Wind Driven Rain
Coverage for wind driven rain is becoming a problem in Florida. Insurance companies are changing their policy language, and the policyholder may find they do not have coverage or reduced coverage to the interior of your home or dwelling for this cause of loss. Many carriers have adjusted their policy to exclude damages for cause of loss due to wind driven rain. The largest insurer in the state of Florida has now added the following language to their policy of insurance. "We insure against risk to direct loss to property described in Coverages A and B only if that loss is a physical loss to property. We do not insure, however, for loss: 2. Caused by: h. Rain, snow, sleet, sand, dust to the interior of a building unless a covered peril first damages the building causing an opening in a roof or wall and the rain, snow, sleet, sand or dust enters through this opening."
So how does this affect water damage to the interior of the building under a cause of loss due to wind, tornado, or hurricane? Prior to introduction of this new policy language, the carriers paid for damages due to what is called wind driven rain. This type of water damage takes place when the force of the wind pushes the rain through an existing opening on the roof or wall. It is only after a hurricane or violent rainstorm that the homeowner found their roof was leaking. Such openings are commonly found around pipe jacks, vents, valleys, wall flashing, chimney flashing, and where a valley ties-in with other sections of the roof. Most homeowners do not even know these small openings exist, and it is only after a noticeable event that this coverage issue may arise.
If you report a leak to the interior of your home, the insurance company might first examine the interior of your home and determine the approximate location of the roof leak. The adjuster will then inspect your roof and document any new damages that are found in the local of the ceiling damage. If no obvious damage to the roof is found, he may attempt to lift shingles in the suspected vicinity of the leak. If the shingles are easily lifted, most fair adjusters will assume that the recent wind event was the cause of your interior damage, and coverage will not become an issue. However, if all of your roofing is sealed down, the adjuster will, then attempt to locate a place where the water may have entered. Such place might be around a pipe jack flashing. He should confirm the flashing is fastened to its original location and has not been dislodged by the recent wind event. If he determines the recent wind event did not create an opening in your roof, your loss may not have coverage for the interior water damage.
If you roof has not been leaking before this occurrence, you should give me a call. It may be that I can find additional facts to present to your insurance company that may provide coverage.