If you’re searching for how to get your insurance to pay for water damage caused to your home or property, this post should help.
The majority of homeowner insurance policies will assist in covering water damage if the cause was accidental and sudden. Per the Insurance Information Institute, homeowners insurance may assist in paying for the repair, for example, if your drywall has been drenched after a rupture in your water heater or in the case of an upper-level pipe burst and water causes the ceiling below to become saturated.
If too much water is in your home (and inevitably in the wrong places) it usually leads to miserable, damp and soggy cleanup operation. Then there is the cost of the ensuing damage to add up and the additional stress factors of whether some or maybe all of the expense may or may not be covered by your homeowners’ insurance.
Often, as is the case with so many other matters of insurance the answer will be: “It depends.” Below is a rundown of what insurance will and will not cover when your home is subjected to getting wet the wrong way.
What’s Usually Covered?
Generally speaking, most policies cover damage they interpret as: “internal and sudden.” This would include, for example, faulty, frozen or burst plumbing, an accidental occurrence of an overflowed appliance, like a toilet, tub or washing machine; damage caused by water when extinguishing a fire, and water seepage into the house from a leaking roof (although damage to the roof itself would likely not be covered.) Usually, you can also generally rely on damage from a snowstorm or rain and from the mold that results from damage. And should one of the local kids, turn your hose on while you are out and push it through a crack in your window, you will be glad to know Insurance more than likely will cover most of the ensuing damage as well.
What’s Not Covered Most Likely?
Rain damage is more than likely covered by your insurance, but do not expect much help after flooding. Generally, your coverage will be voided if the rain that damages your home has first touched the ground. Using that as an example, it effectively rules out damage from not only floods but also from most ground seepage. For example. were rain to cause a rise in the water table and then some of the water leaked into the basement of your property.
So for flood coverage, you will have to purchase additional flood insurance and that may be a very worthwhile investment if you live in a high-risk area that is prone to flooding.
It is worth remembering you also will not be covered for damage from water that makes its way into your home through plumbing. The insurance company is likely to deny the claim, for example, if a flood is sent into your home as a result of a water-sewer line back up. And if the insurance company determines negligence to be the cause. So, if a rain gutter that was crumbling finally failed during a storm and then sending a torrent of water through one of your open windows – you probably will not have good fortune in getting the insurance company to pay!
Dwelling coverage helps pay for damage to the structure of your home or property if it is damaged by a covered pipe. If a pipe suddenly bursts and damages a wall, the cost of repairs may be partially or fully covered by your dwelling coverage.
Personal Property Coverage
If your property is considered a covered risk, personal property coverage helps to pay for damage to your belongings. For example, if a burst pipe results in a drenched bookcase or computer, the personal property coverage will help to repair or replace the damaged items.
One thing to remember is a deductible will likely apply before your coverage kicks into action. There may also be coverage limits that come into play. It is always best to read your policy to thoroughly understand how much coverage your policy provides. Your agent can help you adjust the levels of your coverage to fit your specific situation or answer any policy-related questions you may have.
Filing A Water Damage Claim
Having determined your insurance policy will be likely to cover the damage water has done to your home, here are the steps you should follow to ensure it is most likely your claim will be approved.
- Document the damage and act quickly. It is vitally important once you have discovered water damage in your home to contact the insurer as soon as you can. Take photos of everything that has been damaged as well as pictures of the areas that have been affected. You should also take photos of the source of the water like the hole in the roof or the burst pipe. If you have pictures from before the incident, you should find them so the assessor can be shown how the area appeared before damage was caused.
- Prepare further information. The company who carries your homeowner’s insurance will ask you many questions to determine if the damages are indeed covered by your policy. The representative will also be able to assess if the damaged caused exceeds the deductible on your policy. if you are covered, the damaged will be assessed by an adjuster. If temporary repairs are needed before the adjuster has the opportunity to see the damage caused, ensure you take plenty of photographs and you keep receipts for any materials you may have purchased. It may be possible to get reimbursement for these costs.
- Maybe getting your own repair estimate. Not usually a requirement nonetheless obtaining the services of a contractor to make an evaluation of the water damage can arm you with an estimate so you can make a fair comparison. An estimate that is independent can be particularly useful in the event the insurance adjuster only makes a low offer since you have the information you need to negotiate the offer upwards.
- You should not expect the complete settlement. Once a reasonable settlement has been agreed upon for the cost of repairs, usually the insurer will send you around 50% as an advance to get the repairs underway and then send you the final half upon completion minus the deductible you have the responsibility to pay.
Is Flood Damage Covered By Homeowners Insurance?
No type of flood damage, no matter the water source is covered by a standard policy for homeowners. For example, flooding can be caused by ground that is saturated, can occur from storms, surging or overflowing bodies of waters, lakes, rivers, ponds, and oceans. However, you may be able to purchase a flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance program.