Noble Public Adjusting Group is excited to share with our blog readers a great win in court for a Florida homeowner! The case involved an often confusing exclusion many Florida homeowner insurance policies contain concerning water damage. We will try to explain as clearly as we can. However, if you would like to read the case in its entirety visit this link from CaseLaw.com. Here is what happened.
It has long been a problem that many Florida insurance policies contain an exclusion for losses “caused by constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water over a period of 14 or more days.” This exclusion was the basis for a case that was won by a Florida homeowner suing his insurance provider in court in February 2018. The case is that of Hicks v. American Integrity Ins. Co. of Florida (5D17-1282).
While Mr. Hicks was out of town for more than 14 days, the water supply line to his refrigerator began leaking, slowly at first, then steadily increasing. By the time Mr. Hick’s returned his supply line was discharging almost 1000 gallons of water a day. When Mr. Hicks’ filed his insurance claim with American Integrity, the company denied his claim based on the constant/repeated leakage/seepage exclusion. Mr. Hicks then sued the insurance company for breach of contract. American Integrity Insurance Co. of Florida argued in court that the loss was excluded. Mr. Hicks argued the damage to his house that occurred within the first 13 days was covered because the exclusion only applied to losses occurring after 14 days.
Florida Homeowner Wins Seepage/Leakage Exclusion Court Case
Initially, the court ruled in favor of the insurance company. However, Mr. Hicks appealed and the court reversed the original decision with a partial summary judgment in favor of Mr. Hicks for damage that occurred within the first 13 days of the loss. The court concluded that American Integrity can then try “to prove that a particular loss was sustained after the 13th day and is therefore not covered under the language of the exclusion.”
Mr. Hicks won the case due to three distinct points of his argument in court, 1. that he sustained a physical loss during the policy period, 2. that all losses occurring within the first thirteen days were covered, and 3. that he was entitled to $40,926.77 for losses occurring within the first thirteen days of the leak. Hicks attached to his motion an extensive report from a forensic general contractor, who calculated the amount of damage to Hicks’s home within the first thirteen days of the leak.
What a great win for homeowners! This is also a major setback for Florida insurance providers. Hopefully, this will bring a major change to the constant/repeated leakage/seepage exclusion in Florida, for this is not the first case of its kind. Another case won by a Florida homeowner was (Price v. Castle Key Indem. Co., 152 So. 3d 2 (Fla. 2d DCA 2014).
If you find yourself with water damage to your home, we want you to call Noble Public Adjusting Group. It is a strong possibility that if Mr. Hicks had hired Noble, he would never have had to end up in court in the first place. We know the language of insurance inside and out, and we love nothing more than going to battle for policyholders against big corporate insurance. Cases like the one above prove beyond a shadow of a doubt that you need someone on your side when filing an insurance claim, especially when it comes to water damage and the confusing and murky language of insurance. Below we have listed the major locations of Noble PA Group.
Noble Public Adjusting Group Locations
Florida – Our main office is located right in the heart of the Emerald Coast, on the west end of Panama City Beach. Starting in Northwest Florida from Pensacola through Destin -30A – Panama City Beach -Port St.Joe –Apalachicola, over to Tallahassee, down to Jacksonville –Daytona– and on to the Orlando office. However, We process claims for the entire state of Florida.
Georgia and Texas – We handle more appraisal claims for property owners than any other firm in the United States of America. Because we only have one office in both Georgia and Texas, most claimants in those states seek out our appraisal services, because it takes less time and travel than standard representation, which means fewer costs. Our areas of focus are Northwest Georgia surrounding Atlanta and it’s 100-mile radius, Southwest Georgia, close to the Florida line and the Dallas area of Texas.
Call us today to discuss this groundbreaking court case or any other concerns you may have when it comes to homeowner insurance. If you are ready for us to file your insurance claim for you, we would love to handle it.
Noble Public Adjusting Group
107 Amar Place Suite 103
Panama City Beach (West End), FL 32413