Have you thoroughly read all of the terms of your insurance policy? If
you’re like the overwhelming majority of homeowners, the answer
to this question probably isn’t a resounding “yes.”
In fact, most people have scarcely even skimmed the full text of their
home insurance policy, and are unfortunately surprised to find out what
is and isn’t covered when they need their policy the most. For example,
insurance companies often refuse to cover damages that may have been partially
caused by something that isn’t covered in the policy through an
anti-concurrent cause (ACC) provision, and most people discover this after
it’s too late and their home has sustained serious damage.
What is an ACC?
To put it simply, an ACC is a clause included in most first-party insurance
policies that essentially states that any damage that was
partially caused by something that isn’t covered by the policy will
not be covered. In other words, if your home sustains damage from multiple
causes, any damage caused or partially-caused by something that isn’t
covered will not be covered by your insurance claim.
These clauses could be extremely detrimental to policy holders who face
a tragedy like so many here in Houston have recently done. For example,
if your home sustained damage from both high winds and flooding during
Hurricane Harvey, you probably sustained both wind and flood damage. The
majority of homeowner’s policies don’t cover damage caused
by flooding, but do cover wind damage. However, because there’s
a mixture of damage that could be attributed to both of these causes,
homeowner’s insurance companies are often quick to deny claims that
they can attribute even partially to flood damage, which leads to policyholders
receiving payouts that are a small fraction of what they should have received
and need to fix their home.
Protecting Yourself & Your Home
An ACC provision is a “trap door” that allows insurance companies
to simply drop out of claims and absolve themselves of responsibility.
Damages with multiple causes are common during catastrophes like hurricanes,
and far too many people learn they’re not going to get the financial
relief they need to fix their home after it’s too late. Be sure
to talk to your insurer and find out if your policy has one of these provisions
included in it, and figure out how it might apply in a situation like
we have recently experienced as a result of Hurricane Harvey.
If you feel as though your insurance company is using one of these clauses
to get away from their responsibility to pay an otherwise legitimate claim,
you could have grounds to hold them responsible for bad faith, which means
you should not hesitate to speak with a Houston insurance attorney.
Call Patterson, P.C. today at (713) 489-1215 to request a consultation and find out more about
holding your insurance company accountable for your policy.