Water damage is a common problem that leads to many insurance claims. In 2018, almost one in four home insurance claims in the US came from water damage. Some claims are covered by home insurance, while others need flood insurance.
Here are the most common water damage claims people file every year:
- Burst or leaking pipes: Pipes can burst or leak due to factors such as freezing temperatures, corrosion, or increased pressure. This can result in extensive water damage to floors, walls, and personal belongings.
- Plumbing issues: Blocked or overflowing toilets, sinks, and bathtubs can cause water damage, leading to structural damage and mold growth if not addressed promptly.
- Appliance malfunctions: Water-using appliances, such as washing machines, dishwashers, and water heaters, can malfunction or leak, causing water damage to surrounding areas.
- Roof leaks: Damaged or missing shingles, cracked flashing, or improperly sealed vents can allow water to seep into the home, resulting in damage to ceilings, walls, and insulation.
- Sewer backup: Blocked or damaged sewer lines can cause sewage to back up into the home, leading to significant water damage, health risks, and unpleasant odors.
- Sump pump failure: Inadequate sump pump maintenance or malfunction can result in basement flooding and water damage to personal belongings and the home’s foundation.
- Flash flooding and natural disasters: Heavy rainfall, hurricanes, or other severe weather events can lead to flash flooding, causing water damage to homes, especially those in low-lying areas or with poor drainage systems.
- Ice damming: In colder climates, ice dams can form on the roof, causing water to pool and eventually leak into the home, resulting in water damage to ceilings, walls, and insulation.
Remember that insurance won’t cover every issue in these categories. Usually, home insurance covers sudden or accidental water damage. It won’t cover damage from poor maintenance or neglect, or damage that happens slowly over time.
Examples of covered water damage include leaking roofs, ice dams, frozen or burst pipes, sudden appliance or plumbing problems, and vandalism. Water damage not covered by homeowner’s insurance usually includes groundwater in the basement, sewer or water pipe backups, leaks from old corroded pipes, floodwater in the basement, long-term leaky toilets or faucets, and leaks from old roofs.
Fungus, rot, and mold are also not covered unless they happen because of a covered cause.
When you file a water damage claim, your insurance company sends an adjuster to check the damage and the cost. They will decide if you could have stopped the leak and if they should cover it.
They will look at:
Remember that flood damage is not usually covered by homeowner’s insurance.
- If the damage is from a new or old leak
- Signs of a coming leak, like rust
- If the leak happened because of wear and tear or old age
- The location of the pipes or other damage sources
What To Do To If You See Water Damage
If you have water damage in your home, follow these steps:
Control the problem right now
Act quickly to stop more water damage. Turn off the water main or individual water valve. Move undamaged things out of the water’s way.
Call plumbing or leak detection service first before the insurance
it’s not necessarily advisable to hastily contact your insurance company upon detecting water damage. Rather, consider engaging the services of a plumber or a leak detection company to first identify and fix the source of the leak. Because saying the wrong thing to the insurance company, they may rip you off and deny the claim. Home insurance is not as simple as vehicle insurance, they will do everything they can to avoid covering the repair cost.
Document the damage
Take photos and videos of the damage, including standing water and damaged items.
Clean and dry the area
Drain standing water and dry water-damaged areas to stop mold growth.
Maintain your plumbing
Keep your plumbing in good shape to avoid denied claims. If you see a small leak, call a plumber right away. Ignoring it can make your insurance company say you didn’t do routine maintenance, and they won’t cover the damage.
Remember to keep your plumbing in good shape to avoid denied claims. If you see a small leak, call a plumber right away. Ignoring it can make your insurance company say you didn’t do routine maintenance, and they won’t cover the damage.