We will often receive phone calls from clients who have discovered some sort of damage to their home or business and they want to know if the loss is covered by their insurance. In general, the answer is “it depends”. One of the primary conditions that are found in most covered losses is that the loss is “Sudden and Accidental”.
Most insurance policies are structured to provide coverage for things that occur unexpectedly. If your deck develops rot due to a misaligned downspout, the damage falls into a wear and tear or maintenance category. Insurance is not structured to cover this type of loss. If, however, a tree is blown down in a windstorm and it strikes your deck causing damage, you would have coverage under most homeowner’s policies. This damage is sudden and accidental.
In the end, it is up to the carrier to determine whether or not the loss is covered under the insurance contract. We as agents are required to notify the carrier in the event of a loss, especially when there is any chance of a medical or bodily injury claim but at first blush, when a client asks if their damage is covered the phrase “sudden and accidental” can get you going in the right direction.