Judge Rules Against Couple in Hurricane-related Insurance Case

GULFPORT, Miss. Aug. 15, 2006 -- There's a ruling in a case that'll have repercussions for lots of hurricane victims.

A federal judge say a Mississippi couple can't collect damages from the storm surge caused by Hurricane Katrina, because their insurance policy clearly excluded flood coverage.

Paul and Julie Leonard sued Nationwide Mutual Insurance. The couple claimed their home had more than $130,000 in damage from the storm, but their insurer paid $1,661.17.

Paul Leonard testified that the insurance agent told him they didn't need flood insurance and misled him into thinking his policy covered all hurricane damage.

Had the Leonards won, it could've set a precedent for other insurance challenges.

The judge is ruling the couple can be compensated for water damage that they can prove resulted from high winds.

Copyright 2006 Associated Press. All rights reserved. This material may not be published, broadcast, rewritten, or redistributed.