Living in the Northeast, strong ocean-borne storms with gusting winds and pelting rain are commonplace. For most, these storms are nothing more than an inconvenience – requiring some cleanup in the yard or cancelling outdoor plans. Unfortunately, these storms can present major issues for homeowners and businesses. These storms can damage shingles or other roofing materials, which can result in significant water damage to a home or business property. For many property insurance policyholders, cleaning up and repairing the water damage is the first step in what can be a painful process. After paying costly property insurance premiums, your insurer is likely to attempt to deny, delay, and underpay your claim – putting profits over policyholders. Receiving the compensation that you’re entitled to shouldn’t be a headache.
Having worked as an insurance adjuster prior to joining the legal profession, lead attorney Richard Palumbo knows the tricks and tactics that insurance companies use to avoid having to pay the amount that you’re entitled to. After years of paying insurance premiums and holding up your end of the bargain, insurance companies do everything they can to not hold up theirs. Because of these deceptive and insincere tactics, Palumbo Law has continually refused to represent insurance companies – we only represent policyholders. If you’re an insured, we’re on your side.
Common Causes of Water Damage
Water damage can come from a nearly unlimited number of sources, and in many cases, results from innocuous issues that are only identified after the damage is realized. Based on our decades of insurance loss experience, the most common causes of water damage we see are:
- Storms and other natural disasters;
- Roof leak;
- Poorly sealed windows;
- Burst or leaking pipes;
- Leaking appliances;
- Drain system failures; and
- Extinguishing flames.
Even water damage that appears minor can mean serious damage. A leaking pipe causing a watermark near the corner of a ceiling may appear to be a simple fix – cut out the affected section, repair the leaking pipe, replace the removed section and then repaint. Unfortunately, water damage is rarely this simple. In the case of a leaking pipe in the ceiling, serious concerns may still exist, such as mold growing in the walls and ceiling. If the pipe had leaked for long enough, mold may grow in the ceiling and even in the walls due to the moisture. If so, additional measures much be taken to reduce the major health concerns for mold. Water damage is rarely minor and often has far reaching consequences.
Understanding Insurance Policies
Water damage can be difficult to deal with. A seemingly minor issue such as a leaking pipe can result in significant damage and necessary remediation work. Given the extent of exclusions in most property insurance policies, water damage claims can be complex to resolve and often contentious. In many cases, the insurer will attempt to escape liability by inappropriately characterizing the damage or the source of the damage as a policy exclusion. This is all a part of insurance company’s “deny, delay and underpay” tactics that put profits over policyholders.
The specific damage and source of damage excluded is policy-dependent. Certain policies may cover damage that others do not, or may define certain damage in different terms to offer more or less coverage. Insurance companies rely on these policy exclusions to deny, delay and underpay your claim. Commonly included policy exclusions are:
- Flood Damage. Flood damage is excluded in nearly all property insurance policies and generally requires a separate flood insurance policy to protect from flood damage.
- Drain System Failure. Like flood damage, most property insurance policies do not cover damage resulting from drain system failure. This exclusion covers sewer, drain or sump pump back up and the resulting damage.
- Failure to Act or Mitigate. Property insurance policies will not cover water damage resulting from the owner’s failure to act to mitigate damages. If a pipe leaks, and the owner knows of this leak but does nothing, the insurer will deny the claim for water damage resulting from the leak because the owner failed to act or mitigate.
- Construction Defects. Insurers will deny claims for damage resulting from construction defects or faulty workmanship. Property insurance policies cover damage from events, and these defects are generally not considered “events” within policies.
In seeking to deny, delay and underpay, insurers will search for any evidence to assert that your insurance claim falls under one of these exclusions, regardless of how little value that evidence provides. In doing so, they may claim that water damage in your basement is due to flooding or a drain system failure, even though this is simply not the case. They do this in the hope that you will walk away with a lower payout or no payout at all. Insurers’ goals are to deny, delay and underpay, so even if they raise the policy exclusion and it’s rejected, they’re still succeeding in delaying and may pursue underpayment. Insurers use these tactics to attempt to avoid paying the money they’re required to under the insurance policy. If you have a water damage claim, you need an experienced water damage insurance attorney to ensure that your insurer pays what they’re required to and when they’re required to pay it.
Water Damage Insurance Loss Lawyer in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Connecticut
When dealing with water damage, tell your insurer “NO” and call Palumbo. At Palumbo Law, we offer one of the most experienced and respected insurance claim teams in Rhode Island, Massachusetts and Rhode Island. Lead attorney Richard Palumbo brings 34 years of insurance industry experience to the team, including experience as an insurance adjuster and contractor. If you have suffered property damage or loss due to water, or have questions pertaining to property insurance, please contact our office to set up a consultation or complete the contact form.
Tell your insurance company “NO” and call Palumbo!