When it comes to home insurance claims, water is one of the most common causes of damage. As a homeowner, having knowledge of water damage claims can be helpful for you down the line, if you ever happen to find yourself suffering a similar loss.
The first step in this process is becoming aware of the different types of possible water damage that could occur, especially in states like Florida that are prone to storms and flooding. However, there are many more causes of water damage than the natural elements that can reach people from New Jersey and the Carolinas all the way to Texas.
Types Of Water Damage In a Home
There are 6 main causes of water damage, in particular, that should be acknowledged among homeowners, in efforts to prevent them as much as possible. Keep reading to find out what the risks are and whether or not they are typically recognized by the average insurance policy.
Storms are among the most highly recognized causes of water damage in homes. Those who live in areas that are prone to natural disasters are increasingly aware of the associated risks and are advised to seek out a corresponding insurance policy.
Homeowners who could be affected by hurricanes and other tropical storms can rest assured that their insurer will cover any damages that occur during the storm season. Most insurance companies are not, however, so lenient with other causes of water damage.
Flooding is another very common cause of water damage that plagues thousands of homes and properties each year. These types of disasters can be caused by anything from increasingly heavy rains to overflows in channels or melting snow.
The danger of flooding is prevalent in many regions throughout the United States and is a cause for worry among many homeowners.
The accidental or sudden discharge of water in a home is almost exactly what it sounds like. That is any kind of presence of water that was completely unplanned and could not have otherwise been prevented.
Accidental/Sudden Discharge of water in a home can come from any of these common sources:
- Steam boiler
- Hot water tank
- Air conditioner
- Heating system
When a sewer overflow occurs, sewer water is discharged into the surrounding homes and neighborhoods.
A sewer overflow/backup situation is commonly mistaken for an accidental discharge of water, but this is actually not the case. Instead, this issue is viewed separately in the eyes of the insurance company, which is an important fact to keep in mind as a homeowner.
Gradual Water Damage
Gradual water damage, on the other hand, is almost the complete opposite of accidental/sudden discharge. Instead of a surprise overflow of water, this type of damage starts with a smaller event, such as a leak or drip, and escalates into a bigger problem over time.
Here are some examples of water damage that happen gradually:
- Leaking pipes
- Seepage through cracks
- Corrosion/deterioration of surfaces
Water damage that is related to mold is considered to be under the same umbrella as gradual water damage, meaning that it occurs over an extended period of time. When mold is present in a home, it was most likely caused by water getting into certain areas and going undetected, which can be viewed as neglectful on the homeowner’s part.
What Kinds Of Water Damages Are Covered By Insurance?
As previously explained, many different types of water damage can occur within a home. Some of these circumstances may be covered partially or fully by insurance, while other claims will be fully denied.
The separation between water damage that is covered by insurance and water damage that is not, essentially comes down to how it occurred exactly. To be more specific, insurance companies will look at whether the damage occurred accidentally or gradually, and will offer assistance accordingly. https://www.thebalance.com/how-to-handle-water-damage-claims-3860314
Accidental Water Damage
All types of accidental water damage are normally covered by home insurance policies. This includes anything sudden or unplanned, such as a pipe that spontaneously busts and releases water inside the property.
The main thing that insurance companies look for in these situations is the role of the homeowner. If the events that cause water damage could not possibly be prevented by the homeowner through regular maintenance, the company will most likely grant a settlement check to repair the loss.
What Kinds Of Water Damages Might Not Be Covered By Insurance?
Just like many types of water damage are covered by most home insurance policies automatically, there are a few causes that, unfortunately, do not make the list. While this determination will vary based on individual coverage, the below events will most likely not be written into your insurance policy, unless otherwise indicated. https://www.policygenius.com/homeowners-insurance/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-water-damage/
Gradual Water Damage
Any kind of water damage that occurs gradually is generally not covered by insurance. Gradual water damage consists of any kind of leaks or drips that slowly worsen until repairs or replacements are necessary. This also typically includes water damage that is related to mold, due to the long amount of time that is needed for any kind of growth to appear.
So, why is this type of damage not covered or recognized by insurance companies? The answer to this question ties directly back into the responsibilities of the homeowner. While it is true that accidental leaks and openings can let water into a home at any given time, the progression of the problem becomes a product of negligence.
