof-to-Wall Connections
  • Secondary Water Resistance
  • Doors
  • Protection of Openings (windows and other openings)

These features will be evaluated to determine how wind resilient your home is with it’s current features. All Florida homes built after 2002 were constructed to certain safety codes that will likely result in a savings to you. If your roof has not been replaced after 2002 but was built after 1974, we still recommend having a wind mitigation inspection. Based on how it was constructed, there are some features of the roof that you may still qualify for discounts.

There are a few cost-effective measures you can take to safeguard your home and reduce your hurricane-wind premium. A few examples would be securing your roof with hurricane clips or wraps and hurricane protecting your windows, doors and other openings to your home. To qualify for the opening protection credit, all window and openings must be protected by wind impact resistant glass. This also includes a hurricane resistant garage door.

Cost vs. The Savings

A wind mitigation report will cost, on average, $75.00. However, with minimal wind mitigation features in place, the inspection will pay for itself in the first year. Credits can go up to the maximum savings of 88% off the hurricane/wind premium.

Good to Note

This credit is good for five years. After that time, a new inspection will be required to make sure that you still qualify for these credits based on the new forms submitted by the Office of Insurance Regulation.

Please contact your WWW Personal Insurance Advisor to discuss Wind Mitigation Credits & find out if you could benefit from the inspection.


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Are you Covered for a Business Interruption?

Business Interruption Insurance - Be AwareRecent heavy rainfall reminds us that not all natural disasters are brought on by hurricanes. Due to heavy and constant rains, flooding has damaged much of Florida’s roadways. Last week, Governor Rick Scott declared a state of emergency for five counties. This included three bay area counties; Hillsborough, Pinellas, and Pasco.

Damage like this creates an immediate need for all for all companies to take a closer look at their insurance coverage. Would you be sufficiently covered in case of a natural disaster? States like Florida and other coastal locations are particularly susceptible to devastating losses from flooding, tropical storms, hurricanes.

“75% of businesses suffering major property damage are out of business within three years because they did not have a contingency plan or the proper financing to see them through the period of recovery.”

What is Business Income Insurance?

When it comes to managing your property risk, business owners should be concerned not only with a loss to their tangible property but also to their income. Natural disasters, fires, and other insured perils often result in an interruption of the operations of a business, which typically lead to a loss of income.  Business income insurance is designed to cover your economic damages when you experience a covered loss that results in a suspension of your business. A suspension of your business can mean either a slow down or a cessation of your business activities. Loss of income is defined in most policies as your net profit as well as continuing expenses, including payroll.  Extra expenses that you incur to recover from a disaster can also be covered.  You might think of it as disability insurance for your business!

What is Included in a Business Interruption Insurance Policy?

  • Compensation for lost income if you are no longer able to operate your business due to a disaster-related damage that is covered by your current property insurance policy.
  • Profits that would have been earned had the disaster not occurred. These numbers are based on previous financial records.
  • Operating expenses that must be paid even if the business is temporarily closed. Examples are utilities, rent, etc.
  • Expenses from a temporary location for you to operate out of while repairs are being made to your permanent location.

Business interruption insurance is one of the most valuable policies a business can have, yet it is often overlooked. Contact us today to learn more about this valuable policy.


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Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

In recognition of Hurricane Awareness there will be a tax free day on certain sale items. The sale this years runs from May 31st to June 8th. Here are some of the items that will be on sale:

Selling for $10 or less:

  • Reusable ice (reusable ice packs)

Selling for $20 or less:Hurricane Preparedness Sales Tax Holiday

  • Any portable self-powered light source
  • Battery-powered flashlights
  • Battery-powered lanterns
  • Gas-powered lanterns (including propane, kerosene, lamp oil, or similar fuel)
  • Tiki-type torches
  • Candles

Selling for $25 or less:

  • Any gas or diesel fuel container (including LP gas and kerosene containers)

Selling for $30 or less:

  • Batteries, including rechargeable batteries and excluding automobile and boat batteries (listed sizes only)
  • AA-cell
  • C-cell
  • D-cell
  • 6-volt
  • 9-volt
  • Coolers (food-storage; nonelectrical)
  • Ice chests (food-storage; nonelectrical)
  • Self-contained first-aid kit (already tax-exempt

Selling for $50 or less:

  • Tarpaulins (tarps)
  • Visqueen, plastic sheeting, plastic drop cloths, and other flexible waterproof sheeting
  • Ground anchor systems
  • Tie-down kits
  • Bungee cords
  • Ratchet straps
  • Radios (self-powered or battery-powered)
  • Two-way radios (self-powered or battery- powered)
  • Weather band radios (self-powered or
  • battery-powered)

Selling for $750 or less:

Portable generators that will be used to provide light, communications, or to preserve food in the event of a power outage

Note: Eligible battery-powered or gas-powered light sources and portable self-powered radios qualify for the exemption even though they may have electrical cords.

Information provided by the Florida Department of Revenue. http://dor.myflorida.com/dor/tips/tip14a01-03.pdf

 


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