Water damage is one of the most common insurance claims that is filed by homeowners, renters, and landlords every year. In 2018, almost one out of every four home insurance claims in the US stemmed from water damage. Some types of water damage claims may be covered by a home insurance policy, while others fall under flood insurance.
Here is a look at the most common water damage claims that are filed every year:
- Sewer backups
- Clogged toilets
- Foundation cracks
- Burst pipes
- Broken appliances
- Plumbing leaks
- Roof leaks
- Melting snow
- Heavy rain
It is important to keep in mind, however, that insurance will not cover every incident that falls under these categories.
A good rule of thumb to follow is that water damage that is sudden or accidental will often be covered by home insurance, while water damage occurring because of poor home maintenance or neglect, or more gradual water damage, is not likely to be covered.
Some specific examples of water damage that are typically covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy include a leaking roof, ice dams, frozen or burst pipes, sudden and accidental appliance or plumbing problems, and vandalism.
Meanwhile, water damage that is not usually covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy includes groundwater that has entered the basement, backups in a sewer or water pipe, leaks due to older corroded pipes, floodwater that has entered the basement, damage due to long-term leaky toilets or faucets that have gone unrepaired, and leaks due to old roofs that were not properly maintained. Fungus, rot, and mold are also not normally covered unless they have arisen due to a covered cause.
When you file a claim for water damage, your insurance company will send an adjuster to assess what caused the damage and the cost of the incident. They will evaluate several factors to determine whether you may have been able to reasonably prevent the leak, in which case they could deny coverage.
The factors they will evaluate to make this determination include:
- Whether any part of the damage comes from a previous leak or a new one
- The presence of any signs of deterioration that may have signaled an impending leak, such as rust
- The potential for the leak to have been caused by wear and tear or old age
- The location of the pipes involved or any other sources of damage
Keep in mind that flood damage is not normally covered by homeowner’s insurance policies.
What Should You Do If You Experience Water Damage in Your Home?
Here is a look at the steps you should take if your home experiences water damage and you want to make an insurance claim.
Try to Control the Problem
Act swiftly to prevent further water damage from taking place if you can do so safely. For example, shut off the water main in your home or turn off an individual water supply valve. You should also move any undamaged possessions out of the way of the water to prevent further damage.
Call Your Insurance Agent to Report the Claim
If you believe the water damage will be covered by your homeowner’s insurance or, reach out to your insurance company right away to report the incident. Many carriers have hotlines that are available around the clock to walk you through the claims process.
Document the Damages
Once you have filed the claim, take photos and videos to document all of the damages, including any standing water and all items that were damaged by it.
Clean and Dry the Area
Next, you should drain any standing water in your home to prevent further damage, such as water seeping down into your floors or spreading through the walls. Then, dry all of the water-damaged areas thoroughly to prevent the growth of toxic mold.
Stay on Top of Your Plumbing
One of the most common reasons for a water damage claim to be denied is a lack of maintenance on the part of the homeowner. One frequent reason for denial occurs when you notice a minor leak but do not do anything to address it right away because only a small amount of water is involved, and you believe there is plenty of time to rectify it. However, a small leak can eventually lead to a growing bulge in the wall and result in a major leak, which may prompt you to file a claim.
Your coverage is typically voided at the moment that you decide not to address the problem immediately as your insurance company will claim you did not carry out routine maintenance. Therefore, you should always contact a plumber immediately at the first sign of a leak so that it can be addressed properly.
Reach Out yo the Experienced Plumbers at O’Connor Plumbing
Proper maintenance is the best way to prevent plumbing problems and avoid insurers denying water damage claims. Reach out to the experienced plumbers at O’Connor Plumbing to arrange a plumbing inspection for your home or business to identify any problems that could lead to future water damage for greater peace of mind.