Water leakage in your home? How can you get insurance to cover it?
This scenario and question are very common with American homeowners. In fact, water damage claims are a top reason a homeowner will claim at least once.
Flash floods are not the sole reason why your house may be under threat from water. Faulty plumbing, and frozen pipes, especially in the colder months, can also cause water damage to your property.
So here’s a dedicated post on the topic.
How To Make A Successful Water Leak Insurance Claim
If you notice a water leak at home, below are the necessary steps to follow to make a successful insurance claim.
Identify the source and control the leak.
In most homes, water leakage is due to an issue in the plumbing system, so look around. For burst and leaking pipes, shutting off the main valve is usually a surefire way to control the leakage. If the water leakage is smaller and you can’t identify the source, try turning off the smaller stop that leads to your appliances.
Take note not to make any type of repairs before someone from the insurance company comes to take notes of the water leakage and damage. Keeping the water leakage under control is only a measure to prevent further damage to your home.
Take notes of the damage.
After controlling the water leakage, the next step is to take notes and document everything. Take videos and pictures, including the leak’s source, the areas damaged by the leak, and anything you think might be evidence of the damage.
Document the water damage behind appliances and cabinets, damaged items in closets and drawers, etc. If mold and mildew are already growing, you must also take pictures of them.
Your home restoration company will also document the damage, but it’s best not to rely on them.
Call your insurance agent.
After you get things under relative control, call your insurance agent or company to report the water leakage and damage. Property or flood insurers have emergency numbers that you can contact even if it’s not regular business hours, so don’t wait.
You will likely meet with an adjustor from your insurance company who will arrive and assess the water damage in your home. The adjuster is primarily responsible for preparing the insurance claims, but you need to work closely with them. Check out this article, Top 10 Most Used Home Insurance Claim Adjuster Secret Tactics, so you know what you are doing.
The adjustor from insurance companies will also determine whether the water leakage was your fault. But unless on very rare occasions, water leakage is almost always out of homeowners’ control. Besides, the insurance claim adjustor will also advise you to start the repair and restoration process, which brings us to the next step.
Repair and restore
Any degree of water damage requires immediate attention from professionals. Once an area in your home is exposed to water, mildew and mold can grow within 24 hours.
So unless the water damage is minimal and you can clean it on your own, get professional help. For standing water, pumping is often required, while the application of cleaning agents and ventilation is needed in case mold has already manifested.
Although water damage/restoration companies, often referred to as WD/RC, are equipped to clean and restore your home after damage, they also don’t mind overcharging since water damage situations always involve an urgency. This is why most insurance companies are not enthusiastic about giving recommendations.
Get cleaning and restoration quotes from multiple companies before you sign the contract so you don’t end up paying extra.
Consider leaving your home for a while
If water damage in your home is extensive, consider leaving your home for a while. Flooding can cause issues like contaminating the water and mixing wastewater and household chemicals. In addition, major flooding can increase the risk of electrocution. Mold spores contamination is also common after major water damage.
Most home insurance policies will cover hotel accommodations when you are forced away from home. Some policies might also cover dining expenses, so talk to your insurance agent if you think you need to leave home until it’s safe to return. In addition, you should also speak about how much your insurers will cover and how much you are required to front.
Understand what water damages are covered by your insurance policy
In the United States, 1 out of 4 home insurance claims is due to water damage. However, most homeowners do not know what is covered by their policy. Here’s your ready reference.
Most home insurance policies cover the following:
- Burst and/or frozen pipes
- Sudden and/or accidental plumbing issues
- Sudden appliances issue
- Ice dams
- Roof leakage
What is not covered by home insurance?
- Leakage due to old rusting pipes
- Leaks from old and unmaintained roof
- Groundwater/flood water flowing/seeping into the basement
- Water leakage due to unrepaired faucets or toilet
- Any type of fungus, mold, or rot
What if your home insurance is not renewed?
When homeowners go through a major claim, some insurance companies do not renew the policy. This is not uncommon and comes as a huge shock to many homeowners. But home insurance companies take several risk factors into account to stay in business and provide coverage.
Under such circumstances, an independent insurance agent is your best bet. They can help you find the best home insurance policies and options. Independent insurance agents can also help you negotiate a settlement for repairs, especially if it is a major one.
Insurance companies will in no way pay for appliances or features not in your home before the water damage. However, instances of water damage are an opportunity to update the affected area.
Working with an independent insurance agent is a great way to secure the best home insurance and also successfully get a water leakage claim.