With a massive storm system surging today and Friday in the Mid-Atlantic states, residents are probably thinking about their insurance coverages, especially flood insurance. What does flood insurance cover? Does it merely cover property damage? What about long-term power outages?
Standard form flood insurance covers damage from a “flood,” defined in part as inundation of normally dry land area from: (1) overflow of inland or tidal waters; (2) “unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff” of surface waters from any source; or (3) mudslides or mudflows proximately caused by such accumulation or runoff and “akin to a river of liquid and flowing mud on the surfaces of normally dry land areas … as when earth is carried by a current of water and deposited along the path of the current.” See Pecarovich v. Allstate Ins. Co., 309 F. 3d 652, 656-657 (9th Cir. 2002). Landslides and “movement of land” are usually not covered. Any example of this exclusion is “[w]e only provide coverage for direct physical loss by or from flood which means we do not cover: … loss caused by … land sinkage, landslide, destabilization or movement of land resulting from the accumulation of water in subsurface land areas … except such mudslides (i.e., mudflows) or erosion as is covered under the peril of flood.” See McHugh v. United Serv. Auto. Ass’n, 164 F. 3d 451, 452 (9th Cir. 1999). However, flood policies cover “land subsidence” that is caused by a general and temporary condition of flooding in the area and that occurs within 72 hours after the flood has receded. Flood insurance does not generally cover long-term power outages.
Therefore, if you live in the Washington D.C., Maryland, or Delaware areas you not only need to brace for the upcoming storms. You need to make sure you have procured flood insurance. We have read that forecasters are warning that the storms will cause damaging winds and large hail. So, you also need to make sure that you homeowners insurance premium is paid up and that you have good coverage. Contact us at [email protected] if you have questions regarding the homeowners’ coverages you need.