Water damage is one of the most difficult challenges a homeowner can face. It can occur at any time and in all areas around your home, whether it’s the basement, kitchen, bathroom, or living room!
Fortunately, experts in the field can perform water clean up and repair to remove all signs of water damage and restore the area to its original condition. However, repairs can often be costly, depending on the degree of damage.
If you have homeowners’ insurance, the repair costs may be covered by your policy, although the damage and extent of coverage varies depending on your policy.
Types of Water Damage Covered By Homeowners Insurance
Generally speaking, your homeowners’ insurance will cover water damage caused by events deemed “sudden and accidental” and are not “gradual” like a dripping pipe. By this definition, any of the following causes of water damage should be covered:
- Accidental leaks – any leaks that occur due to broken appliances or a leak in your home’s plumbing system.
- Burst pipes – if your pipes suddenly burst because of extreme water pressure or if it has frozen, then the resulting water damage is covered. However, there will be no coverage if your pipes freeze as a result of a failure to keep your home adequately heated.
- Water from fire suppression activities – water damage from the action of a sprinkler system or fire hose to extinguish flames is covered.
- Roof leaks – water damage caused by natural phenomena, such as a fallen tree, is covered. However, the extent of coverage will be limited to a certain amount of time. Insurers require that you take the necessary precautions to mitigate the damage since they won’t cover any additional water damage.
- Storms – this covers damage from heavy rainfall, hail, and snow.
- Ice dams – water damage due to ice buildups in gutters and other parts of your home may be covered as long as they are sudden and are not caused by a lack of maintenance.
- Mold damage – this is considered an extension of water damage caused by a common peril and not due to neglect or lack of maintenance. In this case, insurance will cover part or the entire cost of mold removal.
Types of Water Damage Not Covered By Homeowners Insurance
Standard homeowners’ insurance policies won’t cover water damage when it is not caused by an accident or a sudden, unexpected occurrence. These include any of the following:
- Floods – although standard homeowners’ insurance covers water damage from storms, it doesn’t cover damage from water movements such as floods, storm surges, and overflowing rivers. You will need a separate policy for flood insurance, especially if you live in a flood-prone area like Kansas City.
- Intentional acts – water damage that comes from acts done purposefully isn’t covered.
- Negligence or lack of maintenance – any problems caused by a failure to perform regular maintenance on your home’s plumbing system or other parts aren’t covered.
- Earthquake damage – damage from the natural movement of the ground through an earthquake, mudslide, or landslide will not be covered as well. A separate earthquake insurance policy covers coverage for earthquake damage.
- Water backup – if your home gets damaged due to water backing up through a sewer or drain, standard homeowners’ insurance will not cover it. This, too, requires special coverage.
- Leaks from water structures – homeowners’ insurance won’t cover water damage caused by leaks from a swimming pool or similar structure.
- Sump pump failure – if flooding occurs as a result of a sump pump failure, the resulting damage won’t be covered as well.
How Do I File A Water Damage Claim?
When you’ve confirmed that your insurance policy covers water damage, it’s important to notify your insurer right away. Usually, they will first verify your claims as the first step of the process. Initially, they will ask you a series of questions and then dispatch a claims adjuster to determine the extent of the damage and will give you an estimate.
Make sure to take pictures of the damage caused as well as the source. If there’s microbial growth in the area, take photos of it as well. If your insurer requires you to implement mitigating measures, those should be taken care of first before the adjuster sees the damage. Remember to keep all the receipts of materials purchased and have them reimbursed later.
Alternatively, a water damage company or contractor can be hired to perform emergency repairs and provide you with a reliable estimate of the repairs. This is especially helpful if the adjuster’s quote is too low. In this case, the estimate provided to you by the contractor can be used to negotiate a more reasonable settlement. If both parties agree, the insurer will sign you a check for half of the total payment to begin repairs. The remaining amount will be given upon completion of repairs, minus any deductibles.
Who Do I Call For Water Clean Up?
When faced with water damage, it’s crucial to act swiftly. Signs of water damage left unchecked can become disastrous, especially when the source of damage isn’t addressed immediately. For damage mitigation and restoration, call a reliable water damage company to restore your property to its pre-loss condition. Call Restoration 1 of Kansas City today!