As previously discussed in my last blog, water damage is one of the most common claims made by property owners and causes losses in the billions of dollars in the United States each year.
There is no denying the strength of water in large amounts. However, most people don't understand that simply a few inches of water may inflict thousands of dollars in damage to a property. Given that, it is critical for property owners to be aware of the kinds of water hazards that are covered by their property insurance.
Since every insurance policy is unique, it is recommended that you carefully read your policy so that you are prepared when the worst occurs. The good news, when it comes to deciphering the details concerning water damage coverage, is that most policies are comparable.
Here is what you need to know about the various forms of water damage and what is generally covered by a typical property insurance policy.
Sudden and Accidental
As a general rule, only "sudden and accidental" water damage will be covered by your insurance policy. This may involve damage resulting from burst pipes or unintentional leaks, as well as from fire, storm, or roof leak damage. Other items typically covered include:
While the majority of property insurance policies cover unexpected or sudden water damage, it can be exceedingly challenging to get your losses covered for water damage that has occurred gradually.
Partnering with a reliable public adjuster can make all the difference in the outcome of your claim.
Common Causes of Covered Water Damage
Here are two of the most common causes of covered water damage.
#1 Water damage caused by burst pipes
Burst or broken pipes are one of the leading sources of water damage in properties, whether they are brought on by a break or whole in a pipe, clogs, increases in water pressure, or even frozen water. High water pressure can cause pipes to balloon and finally break, spewing water everywhere while causing damage to insulation, drywall, carpeting, and flooring in the process.
A standard property insurance policy will typically cover water damage caused by a burst pipe. However, damage brought on by a sewage backup and blocked drains is typically not covered. You can supplement your insurance with sewer backup coverage for total security against backup-related incidents.
#2 Water damage caused by a storm or extreme weather event
Your property insurance coverage likely covers water damage resulting from hail, tornadoes, hurricanes, and other weather-related calamities. For damage resulting from these occurrences, you can file a successful water damage insurance claim.
You could file a claim if strong winds cause damage to your roof and rain leaks in causing property damage. Some policies may have exclusions that the roof or exterior must first be damaged allowing the rain water to enter. So, if you want to file a claim for the damage, it's crucial to understand the limitations of your coverage.
Insurance Claims for Water Damage
If you sustain water damage, you should contact a reputable and licensed public adjuster to find out what you need do to prevent further damage and if you have enough damage to file an insurance claim.
It is important to take pictures of the damage as soon as you become aware, so that you have a record of when the damage occurred.
In order to ascertain whether your claim is covered, your insurance company will send an independent insurance adjuster, who works on behalf of the insurance company, to evaluate the damage. If you need to make temporary or urgent repairs prior the adjuster arriving, it is important to take pictures and save your receipts.
Your claim could be denied by your insurance company depending on the coverage, or lack thereof, in your policy. Claims are sometimes complex and stressful. You can hire a public adjuster as your advocate to make sure all your damage is well documented and all deadlines within your policy are met. This will assist in a more favorable outcome of your claim.
When damage happens, choose to work with trustworthy, experienced professionals such as our team at Reliant Insurance Adjusters. We have your best interests at heart and treat every client’s claim as if it were our own.
Water damage affects thousands of Florida property owners each year. Flooding from hurricanes or other natural disasters, broken pipes, backed-up sewer lines, and leaks in hoses, water heaters, and roofs are just a few of the numerous causes of water damage. At best, the resulting damage is a nuisance, and at its worst, it is devastating to the property owner.
Water Damage Limits
One of the most frequent reasons to file a property damage insurance claim is, in fact, water damage. Unexpected water damage may be both inconvenient and outright disastrous for property owners, but you can be prepared simply by understanding the limits of your water damage coverage in your insurance policy.
There are various forms of water damage and it’s important to learn what is and is not covered by a typical property insurance policy.
Understanding Policy Limitations
In order to avoid surprises, it is imperative to evaluate your policy and understand what is covered. Your insurance claim's outcome will be influenced by the cause of the damage, whether sudden or accidental, or gradual over a period of time.
More often than not, coverage extends to sudden water damage. However, many property damage claims only receive a partial claim payment because the insurance policy has a $10,000 limitation within the policy.
With this limitation, mitigation of your damage is also included. It may be challenging to make repairs to your property when the damage exceeds that amount, yet you are still required to prevent further damage by protecting your property.
Sudden or Accidental Damage
Typically, insurance policies specify that covered water damage must come from an internal or unanticipated occurrence.
Rising water entering your property from the exterior is considered flood and not covered under your property insurance policy. I encourage and urge you to make sure you have a separate flood insurance policy.
Examples of other Causes of Water Damage
Damage that occurs gradually over time is not covered by standard insurance policies. Because of the range of complex systems with hidden plumbing, electrical wiring, and other intricate parts inside property structures, it can be challenging to spot a problem.
Your insurance company may deny your claim if the damage appears to have been going on over a period of time, but some policies have wording to protect policyholders and allow coverage if the damage is hidden and unknown and not visible.
Examples of Gradual Causes of Water Damage
Wear, Tear, Deterioration and Mold
Unless specific wording is included in your policy as noted above, wear, tear and deterioration are not covered by most policies.
Although mold is caused by moisture, it’s important to speak with your insurance agent to determine whether your policy has mold coverage, and if not, you must add this important coverage.
The first step to filing a successful water damage insurance claim is understanding your coverage and the type of water damage your property is experiencing.
Hire a Public Adjuster to Help
Your insurance company may miss damage and underpay or deny your claim. A public adjuster can help by reviewing your policy and explaining what is and is not covered, and help you navigate the complicated claim process.
At Reliant Insurance Adjusters, we ensure your best interests are top priority and treat every client’s claim as if it were our own. Contact us today for more information.