August 10, 2022

Severe flooding had led to widespread devastation in Eastern Kentucky, costing substantial loss of life and potentially billions in physical damage to homes and businesses.  Battered infrastructure has hampered the search for the missing, and many survivors say there was no time to escape the deluge.  Flooding is highly destructive, with the potential to damage all or part of a structure.  Flooding can also lead to other issues such as toxic mold damage.  Many Kentucky towns have been inundated with river water and mud – but few residents have flood insurance.

As a property damage insurance lawyer, clients come to me asking about flood insurance and what their policy covers in order to protect themselves and their families.  A question that I get asked by policyholders is, Do I have flood insurance?  If I do, what does that cover?

Property insurance policies – for both homes and businesses – expressly exclude floods, such that if you want or need this coverage, you have to look elsewhere for help.  The primary source of flood coverage comes from the National Flood Insurance Program (“NFIP”).  The reason insurers exclude flood coverage from traditional property insurance has to do with the scope of the loss caused by these events.  For example, unlike an individual home claim for a fire, floods cause damage to entire neighborhoods, which makes it more difficult for insurers to spread their risk across several properties at the same time.  Even if a tornado hits your neighborhood, it will most likely impact some, but not all, of the structures.  Floods, on the other hand, take out entire areas at the same time.

The reality is that while flood insurance can help people rebuild and recover financially after a catastrophic deluge, very few people in the U.S. have it, and it is limited in available coverage.  In fact, most people whose homes were damaged or destroyed in Kentucky probably won’t be covered, and even if they were, the amount available is limited versus the value of the real estate. 

Under the NFIP, you may purchase the maximum for the value of your home up to $250,000, for the structure, and $100,000 for the contents.  The average price of a home in Kentucky in 2021 was $197,413, which means many homes will only get to a certain threshold before the owners’ responsibility kicks in.  Also, the values are not adjusted by home value; in Florida, where the average is more around $390,000, the NFIP policy gets to the max coverage pretty fast.  While it’s a little better for business structures, which go to $500,000, it would be expected to leave a lot of business owners on their own.

There is litigation over whether water damage is a flood, or if it is caused by other man-made sources.  A broken pipe, for example, can cause the entire home to be flooded, but is not a flood.  Floods are caused by external water that rises with the nearby water.  Corless Law Group represented a homeowner where a water main broke under the foundation, and over the following three weeks, 95,000 gallons of water seeped into the home.  There is a strict legal definition of what constitutes a “flood” and insurers will always aim to interpret the damage to your home or business narrowly so that they can avoid liability.  This is where we can help.  

Corless Law Group is a Large Loss law firm that aggressively advocates on policyholders’ behalf to ensure our clients get the coverage they deserve.  Consulting with a flood damage lawyer may be your only way to recover damages.  Our attorneys have successfully handled many water and flood damage claims.  Call us 365 days a year at 813-258-4998 to schedule your free, no-obligation consultation.  

Our firm has a successful track record of handling hundreds of flood insurance lawsuits.  If you’re a policyholder and you find yourself in a dispute with your insurance company, contact Corless Law Group today to help with your claim.  We have secured more than $500 million in case results for residential and commercial property owners throughout Florida.  There are virtually no other law firms that have the experience, knowledge, and record-setting results like Corless Law Group.  We are your go-to Florida flood insurance law firm. 

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