The scenario for discovering water damage is usually the same but with varying differences. Someone stumbles upon the water damage scene unexpectedly when they open a door, go down a staircase, step in a puddle, see it on the floor or hear it dripping. With the discovery there are immediate questions that arise, the most common is, “does homeowners insurance cover water damage?”
]Water damage is one of the most common claims insurance companies are contacted about for property. The answer to the question, does homeowners insurance cover water damage, is based upon the type of water, the source of water and the type of homeowners insurance you have.
The typical homeowners policy specifies the type of water damage they are willing to cover. The clause that identifies the type of water damage they cover is classified as “sudden or accidental” and the source must be from inside the home.
Water that comes from outside the home through wall cracks, foundation issues or community flooding is excluded in most cases. To have home protection from water that intrudes from outside the home many will look for special protection policies that cover water damage from outside the property.
As we just covered, water sources from within the property that are responsible for damage are considered water damage. Water damage and flood damage are two different things, even if you may have a degree of flooding, its not considered flood damage.
Flood damage comes from outside the property and is not the municipal water you are paying for each month. It is flooding from a natural source like storms, overflowing rivers and lakes, hurricanes and tornadoes. Often such flooding involves whole communities where multiple properties become flooded. If you live in a neighborhood that may be prone to such conditions it would be wise to look into specialty homeowners coverage.
It is important to carefully read the policy you have to be equipped to stand your ground when talking with your insurance company. The difference between these two can be obscured in a homeowners insurance policy making it confusing to understand or differentiate.
If your residential water damage claim is a covered peril as in sudden or accidental the provision for coverage will be under “dwelling coverage” on your policy. This coverage will cover water removal, cleanup, drying and all the related repairs.
If your damage is classified as a catastrophic claim and makes your home unlivable, than they will provide for your temporary housing as well. If you live in an upscale home the temporary housing they offer should be commensurate with the lifestyle you are accustomed to. Likewise if your home is a typical middle class home you will be housed but it may not be the Ritz-Carlton.
In cases where you have no access to your kitchen they will grant a designated amount of money each day to cover you and your families food needs. Same goes with the loss of a laundry room, there may be monetary assistance to cover the laundromat.
A good rule of thumb to remember is: Any water damage resulting from municipal water that is paid for each month is generally a covered loss. So, if a pipe suddenly bursts and damages a wall or a toilet overflows and damages laminate flooring then dwelling coverage may help pay for cleanup and repairs.
Experiencing water damage to your property is no small ordeal and often the damages are greater than initially thought. For instance water is capable of dissolving a variety of different substances that can violate the integrity of a homes structure. Water has commonly been referred to as the “universal solvent” because it dissolves more materials than any other liquid. The more water inevitably means the cost for water damage will be more, so it is important to find out does homeowners insurance cover water damage.
If your insurance company covers the expenses of repairing your home it is because you have purchased an adequate policy that covers certain types of water damage. This will be the silver lining to your water damage nightmare and with someone else footing the bill for getting your life back on track, you will not be in debt beyond your deductible.
Whether your home has been flooded by hammering rain or a plumbing issue like a sewer backup or broken water pipe, contacting your insurance company sooner than later is advisable. This should be your second call as we stated earlier a reputable water restoration company should be contacted first to inspect the damages and help you with explaining your damages to your insurance company.
Making The 1st Call To Insurance Company For Water Damage ClaimOften when you make that first phone call to your insurance carrier to open a claim, a trained individual on the other end will ask specified questions. Your answers will determine if you are covered for water damage or not. This is why it is important to talk first to a flood restoration company that can help you make a compelling case for entitled coverage.
When you call have your policy number ready along with the answer to these questions. When did you discover the water damage? Knowing the date of loss is important, however if you have been away for several days you may only need to give the day of departure. Where did the water come from that created the water damage? Knowing the source of where the water came from is going to be essential to determine coverage.
Most homeowner’s insurance policies will completely cover water damage if the cause is sudden or accidental and having originated from inside the home. So if the discovered water on your flooring came from a broken pipe, burst hot water heater or appliance such as a washing machine or dish washer the insurance company will almost immediately inform you of coverage.
