Water damage within the home is a common occurrence and can be caused by a number of different factors from flooding and heavy storms to burst pipes and appliance leaks. Many cases of water damage are also accompanied by insurance claims but not all types of water damage are covered by homeowner’s insurance. Damages that are considered flood damage can only be covered by flood insurance which must be purchased separately. Even homeowner’s insurance policies will cover water damage a little differently depending on the exact terms of your policy. The following is a guide to dealing with insurance companies following water damage.
Homeowner’s insurance typically covers many types of water damage that is not considered flood damage. Insurance companies consider water damage to be any damage that is caused to your home by the water before it reaches the ground. This may include burst pipes, washing machine leaks, roof leaks, and damage caused by heavy winds or hail. The amount of coverage will depend on your individual policy as roof leaks and wind damage are only covered if the policy includes coverage of the specific peril. An insurance company can also deny claims involving leaks and burst pipes if they determine that the leaks were caused by wear and tear or neglect. It is important to make sure you are familiar with the terms of you insurance policy before making any water damage claims.
Flood insurance is the only type of insurance that covers water damage caused by flooding and it must be purchased separately from your homeowner’s insurance through your insurance provider from the Federal Emergency Management Office (FEMA). Insurance companies typically define flood damage as damage caused by water that was on the ground at one point before damaging the home. Typical examples of flood damage include:
- Overflowing of a nearby body of water that floods into your home
- Rain water that leaks into the basement
- Mud slide created by a flood that seeps into the home
Only flood insurance will cover this type of water damage so you must have flood insurance to get full protection from all water damage. Remember that flood and homeowner’s insurance are complementary of each other as they each cover different types of water damage but it is up to the homeowner to purchase flood insurance. You can talk to your insurance provider about the possibility of adding flood insurance to help decide if it is worth the expense.
If your home has suffered water damage and you are seeking to make an insurance claim, the first thing you should do is determine if the damage is considered flood or water damage. Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do cover most types of water damage but they may still refuse coverage at their discretion based on the specific terms of your policy or previous condition of your home. Only flood insurance purchased from FEMA will cover flood damages that homeowner’s insurance will not. Make sure to review your policy in case you should experience water damage and if your home is prone to flooding, you might want to consider complementing your policy with flood insurance.