When a storm rips off your roof, you usually feel pretty confident that your insurance will cover the entire cost to replace the roof. But what if the storm sends water straight into a bedroom, causing extensive water damage in the drywall? How confident do you feel about insurance coverage for water damage?
Understanding insurance policy terms and what an insurance policy covers can help you navigate whether you’ll be covering the entire cost of a flooded bathroom or whether you’ll need to come up with the insurance deductible.
Add-on Policy – Also known as a rider, an endorsement, or an amendment, an add-on policy covers an additional item not adequately covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. While it will increase your insurance policy’s cost, an add-on policy often has a low or even no deductible. It’s a great way to ensure something valuable, like a piano or a piece of artwork.
Insurance Adjuster – Tasked with figuring out if the damage is even covered under your homeowner’s insurance, an insurance adjuster represents the insurance company and will come out to your property and assess the cost of the damaged property.
What Kind of Insurance Covers Water Damage?
A standard homeowners insurance covers water damage in the home if it’s determined that the water damage is sudden and came from a source inside the house. Damage to a home from ice, snow, or rainstorms may be covered by an insurance policy if it’s determined that the damage was directly related to the bad weather.
What to Expect When You File a Claim for Water Damage
However, water damage from delayed maintenance issues, like undetected leaks under the sink or missing shingles, are not covered by insurance policies. When you go to file a claim against your insurance, what can you expect from them:
- Before filing a claim, you should understand what your insurance policy covers. Read through the policy to see if the damage is clearly covered, or to see if any riders were added. For clarification, you can also reach out to your insurance broker to ask them questions.
- As soon as you notice water damage, you should contact your insurance’s claims department. Fresh damage makes it easier for an adjuster to determine exactly who’s at fault and if the claim falls under covered damage.
- An insurance adjuster will come out to your house to take pictures of the damage, and collect information about the value of the damaged items. That means that you should be prepared with estimates for the cost to replace your carpet, drywall, or other damaged items.
- Because an insurance claim can be a long, drawn-out situation, you’ll want to keep track of who you talk to and what they said about your claim by writing down that information. Names and dates will help you if there’s ever any confusion over your claim.
- The insurance company may issue a check made out to both you and your mortgage company. According to Consumer Finance, this protects the lender to make sure the damage is repaired. It is also possible that the check is released in two separate checks; the first to help you secure a contractor to repair the damage, and the second sent after the contractor has finished the job.
Why Are Claims Denied?
If you notice a puddle of water around your washing machine and you pull back the appliance to reveal rotted flooring, will your homeowner’s insurance policy cover the damage? What if your air-conditioning pipes burst?
Water claims are one of the most common insurance claims, and the possibilities for water damage are endless in a home:
- Toilets leaking under the wax seal.
- Shower curtains that lead to a constant puddle outside the tub.
- Dripping pipes hiding underneath a sink.
- Cracked hose on a washing machine.
- Improper outside drainage that sends water straight to the basement.
Undetected maintenance problems fall under the homeowner’s responsibility, so it is essential for homeowners to take care of small problems before they become big, expensive remodeling jobs to replace extensive damage. Rotted flooring might indicate long-term damage that falls under the homeowner’s liability.
Some homeowner’s insurance policies may cover the damage from incidents like a broken fish tank or a burst pipe, but they may also only repair the damage and not the original source of the problem. Homeowners should be careful not to ignore maintenance issues so that they can feel confident if they do need to file a claim.
Do I Need Flood Insurance?
If you live in a flood plain or a flood-prone area, you may be required to get flood insurance. No homeowners insurance covers floods, so if you live near a lake, pond, or river that frequently fills up over their boundaries, you should consider paying for flood insurance. Additionally, if you live in an area with storm surges, or with a basement that could fill with water after a sudden deluge, flood insurance could offer additional protection against damage that isn’t covered by a typical policy.
Additional Coverage for Sewer Damage
A standard homeowners policy does cover damage caused by water inside the home, but a sewer pipe that backs up into a home or basement is usually excluded. Homeowners may be able to purchase an additional add-on policy that covers any potential damage from a backed-up sewer pipe. In an older home, when you’re unsure of the conditions of the underground utilities, purchasing an additional policy can give you peace of mind in the event of an unexpected disaster.
Don’t let a regular handyman repair your water damage. At Biosweep of Alabama, we’ve had decades of experience tackling water damage and working with insurance companies. We can help you navigate the claims process and get your home repaired and put back together quickly. You can feel confident when you contact a trusted local company to take care of your property. Contact us for a free consultation today.