Bad weather is here and will likely continue for several more months. There are lots of weather risks for moving & storage companies, but this article will only deal with water and flood damage.

The first issue is that water damage and flood damage are not the same things in insurance. “Flood” is generally defined in insurance policy exclusions as:

Flood, surface water, waves, tides, tidal waves, storm surge, overflow of any body of water, or their spray, mudslide or mudflow all whether driven by wind or not; Water that backs up from a sewer or drain; Water under the ground surface pressing on, flowing, or seeping through foundations, walls, floors or paved surfaces; basements, whether paved or not, doors, windows or other openings.

The “shorthand” version defines flood as water coming from below. So, what about water that comes from above? Such as rain falling through a hole in the roof, sprinkler leakage, broken pipes, etc. Those causes of water damage are generally covered by insurance – but every claim is different.

What should you do if water damage occurs in your vehicles or your warehouse from above or from below? Well, you certainly shouldn’t wait for an insurance adjuster to determine if the damage is covered by your insurance. You should immediately try to remediate the damage – dry things out, replace the soggy packing material, repack the property as soon as it is dry. Most cargo and warehouse policies will reimburse for these expenses – check with your insurance rep to be sure.

If remediation is not done, mold and mildew can develop in the wet household goods and packing material. Movers could be held liable for this kind of damage if immediate remediation is not undertaken. Most insurance contracts clearly exclude mold, mildew and bacteria injury or damage. Dry everything out as soon as possible to avoid mold.