Discovering an unwanted water home is always a headache: besides requisite water damage repairs & restoration, an owner has to deal with an insurer to cover incidental expenses. Reputable contractors that offer restoration services commonly undertale obligations to deal with policy providers, relieving clients of additional stress. However, it is always good to know all the aspects of the policy, so that potential problems wouldn’t put you off guard.
What sort of water damage should the typical home policy pay out? What is the procedure of claiming water damage? In what instances are claims denied? All answers are below.
Basic Home Policy & Its Coverage
Basic home insurance wraps several kinds of water damage. Basically, the settlement is determined by the policy type and the source of damage.
As a rule, a policy wraps the following types of water damage:
- Burst & frozen pipes. If pipes freeze due to sudden cold weather, the damage is likely to be covered. If an inspector discovers that damage occurred due to worn-out insulation of pipes, the claim can be denied.
- Water damage owing to malfunctioning appliances. The damage is compensated if it was incidental. In case your washing machine was leaking for several months and high moisture content led to mold growth, the insurer can deny your claim.
- Roof leaks. Incidental roof leaks are usually compensated; leaks resulting from wear and tear and improper maintenance aren’t paid out, thoug.
- Water damage resulted from fire extinguishing.
Insurance doesn’t wrap:
- Flooding. A basic homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover damages resulting from flooding. Hence, if you live in a flooding-prone region, consider purchasing additional flood insurance.
- Damage resulted from negligence and irregular maintenance. If the inspection proves that damage could be prevented by regular maintenance or proper repairs, coverage will be denied.
- Foundation leaks. In most cases, foundation leaks aren’t paid out by basic home insurance.
- Damage due to sump pump malfunction. Typically, insurers deny coverage for pump failure and associated damage.
- Drain backup. If the sewage pipe backs up to the house, most insurance providers will deny the claim if there is no special add-on to the policy.
Homeowner’s policy doesn’t cover damages resulting from lack of maintenance. For instance, if you ignore a leaky pipe in a bathroom for months and discover mold patches on walls and flooring, the insurance issuer will deny the claim following the results of inspection.
Many homeowners residing in areas prone to heavy rains and flooding decide on purchasing additional insurance against flooding. If you want to extend coverage, mold damage (if not included) and drain backup coverage can be added to the existing policy.
How to File a Water Damage Insurance Claim?
Note: The process can vary and depends on the policy type and insurer.
1. Whenever you’ve struck with the presence of unwanted water, the first thing to do is to contact specialists, a water damage repair service. Opt for a company offering emergency services, so that their specialists can inspect and evaluate the damage as fast as possible. If water can affect wiring, the fire department should be informed too. Turn off the water supply, if it is accessible. Remember not to enter standing water, you’d better wait till the pros arrive.
2. Collect photo and video evidence of damage: record both structural and interior damage, mold patches if any, destroyed furniture, and other personal items.
3. Call the insurance carrier to inform about the damage and initiate the claim process. Provide as many details as possible and schedule the inspection. Reread your policy to make sure the damage is an insured event.
You’d better be realistic in expectations: accurate documentation of maintenance records (as proof of regular service), photos and video of damages, and understanding of policy items might help in negotiations for the compensation.
How to Protect Your Home and Prevent Water Damage?
Normally, the conventional policy compensates incidental damage, while incidents that took place owing to lack of repairs and poor maintenance aren’t considered insurable events. Hence, leaky roof and plumbing issues should be fixed as soon as you notice them. First of all, repairs will cost you less because delays in addressing water issues lead to heavy damage and result in steep water mitigation costs.
Quite often, homeowners can avoid water damage if they repair piping leaks promptly and stick to regular maintenance:
- Inspect a roof at least twice a year and address any issues right away. Cracked or missing shingles should be replaced; gutters need to be cleaned regularly to prevent forming clogs. Remove leaves or snow from the roof — leaves and debris can clog gutters while melting and freezing snow might result in ice dams.
- Install smart leak detectors. Many options are available in the market; they automatically send alerts to your smartphone and email. You can find detectors that cut off the water automatically to prevent substantial damage to the property.
- Appliance inspection. Home appliances connected to the pipeline must be inspected regularly to prevent malfunctioning and water leakage. Twice a year check the hoses of a water heater, dishwasher, etc.; change them right away if required.
- Water heaters should be drained twice a year to prevent buildup of sediment.
With the first signs of water leaks contact water mitigation pros — many companies provide emergency services 24/7. In case of an insured accident, well-reputed local restoration contractors undertake a responsibility to deal with the insurer and assist with filing a claim.
In partnership with a restoration pro, navigation through policy terms, claiming damages, and compensation procedures are much easier.