I have previously written on what is and is not “flood” damage.  Now, another chapter in that same story.

My client’s home was inundated with water when the fire hydrant at the front of his property literally blew off.  The ensuing deluge undermined the foundation of his house, and penetrated his frame walls, and soaked his garage.

He submitted the claim to his homeowners insurer which promptly denied the claim based on exclusions for “flood,” and/or water which “backs up from a sewer, drain or sump.” Absurd. Neither of these exclusions apply.

“Flood” damage is not synonymous with water damage. Flood damage when read in the context of most homeowners policies means rising water from a pond, lake, river or ocean, or tidal surge from any of these. These cannot be extrapolated to include a defective fire hydrant. Nor, is this loss caused by a “back up” from a sewer, drain or sump. This isn’t a “back-up,” and a fire hydrant is not a sewer, drain or sump.

Most homeowners policies are “all-risk” policies, which means that they cover all losses – however caused – unless they are specifically excluded. Because this loss is not specifically excluded, it is covered.

As with most of my insurance cases, my client owes me nothing out-of-pocket. If I win, the insurance company must typically pay my fees and costs, and if I lose, I’ll work for free.