BATON ROUGE, La. ? To receive appropriate financial coverage for water damage sustained from Hurricanes Katrina and/or Rita, the definition of the type of damage is necessary. The U.S. Department of Homeland Security?s Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) and the State of Louisiana are offering the following guidelines to better understand flood and wind-driven rain damage.
The simple definition of a flood is an excess of water on land that is normally dry. The National Flood Insurance Program includes in their definition inland tidal waters; unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood.
Homeowner, renter and business owner insurance policies DO NOT cover flooding. Generally, policies will cover wind, rain, hail, wind-driven rain, and lightning damage. A separate flood insurance policy is needed to protect homes, businesses and personal property against flood damage. If a home, business or other residence is in a FEMA-identified high risk flood zone, a separate flood insurance policy should have been required on a mortgage transaction.
Rain or wind-driven rain, and hail damage are not in the same damage category as floods. Wind-driven rain damage, regardless of the cause, is a covered peril like wind or lightning which may have caused an opening in which rain has entered and caused water damage to the home or personal property.
If people affected by Hurricanes Katrina and/or Rita have suffered both flood and wind-driven rain damage, it should be reported to the flood insurance carrier as well as to the homeowner, tenant, or business owner insurance carrier. It is likely that a separate adjuster will be assigned for each claim. Adjusters should communicate with each other to coordinate information prior to final settlement.
To get more information about the insurance coverage, visit the Louisiana Department of Insurance online at www.ldi.state.la.us or call toll-free at 1-800-259-5300. For questions about the National Flood Insurance Program, call your insurance agent or 1-800-427-4661 or log onto www.floodsmart.gov to learn more.