Water damage is one of the most common and costly types of home insurance claims. While most homeowners insurance policies cover water damage, there are often limits on the amount of coverage and what type of water damage is covered.
- Determine the source of the water; take (reasonable) measures to stop it from flowing.
- Determine if your water damage is covered by your home insurance policy.
Most insurance policies will cover water damage caused by sudden and accidental events, such as a burst pipe or severe weather. However, coverage for water damage caused by gradual events, such as a slow leak, is often more limited. It’s important to read your policy carefully to see what is and is not covered.
How to get Insurance to Pay For Water Damage.
First, it’s important to know the difference between “covered” and “uncovered” perils. Covered perils are those events that are specifically listed in your policy as being covered, while uncovered perils are not. Water damage is typically a covered peril, but there may be some exceptions depending on the cause of the damage. For example, if the damage is caused by flooding, it may not be covered. Insurance to pay for water damage is the most the important thing of all the good thing
- Burst pipe: Temporarily shut off or plug problematic water supply lines. If you have serious water damage, be sure to shut off the electricity to avoid short circuits and the risk of electrocution.
- Leaky pipe or hose: It is important to try to locate the leak to prevent further damage. Look for signs of a leak (e.g., traces of mold, bad odors, clogged gutters, cracks in the foundation, crumbling brick joints, high humidity, etc.).
- If you are unable to limit the damage, quickly remove high-value items (whether expensive or sentimental) from the affected area.
- If you are unable to move large furniture (sofas, cabinets, chests of drawers, etc.), try to lift them off the ground so the water can’t damage them (or at least not as much). This will make it easier to restore your furniture.
Water’s source and take action to stop it from flowing.
As a society, we are pretty good at finding and utilizing water sources. We have built entire civilizations around rivers, lakes and underground aquifers. But what happens when our water sources start to dwindle? Or when they become contaminated?
When it comes to water damage, time is of the essence. According to FEMA, mold and mildew can begin to develop 24-48 hours after exposure. So, if your pipe bursts on Friday night, don’t wait until Monday morning to let your agent/insurance company know what is happening. Most carriers maintain 24/7 hotlines to guide you through the claims process and advise you on cleanup.
NOTE: If your dedicated insurance agent is not available to speak with you at the time the claim arises, make sure you follow up during business hours. Why? There’s a big difference between insurance agents and insurance companies. Ideally, both of them should know what is happening at your house. In the event of a claim, it’s your agent’s job to act as your advocate, and help make sure you’re getting a timely, satisfactory response from the carrier. Agents can also be valuable in helping to negotiate a settlement for any damages (see Step 6)—one reason we recommend working with an independent agent, rather than a direct writer or “captive” agent.
Included with your home insurance
Did you know that water damage coverage is already a part of your home insurance policy with us? Your coverage includes protection against sudden and accidental water damage caused by events, such as (but not limited to):
- Heating system rupture
- Plumbing system rupture
- Sprinkling system rupture
- Air conditioning system rupture
- Escape of water from a waterbed, aquarium or appliances
- Escape of water from a public watermain
Can I get additional coverage?
There’s a lot that home insurance can do to protect you from water damage, but having additional coverage can help protect you in a wider range of scenarios.
Focuses on situations related to below ground and surface water that are not covered by home insurance. Coverage against sudden and accidental water damage.