• General Property Flood Insurance – What’s Covered?
  • September 28, 2017 | Authors: Cullen J. Dupuy; Christopher D. Billings
  • Law Firm: Breazeale, Sachse & Wilson, L.L.P. - Baton Rouge Office
  • There are various types of coverage that may be available under the standard general property flood insurance form.[1]

    First, and most obviously, is property damage to a building. Note that only one building, which is specifically described in the insurance application, may be insured under a single flood insurance policy. Still, coverage for damage to an insured building property will generally include coverage for various fixtures, machinery, and equipment that are part of the insured building (e.g.: Awnings and canopies; blinds; carpeting; central A/C units; elevator equipment; fire sprinkler systems, walk-in freezers, furnaces, light fixtures, outdoor antennas, permanently installed cabinetry, paneling and wallpaper, pumps and machinery for operating pumps, ventilating equipment; and appliances such as dishwashers, refrigerators, stoves, ovens, microwaves, and refrigerators).

    Another type of coverage that may be available is coverage for personal property—direct physical loss from flooding to property that is owned solely by you and that is inside the fully enclosed insured building. This includes: Furniture and fixtures; machinery and equipment; stock (merchandise held in storage for sale, raw materials, etc.); and any other property that is owned by you and used in your business. Some policies may impose additional limitations on the amount of coverage available for less functional personal property (e.g.: artwork; photographs; memorabilia; jewelry; etc.) that is damaged or lost due to flooding.

    Other coverages that may be available include coverage for the cost of debris removal, loss avoidance measures (costs incurred in procuring sandbags, fill, pumps, etc.), the cost of removal of property to safety, and pollution damage. Subject to various conditions of eligibility, your flood policy may also provide coverage for the cost of compliance with State or local floodplain management law or ordinances affecting the repair or reconstruction of a structure suffering flood damage. Such eligible compliance activities may include the elevation, flood-proofing, relocation or demolition of your structure.

    In addition to the above-stated coverages, your flood insurance policy will also contain many coverage exclusions. Notable property that is generally excluded from coverage includes: Personal property that is not inside the fully enclosed building; recreational vehicles; personal vehicles; land and landscaping; animals; currency; underground structures; fences; watercraft; and swimming pools and related equipment.

    Also, unfortunately, and unlike most commercial property policies, standard flood policies do not provide coverage for loss of revenue or profits, loss from interruption of business or production, or any other related economic loss due to flooding.

    If you do have Flood Insurance and you suffered losses as a result of recent flooding in South Louisiana, it is important to immediately contact your insurance agent or your insurance company and make a claim. Once a claim is made, a claim number is assigned and an adjuster can begin to process the claim. Gather documents in support of your claim and provide copies to your adjuster. You will also want to begin the cleanup, salvage and drying as soon as possible, so be sure to take photographs to document the damage and for use as inventory. Do not wait on the adjuster to begin this process. In addition, clean up as much as you can so that the adjuster can more easily see the damage, but keep the damaged materials for proof of loss. If you remove damaged drywall, be sure to leave a section up to show the extent/height of the flooding. Following an event such as this, adjusters are dealing with many claims and are interested in issuing checks to close out documented insured claims. The more documentation you can provide in support of a claim, the easier it will be to get paid.

    [1] The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) offers three Standard Flood Insurance Policy forms: The Dwelling Policy Form, the General Property Policy Form, and the Residential Condominium Building Association Policy (RCBAP) Form. The General Property Policy Form may be issued to owners or lessees of non-residential buildings or units, or residential condominium buildings that are uninsurable under the RCBAP. https://www.fema.gov/national-flood-insurance-prog...