Contents Coverage Under an NFIP Flood Insurance Policy
About half of the calls I received from Hurricane Sandy victims that have been wrongfully denied or underpaid by their flood insurance company are disputing the amount they have been paid on their contents coverage. Under the residential Standard Flood Insurance Policy (SFIP) issued through the National Flood Insurance Program, contents coverage must be purchased separately, and a separate deductible is applied. In order for the contents to be covered, the contents must be owned by the insured or family members of the insured’s household, or at the insured’s option, within the limits of liability of the policy, by the insured’s guests or servants.
What many homeowners and adjusters fail to realize is that contents are covered while stored in the dwelling or in another fully enclosed building at the described location. This will typically include personal items in a garage, detached garage, shed or appurtenant structures (second home located on the property, garage with living quarters, or other structure that is attached to a foundation with rigid walls). If missed, personal items located in these areas can be worth thousands or tens of thousands of dollars to the policyholder.
Unfortunately, with the exception of a very few items, personal property items located in a basement are not covered.
About the Author: Christopher W. Gerold is an attorney in Wolff & Samson’s Disaster Recovery Claims Group. Chris represents homeowners, condominium associations and businesses with their Sandy related insurance claims with a special focus on flood insurance. For more information on flood insurance and ways Wolff & Samson can help you with your flood insurance claim, please contact Chris at (973) 530-2061.