When it gets a little complicated is when the water damage that is suppose to be sudden or accidental has evidences of being gradual or caused by neglect. When the presence of mold, dry rot and structural compromise is present than a red flag goes up and moving forward can be a challenge.
Remember that although the types of water damage sources mentioned above are covered by insurance they have to be sudden or accidental. If you disclose to the insurance carrier that the problem has been occurring for weeks or that you allowed water to sit unabated for several weeks you will be denied.
Homeowner’s insurance need to know you are responsible homeowner and you did not allow a water issue to languish for weeks and months creating expensive damages, mold and hefty repairs cost that could have been avoided if you responded promptly.
Responding immediately is the attitude the insurance company will maintain. If you allowed water issues to go on making more significant destruction to your home, they feel this is on you and why should they pay for your irresponsibility.
Of course there is a logic that exist which most individuals will recognize. If you have a leaky faucet that can be fixed for pennies but ignore it for months and later you have expensive water damage, the insurance carrier will hold you responsible and deny coverage.
If your water damage is sudden or accidental than make sure you do not mention anything about water issues in the past. Bringing up a leaking faucet from a year ago or a puddle of water found by a toilet a month ago will only confuse the sudden or accidental requirement and give the insurance company an excuse to deny coverage.
Your answers to all questions should be short, to the point and there is nothing wrong with yes, no and I don’t know. Once you have answered the question to, does homeowners insurance cover water damage, work should begin as soon as possible.
The most common type of water damage in Southeast Michigan is basement flooding from a sewer or drain. Heavy rains, roots clogging drains and thawing snow are responsible for most flooded basements and ironically this is the one type of water damage many will be horrified to discover they are not covered for. Basements that flood from a failed sump pump, sewer backup or drain overflow are not covered under a normal insurance policy. This type of water is considered as waste water and requires a special insurance policy. The policies can be purchased by homeowners from their insurance carriers for an additional amount usually not very costly at all. The amounts of coverage vary from $5,000.00 to $10,000.00.
The policy is called, “backup of sewer or drain”, and must be purchased in order for coverage to be afforded to property owners when basements flood. If you have purchased “backup of sewer or drain” coverage, than find out what limits you have as most policies are for either $5,000.00 or $10,000.00. Some companies offer limits as high as $20,000.00 which is still less than could be necessary if you have a large and ornately finished basement.
Personal Property Coverage Helps Replace Water Damaged ContentsPersonal property coverage helps pay for damage to your personnel belongings if they are damaged by water. An example of this would be if you have a burst pipe that results in water getting to your computer, bookcase and clothing there should be coverage to help pay to repair or replace the damaged items.
Your homeowner’s policy should be capable of covering damages caused by leaky faucets, hot water heater leaks and refrigerator leaks. Water damage in a kitchen, laundry room or bathroom can cause extensive damage and require very costly repairs. Water damage from a toilet leak or broken or frozen water pipe is a covered loss as well under the dwelling coverage of a policy.
If a water using appliance fails and suddenly and accidentally floods property than the resulting water damage is covered. If your washing machine fails during the discharge cycle and floods your property there should be no denial of coverage. If your refrigerator supply line breaks and floods the kitchen there should be coverage for cleanup and repairs.
No one wants to hear they are not covered after asking, does homeowners insurance cover water damage? So what are some of the types of water damage that will not be covered by insurance? If your kitchens sink base cabinet has become rotted by continual water presence that is considered a pre-existing water damage issue that was neglected. If you have had water buildup or dripping around a rooms ceiling each time it rains for several years and finally get mold, there would be no coverage.
Water damage coverage for damages from a leaking dish washer would be covered, but the repairs or replacement of the broken dish washer would not be. If your washing machine breaks and floods the basement then the damages would be covered, but the repair or replacement of the washing machine would not.
Call Action Extraction today if you have any questions on water damage or want to learn tips on preventing water damage. We are a premiere water damage restoration company serving all Southeast Michigan.