A responsible homeowner is expected to keep up with their home and property, meaning that potential damages should be stopped at the source, as a result of a thorough and frequent inspection. In the eyes of the insurance company, these types of damages could have been prevented, and will not be reimbursed in most cases.
While the overflow and backup of sewer water are covered by some home insurance companies, the average policy will not include this automatically. Although this does not generally come in the basic insurance package, homeowners are given the option to add it on for an additional charge. Therefore, if you feel that you might be at risk for this kind of problem, it would be a good idea to go over your insurance policy thoroughly and add services as needed.
Damage From Flooding
Flooding is another cause of water damage that is not usually covered in basic home insurance policies. The reason behind this standard has everything to do with the business end for the insurance company.
To be more specific, this is due to the high settlement amounts that would need to be paid out to repair damages from flooding in any given area. The monthly premiums that are paid out by the homeowners would not total up to an amount that is even close to what would be needed in the event of a disaster.
Even though floods might not be covered by your insurance policy, there is no need to worry if you are located in a high-risk area. There are separate policies, called flood insurance, that are designed specifically for this purpose. However, homeowners who do not have this coverage should be aware of what their home insurance policy includes, especially when moving forward in filing a water damage claim.
How To Avoid Water Damage Claim Denial
After suffering a loss from water damage following a natural disaster or accident within your home, the last thing you want to hear is that your claim was denied by your insurance company. Unfortunately, the denial of water damage claims is much more common than you would think.
Instead of taking another loss under the chin, there is more you can do as a homeowner to avoid getting your water damage claim denied. Whether you have already found yourself in the middle of a messy claim with your insurance company or you are simply taking precautions before it happens to you, take the tips below into account to help you navigate these tricky waters.
Look Over Your Policy
The first thing that you can do as a responsible homeowner is to go over your insurance policy thoroughly. Ideally, this should be done with an agent or advisor before you put the pen to paper and purchase the policy as a whole. By doing this, you will be able to break down the fine print of the policy and decode any complicated wording before you agree to something that you might not fully understand
When it comes to insurance policies, there are quite a few damages that will probably be excluded from your agreement without your knowledge, until you find yourself in a time of need. You can never be too careful when your needs as a homeowner are on the line. If the insurance policy in question does not cover everything you feel that you might need, skip it and find one that you don’t have to compromise on.
Keep Up With Home Maintenance
One of the most important things that you can do as a homeowner is to maintain your home regularly. When you keep up with scheduled maintenance and repairs, you will be able to rest assured that you are doing everything in your power to avoid any major water damages.
While there is always a possibility that sudden and accidental water damage will occur in your home no matter what, your insurance company will be more inclined to accept your claim if you can show them that you have done your due diligence.
This is why it is always important to keep receipts and reports of anything that has been done to your home, from the repair of a leaking pipe to a full roof reconstruction. You should keep records of everything, regardless of how small it may seem. These habits will prove to be very helpful in case you need to use them throughout the claims process.
Seek Help From a Public Adjuster
Before you can go forth with a water damage claim properly, you will need to ensure that you completely understand everything your policy covers in regards to your home. As discussed, there are most likely several exclusions written in the fine print of your policy that you might not be able to detect.
This is completely understandable, as the average homeowner is not expected to be an expert in the field of home insurance claims for water damage. However, there is something that you can do to keep yourself informed and make sure that you are getting everything you can out of your water damage claim.
Before going through with the claims process, it is recommended that you hire a public adjuster to assist and guide you, guaranteeing the best possible outcome of your claim.
As professionals in the industry with years of experience filing claims and dealing with insurance companies, they know the ins and outs of the business enough to protect you and retrieve the settlement you deserve.
Think of a public adjuster like a good lawyer. In the midst of a case, you would not be attempting to navigate the legal system without your representative speaking for you. This is strikingly similar to the process of filing a home insurance claim.
While most of us would like to think that our insurance companies will have our backs in any time of need, this idea is usually nothing more than a fantasy. In situations where your insurance company might try to trip you up in efforts to offer you a lowballed settlement or deny your claim altogether, your public adjuster will be there to guide you as you rebuild your life.
If you’ve got water damage to your home or another kind of property and you’re displaced because of it, reach out to Bulldog Adjusters to find out how we can help you handle the hassle of your home insurance company. Here at Bulldog Adjusters, we work our hardest to make sure that you get the largest possible settlement from your insurance company!