As long as you own a house (or commercial and residential building), you won’t be able to escape water damage. It can come in many forms, such as clogged gutters, broken or leaking pipes, appliance leaks, sewage backups, condensation, mold growth, faulty plumbing, toilet overflows, or flooding. But, whatever form it might take, it is one of the most common cause of damage to your home or property.
Aside from the hassle of staying out of the affected part of the house for hours or weeks, it can be costly too. According to Angi, a home services platform, homeowners typically shell out $3,631,on average, to fix water damage in their houses. Of course, you could spend as low as $450 or as high as $15,000, depending on the source and extent of the water damage in your home and where you are located in the country.
While fixing water damage might not be cheap, it is critical to keep your home functioning and safe. If left untreated, small leaks can grow into mold and mildew issues that are not only an eyesore but also dangerous to your family’s health and destructive to the integrity of your house.
Fortunately, your insurance may well likely take care of most of the expenses. Home insurance will mostly cover water damage caused by a sudden, unforeseen circumstance, though not gradual damage or wear and tear.
So, before making a claim, it is important that you know the cause of the water damage in your house or property and if your insurance will offset the costs of fixing it. It might help if you have an idea of how your insurance provider defines water damage, as it can help you determine if the issue you’re facing falls within its coverage or not.
Additionally, whether you have suffered property damage due to fires, winter storms, or other natural and man-made disasters, a private adjuster will level the playing field in an unfamiliar claims process and get you a fair and equitable settlement. An insurance company may not have your best interest in mind so it’s imperative to get outside help right away.
What is Covered By Water Damage Insurance?
The key to getting coverage from your insurance for water damage is this: sudden and accidental. This refers to the cause of the water damage, i.e., it’s something you did not expect and therefore did not prepare for. For instance, if your pipes burst unexpectedly and you’ve always ensured that they were in tip-top shape, then it’s most likely that your insurance policy will pay for it. So, your insurance policy will pay for water damage with limitations and exceptions.
Insurance coverage will also depend on whether or not you’ve taken the appropriate measures to prevent possible water damage issues from occurring, i.e., maintenance. If your house lacks proper maintenance, you have a slim to no chance of getting that water damage covered by your insurance.
If you hold an HO-3 policy, which is the most common type of insurance policy in the market today, you will likely have coverage for water damage in your house or garage unless expressly excluded in your policy. HO-3 policies also have personal property coverage which lists the specific perils it will cover.
It bears repeating that you will have to learn under what scenarios you can make a claim for and what could be denied. You can read your policy or reach out to your insurance company to understand their coverage terms.
Most Common Water Damage Insurance Claim Types
Here are some of the most common water damage problems that your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover.
If your pipes burst resulting in water damage in your home, your insurance will offset costs for repair. This includes those that result from frozen pipes unless you did not keep your house heated properly. If you have personal property coverage, then it can help defray costs to replace any furniture that got damaged too.
If water damage such as from a burst pipe resulted in mold, then your insurance might pay for their removal. Again, this only applies to mold that resulted from a sudden or accidental water damage. So, if you have mold issues due to neglect or failure to maintain your home, your insurance will not pay for that.
This includes leaks in your plumbing or from broken appliances unless these were not properly maintained. For instance, if you have a slow-leaking pipe that you failed to fix and caused mold or rot, your insurance company will deny your water damage insurance claim because of your negligence to fix or replace the problematic pipes.
If your roof got ruined from a storm or an accident, such as a tree falls on it, the resulting water damage will be covered unless you were negligent in fixing the damage within a reasonable time period. In this case, the water damage will not be covered due to your failure to repair the roof to prevent such damage to occur in the first place.
Ice dams can be a problem especially if you live in the northern part of the country. You’ll likely have an ice dam when there’s heavy snow during the day and then experience freezing temperatures at night. This creates a ridge of ice at the edge of your roof. This basically becomes a barrier that prevents melting snow from properly draining off your roof. Even if you are properly maintaining your roof, the water that pools there can ruin it and leak into your house. Once inside, it can result in water damage to ceilings and walls.
Water damage after a fire
If there’s a fire in your house and you have a sprinkler system, that water can cause damage. The same can be said with firefigthers hosing down a flame. Water damage resulting from these cases can be covered by your insurance. However, insurance companies will also look at the cause of the fire and if they find that the cause is due to your negligence, then your claim will be denied.
Storm-related water damage
While floods may not be covered by your home insurance, it can offset costs to repair water damage caused by heavy rain, hail, or windstorms. These perils, as your HO-3 insurance policy might call them, are typically covered. For instance, if a storm destroys your roof, the resulting water damage might be covered. Or, if during a strong windstorm a debris breaks a window which allows rain to pour in and ends up ruining your floors, your insurance will pay for that.
Malfunctioning or broken appliances
If your washing machine, water heater, or other appliance breaks down and results in damage to parts of your house, your insurance policy might cover costs to repair and replace items destroyed by the resulting water damage. However, any needed repair or replacement of the malfunctioning appliance will not be covered.
Your insurance might also cover sudden and accidental water overflow. For instance, if your washing machine’s water outflow hose got blocked accidentally and resulted in the flooding of your laundry room, your insurance might pay for the resulting water damage. On the other hand, if you were trying to fix some issue by yourself or tried to experiment by removing some parts of the appliance, then your insurance will not be approving your claim.
Some insurance companies offer sewer backup endorsement. This is optional, however, but it will pay for the damage caused by water from a sewer or drain that backed up into your house. You should consider including this in your insurance policy if you have an older plumbing system or have below-ground areas in your home like a basement.
Water damage insurance claim types
In conclusion, remember, whether you need help with property damage insurance claims due to fires, winter storms, or other natural and man-made disasters, a private adjuster will level the playing field in an unfamiliar claims process and get you a fair and equitable settlement.