Posted by: Lara's Services Group LLC on May 15, 2022
What Water Damage Can Be Covered by Your Insurance?
A water event can cause serious damage to a home if not caught right away. Floods, leaks, rain, or a busted pipe can create thousands of dollars in damage in less than an hour. Luckily, most homeowners insurance policies cover many water events, but not all. Do you know what your plan covers?
We advise a yearly review of your homeowners insurance policy to see what will be covered if water damage occurs in your home. Not all homeowners insurance policies are the same, so it is important to know exactly what benefits you’ll receive versus just assuming a problem will be covered.
Most homeowners insurance covers sudden and internal water damage. It means the water damage comes from accidental tearing, cracking, burning, or bulging of steam, heating, AC, or fire protection systems. Other examples include damage caused by heavy rain, snowstorms, and vandalism. External instances of water damage covered by homeowners insurance include heavy rain, snowstorm, water from extinguishing a fire, and vandalism. With plumbing problems, insurance will cover burst pipes, overflowing toilets, and sinkholes that cause water damage to your home’s structure, but it won’t cover gradual leaks that the homeowner is responsible for fixing themselves.
Separate from homeowners insurance is flood insurance. Flood insurance will cover water damage from heavy rain, melting snow, flash flooding, and rising rivers or lakes, but is a separate policy a homeowner will have to purchase.
While homeowners insurance seems to cover the common causes of severe water damage in your home, it will not cover all instances.
As mentioned above, if water damage occurs due to an unresolved maintenance issue, you will end up footing the bill instead of insurance. Other unique instances like flooding, sewer backups, and groundwater flooding are not covered by homeowners insurance, but may be added with additional policies.
If your home is impacted by water damage, call us today to learn how we can help fix the issue. We work directly with many insurance companies and can take the stress off of your shoulders when it comes to coordinating between both companies.
Our team offers services that have helped thousands of residential customers recover from damages – both big or small!
Frequently Asked Questions
Most homeowner's policies cover most water damages, but not all water damages are created equal. There can be a lot of exceptions to coverage depending on the intricacies of your policy. This is why it's a good idea to be familiar with your policy and call your agent right away when damage occurs.
A good portion of water damage can be prevented by proper household maintenance. Routine plumbing maintenance as well as sump pump and appliance maintenance are effective ways to avoid preventable damages. If you live in a cold climate, preparing your home for the winter can also help avoid damage. Finally, it's a good idea to regularly check the exterior of your home, particularly your roof, for damage to ensure water isn't unexpectedly leaking into your home.
Identifying the source of the water damage is one of the first steps in both the insurance claim process and before beginning to dry out and repair the damaged areas. After all, if you replace a sagging, wet ceiling that was caused by a roof leak but don't fix the roof, too, the next rainstorm will start the cycle all over again. The buckling to your hardwood floor could be caused by a leaking pipe. We will pinpoint the exact cause of your water damage and make sure the source is repaired. We make sure your restoration job is done right the first time.
That depends on the types of materials that were affected by water. Drywall, carpet, and hardwood floors will take longer to dry than other materials in the space. We use moisture meters throughout the process and in many different locations to gauge the moisture levels and will continue to adjust our fans and dehumidifiers to achieve an efficient but effective dry time. The bare minimum of "three days to dry" may only produce a surface dry, but can still leave behind moisture levels that create an ideal environment for mold to grow.
Water damage insurance claims depend on a few different criteria. Ultimately, that's a question you'll have to clarify with your insurance company. However, we can tell you that the viability of water damage insurance claims depends primarily on what caused the damage (storm, burst pipe, plumbing malfunction, localized flood, sump pump failure, etc.). Some insurance policies will outline scenarios that will NOT be covered without specific riders like flood insurance, or sump pump failure insurance.
Contacting a restoration contractor as well as your insurance adjuster at the same time is a good idea, because the restoration contractor will help make sure that not only will the water extraction and dry out be covered, but the rebuild process that should follow. If the full scope of the claim isn't outlined and agreed upon from the start, there may be issues down the line, and property owners may find themselves having to pay out of pocket to get the property completely back to normal.
Most homeowners start trying to remove the water themselves before they realize they'll need to contact their insurance company about a claim so they can call in a water damage restoration company. However, standing water around anything with a power cord or outlet or sagging ceilings makes the area unsafe. Also, many insurance claims require documentation of the loss BEFORE any work is done, including removing the water. Always take plenty of photos of the damage you see before taking any action to start cleaning up the mess. Your restoration contractor will be able to back up your insurance claim scope with the necessary technical documentation as well.
If the water damage involves Category 1 water (clean and free of microbes and bacteria), many of your personal belongings can be salvaged. Category 2 water would include other water sources, including rainwater, that, while not containing biohazards or sewage, still pose health risks and the potential for destructive microbial growth and mold. A water damage restoration technician will help you sort through the contents of the property to determine what can be safely dried, what can be restored by a textile/contents technician, and what can't be saved or salvaged. There are off-site facilities in the area that specialize in restoring water-damaged contents. Your restoration team will document all of the contents leaving the property for restoration or disposal for your records and also for reimbursement from your insurance company.