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Lots of insurance questions in wake of Minnesota's water damage

Minnesotans across virtually every area of the state didn’t need to be informed that falling water was a problem last month. They merely had to look up at the sky.

In fact, many state residents spent much of June doing things like boarding up lower levels of their homes, piling up sandbags to ward against rising water levels on lakes and rivers and, perhaps, closely scrutinizing their insurance policies for clarification on coverage issues.

How bad was it?

According to meteorologists, it was the rainiest June ever recorded in the state.

And now the repercussions are staring many thousands of people directly in the face. Floodwaters have brought extensive damage to many public facilities in the Twin Cities metropolitan area and other areas of the state. Many roads have been washed out or otherwise compromised. Farmers have suffered badly.

Insurance recovery is likely to compensate for much of that damage, given the federal aid provided for losses above a stated level to public properties and the fact that flood-damaged crops and farm equipment are typically covered by insurance.

What about other cases, though? What about private property owners who have sustained storm-related structural damage to their residences?

Insurance can be tricky for such policy holders, given the riders and exclusions that insurers frequently tack on to and sometimes bury in insurance contracts. Additionally, and as we have noted in past select posts, insurance companies frequently maintain that losses were sustained owing to factors not protected against in a policy (e.g., it was water damage from a flood rather than a loss sustained from strong winds).

Minnesota Gov. Mark Dayton recently alluded to the lack of clarity in some policies, noting, for example, that insurers should clearly spell out a mudslide exclusion when one exists in a policy.

As the water levels now fall, many state residents will likely have questions and concerns regarding their insurance policies. An experienced insurance recovery attorney can answer them and provide rigorous representation that fully promotes their best interests in any insurance-related matter.

Source: Minneapolis Star Tribune, "32M in Minnesota public property flood damage -- for starters," Bill McAuliffe and Rachel E. Stassen-Berger, July 2, 2014

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