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Storm surge. As a hurricane closes the gap between sea and land, its winds push a huge volume of ocean water ashore, which is a storm surge. (Photo: Shutterstock)

With 20 days remaining in the already record-breaking 2020 hurricane season, it is likely that insurers will eventually be asked to cover hurricane-related water damages. Litigation stemming from hurricane damages can last for years. The distinction between the types of water that flooded the insured property could help an insurer to avoid court, the lengthy litigation process, and the associated costs.

The standard ISO property, homeowners and dwelling coverage forms each contain a water exclusion that extends to exclude loss caused by storm surge. It seems that recent hurricane paths have come further inland and resulted in an inordinate amount of flood loss. How can one determine if a loss in an inland area is from flooded rainwater or a storm surge?

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