The effects of water damage on a home can be substantial. When water makes its way into a home through leaks in the roof, broken pipes, foundation cracks, or another source, it can quickly ruin furniture, upholstery, appliances, electronics, and much more. To protect against these types of incidents, most homeowners carry insurance. Unfortunately, not all water-related accidents are covered under homeowners’ insurance. If you are dealing with water damage in your home, it is important to review your insurance policy to see what limitations you face, or to find out if your insurance will pay for water damage. The damages that an insurance company is willing to cover, if any, will be based on multiple factors.
The Source of the Damage
Water damage in a home can have many causes. Gradual water damage can occur due to storm damage that causes leaks in the roof. A fallen tree branch or heavy rain can cause water to seep into your attic or the upper floor of your home. If the storm is severe, flooding can occur. The rising water may only affect your basement or it may rise to the higher levels of your home, causing more significant damage. Water damage can also be sudden or accidental, such as in the case of a broken or burst pipe. It can also occur when your sewer backs up or your washing machine overflows.
Gradual vs. Sudden
When deciding whether or not water damage is covered by your homeowners’ insurance, your insurance carrier will consider whether the damage was gradual or sudden. Gradual water damage occurs over time and, therefore, it can be difficult to garner payment from your insurance company. Examples of gradual water damage include plumbing that has been leaking into your walls, ceilings, or floors for a period of time. Gradual damage is oftentimes a sign of a lack of maintenance or repairs to a home. Insurance is designed to cover sudden or accidental damage. This means that the water damage did not occur over time.
When it comes to water damage, insurance companies see all types of inquiries. Some causes of water damage are covered by insurance while others are not for one reason or another. Some of the most common types of water damage that are typically covered by insurance include plumbing issues like frozen pipes that burst, appliance overflows such as an overflowing bathtub or toilet, and damage from a hose or fire extinguisher that was used in the home to extinguish a fire. It is also important to be aware of water damage that may not be covered by your insurance policy, such as water backup from an outdoor sewer, negligence due to improper maintenance, and flooding that is considered a natural disaster and requires a separate flood insurance policy.
Water damage can occur in minutes. As water contamination spreads through the home, claim costs can continue to rise. It does not take long for carpets to become saturated, wood to soften and discolor, and walls to absorb moisture and swell. Dyes from non-colorfast upholsteries and fabrics will begin to bleed and normal household odors will become stronger and more apparent. If moisture is left unattended for days, fungi will start to grow and wood floors and cabinets will start to warp. Wallpaper adhesives will peel away from the wall and paint will blister. In time, water damage can impact the entire structural integrity of a home.
Request Clarification Throughout the Process
If your home has suffered water damage that is covered under your homeowners’ insurance policy, you will want to act quickly and file a claim. Start by making your insurance company aware of the accident and do what you can to prevent additional damage to your property. Take photos and videos of the water damage to act as evidence. It is also a good idea to take a detailed inventory of your damaged belongings. Once you have made your claim, your insurance company will usually contact you within a few days. Once all information has been provided, your insurer will usually have 15 business days to approve or deny your claim. Be sure to ask questions and request clarification throughout the process as needed.
Consult with Kingsley for More Help
When water damage occurs, homeowners have one main concern in mind – how to get insurance to pay for water damage. Depending on the cause of the damage, your insurance company may approve your claim and provide you with sufficient funds to make any necessary repairs or renovations. When this happens, you will want to ensure you have a qualified water damage restoration specialist available to walk you through the process. For more information or for assistance with water damage restoration, water extraction or mold remediation services, contact the water damage experts at Kingsley, LLC, today.