Many homeowner’s insurance policies have an anti-concurrent causation policy clause that can play a crucial role in the insurance claims process. For some, this clause has made the difference between a $150,000 payout and no settlement at all. If you live in a hurricane/flood area, it is imperative that you know whether your homeowner’s insurance policies contain an anti-concurrent causation clause.
Having to go through a hurricane with subsequent flooding is something most of those near the coast in Louisiana are familiar with and even plan for. Even so, sometimes, you can plan as carefully as possible and still end up on the wrong side of an insurance settlement. Attorney Peter Diiorio and the team at Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys want to be the advocate in your corner when life throws you a curve. We never hesitate to go toe to toe with a huge insurance company, demanding that the company follow through on the promises made to you.
What Is Concurrent Causation?
The method of handling losses or damages occurring from more than one cause is known as concurrent causation. For example, if a windstorm and a flood hit your home simultaneously, this is concurrent causation since two natural disasters have damaged your property at approximately the same time. Issues arise when your homeowner’s insurance policy covers only one of the causes of the damage.
For example, a hurricane’s wind damage may be covered under your homeowner’s policy, while flood damage is not—this would be known as an anti-concurrent causation clause. But, in some cases, not only does an anti-causation clause protect the insurance company from paying for both perils, it could protect them from paying for either peril. If damages from both causes are covered, then your insurance policy has a concurrent causation clause.
A Brief History of Anti-Concurrent Causation Clauses
In the 1980’s insurance coverage disputes revolved around concurrent causation and efficient proximate cause. Under concurrent causation, when a covered cause of loss contributed in some way to cause a secondary loss—even if that loss is excluded in the policy. The efficient proximate cause doctrine only afforded coverage when the covered peril was the predominating cause of the loss. Therefore, there would be no coverage when a covered cause of the loss only remotely contributed to a secondary loss.
To “solve” these issues and uncertainties, today’s policies often include an anti-concurrent causation clause that excludes coverage even when an excluded peril directly or indirectly contributes to a loss. The excluded peril remains excluded, regardless of any other cause or event that contributes either concurrently, or in any sequence, to the loss at hand. Although it seems an anti-concurrent causation policy would immediately stop a policyholder that experienced wind and flood damage from a hurricane from claiming flood damage, courts have observed certain limitations to the ACC.
What to Do If Your Property Was Damaged by a Hurricane and Flood—and Your Policy Includes an Anti-Concurrent Causation Clause
Hurricane damage may well be one of the primary areas where concurrent/anti-concurrent causation can significantly affect coverage. A homeowner could have their home severely damaged by hurricane-force winds (which should be covered under their homeowner’s policy) and have significant flood damage from the same storm (which is not covered without a separate flood insurance policy). Because of anti-concurrent causation clauses, that homeowner could conceivably receive no compensation for their hurricane claim.
Most jurisdictions enforce anti-concurrent causation language under freedom of contract. A policyholder enters an agreement with the insurer, and both parties are bound by the terms and language of that contract. Yet ACC clauses have not held up in other courts, and four states currently refuse to enforce anti-concurrent causation clauses (California, North Dakota, Washington, and West Virginia). While the insurance company may argue it is not liable for any hurricane damage under the ACC clause, the court may rule that the covered peril (the wind damage) was the predominant cause of the loss; therefore, the damage should be covered.
To fight back against an ACC clause in your policy, it’s necessary to argue that the predominant or proximate cause of the damage is covered under your policy. In other words, if your home is damaged by a hurricane and now has mold, you would argue that the majority of the damage was caused by the wind, not the mold. Thus, if the predominant cause of your loss is deemed to be wind, not mold, then the loss would be included, and your claim should be approved. It’s important to contact an attorney to understand your options.
How Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys Can Help With Your Anti-Concurrent Causation Policy
If your home has been damaged from a hurricane, then you find out your insurance will not pay due to an anti-concurrent causation clause; you may be, understandably, anxious, stressed, frustrated, and angry. Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys has an experienced team that can work on your behalf to challenge an ACC. We understand that if your insurance company refuses to pay for the damage, you could lose thousands—or hundreds of thousands of dollars. We never hesitate to take on big insurance companies and will do so for you. Contact Gulf Coast Insurance Attorneys, today.