Countless home insurance claims are filed as a result of water damage. Aside from damage stemming from wind and hail, no other phenomenon triggers more insurance claims than water. In fact, the number of claims resulting from water damage is soaring while claims stemming from other sources of damage are dipping or remaining consistent. However, plenty of people do not have a comprehensive understanding of water damage. This is where hiring water damage & restoration services come into the picture.
Below, we shed some light on this topic to facilitate your water damage insurance claim and maximize the chances of an appropriate payout.
1. Water Damage Eligible for Coverage Through Home Insurance
When water breaches a living space, homeowners typically have a number of questions. Most homeowners question whether the water will be covered by home insurance. In particular, homeowners commonly ask whether home insurance covers a leaky toilet and/or a leaky roof. The answer to this question hinges on the source of the damage as well as whether the damage is accidental or gradual and the nuances of the home insurance policy.
In general, gradual water damage is not typically covered in home insurance claims. Though your insurance policy might have coverage for water damage, this coverage is typically only applicable when the damage is accidental and/or sudden. While you can file a claim for gradual water insurance, your claim might be denied.
2. What, Exactly, Constitutes Gradual Water Damage?
Gradual water damage is just as it sounds in that it occurs over an extended period of time and causes damage to the property. Unfortunately, gradual water damage is more common than most would guess. The typical home is rife with nooks and crannies, ventilation systems, pipes, and other complex components. If your home is not properly maintained, things will eventually go wrong with its many components. However, you might not know something is wrong until the damage resulting from structural damage manifests or until you spot clear physical evidence. At this point, it is time to file a home insurance claim.
Unfortunately, if the claim is not accidental or sudden, the insurance provider will likely argue it is a long-standing issue that you failed to detect. As a result, your home insurance claim will be denied. Take a close look at your home insurance policy's wording to determine whether the damage in question will be covered. Your policy's exclusions are particularly important. If necessary, have your insurance agent go over the policy, its exclusions and unique coverage to ensure you fully understand what is covered.
Examples of Gradual Damage
Here are a few common examples of gradual damage-causing losses or denied home insurance claims.
- Leaking pipes, faucets, or plumbing systems resulting in damage to a house’s walls, floors, or ceilings
- Water seeping in from cracks in the foundations
- Water entering the house from cracks in its exterior
- A deteriorating roof that needs repairs
- Mold and/or corrosion
- Dilapidated electrical wiring
- The lack of or delayed repairs to the house
Meaning of “Resulting Damage” in Insurance
Resulting damage differs from the initial damage. Consider a situation in which a broken pipe is listed as covered in the home insurance policy. You might be compensated for part of the damages through the damaged pipe that will not be covered under the policy. The semantic nuance is whether the cause of the damage is covered or whether the subsequent damage is covered.
3. How to File an Insurance Claim
The process of filing a home insurance claim for water damage is as under:
- Keep yourself safe. Call the concerned authorities in case of a fire or a pipe burst. If possible, take steps to prevent further loss.
- Try and take several photographs of the damaged site. It will help if you have the receipts of services used or purchases made due to the damage/loss.
- Report a claim to your insurer through the specified means.
- Specify the type (theft/fire/water damage) of a claim and describe the loss or damage to your personal belongings and home.
- Submit the necessary supporting documents as mentioned by your insurer. You will need to produce information like policy number, name, address, and ID proof.
- A surveyor might assess the damage to your belongings and home through field inspection.
- The reimbursement will be made after the claim is processed and approved.
4. Water Damage Insurance Claim Denials
If your water damage insurance claim is denied, request a comprehensive explanation from the insurer. The insurance representative should explain every aspect of the policy wording. Be specific when questioning the denial. Ask what specific part of the wording excludes the damage in question or source of the damage. You deserve an explanation of your claim denial in plain English. Furthermore, the denial should come straight from the insurance company as opposed to a contractor or agent. This denial should be provided in writing. When in doubt, reach out to your insurance representative for an additional review or a second opinion. Your request for additional analysis just might result in a review that leads to the approval of your claim.
5. Tips to Improve the Chances of Claim Approval
If your home plumbing, appliances or any other important aspect of the home are repaired or replaced, maintain meticulous records of those repairs and alterations. Even maintenance records should be maintained as well. This way, if there is a loss, you will have all the work performed on your home documented. Furthermore, you should make an effort to understand all the coverages on your home insurance policy. Make an effort to understand the exclusions as well. It also makes sense to understand your responsibilities as the homeowner to boot.
Above all, it is in your interest to lean on the professionals perform maintenance each fall and spring to prevent surprise plumbing problems. Even a minor repair has the potential to prevent a major expense down the line that may or may not be covered by home insurance. It will also help to review the details of your insurance policy before moving forward with the purchase. Be sure to ask about additional forms of coverage that might prove particularly helpful to you and your unique home across posterity.
Hire Experienced Restoration Professionals for Effective Recovery
If your home, business or other building has been damaged by water, do not panic. Do the smart thing by contacting our plumbing crew for assistance. You can reach our plumbers by dialing (561) 245-7435. We are proud to provide 24/7 service. If you prefer to contact our plumbing and restoration team on the web, simply fill out our online contact form.