Homeowners Insurance Claim For Water Damage – Paul West is a seasoned personal risk consultant with over a decade of experience advising successful families and individuals.
You come home from vacation to find a small pool of water in your basement Something has leaked, over-bridged or exploded in the house Your first reaction? Panicked Your second:
Homeowners Insurance Claim For Water Damage
If you are sure it is safe to do so, take immediate action to prevent excess water from flowing into the area This may mean turning off your home’s main valve (which often requires a wrench) or another water supply valve, also known as a “stop.” Stops leading to your dishwasher, toilet, washing machine, or icemaker can usually be turned off by hand (turned clockwise) to stop the flow of water. Here’s more on how to close the water supply valve
Water Backup? We Can Back You Up.
However, it’s a good idea to research water leak detection systems and automatic shutoff valves before disaster strikes. With a small investment, you can prevent a serious claim and potentially save money through a home insurance discount.
In 2018, one in four home insurance claims were the result of water damage From 2014-2016, water damage claims in the United States surpassed the number of damage caused by wildfires and hurricanes. What do these numbers mean? Water damage is very common But not every type of water damage is covered by a typical homeowner’s policy
As a general rule, home damage is covered by home insurance if it is accidental or accidental In other words, you cannot predict that it will happen Water damage is not the result of a lack of home maintenance/neglect (eg you haven’t made repairs in 30 years). Flood water damage is also not included (unless you have a separate policy for flood insurance in Massachusetts).
While homeowner’s insurance covers many water damage situations, there are some situations where your policy may not provide coverage. Familiarizing yourself with these common exceptions can help you better manage and manage your property to avoid costly repairs. Here are some examples of water damage that are typically not covered by insurance:
Water Damage Statistics (2023)
To ensure you have adequate coverage for your specific needs, review your insurance policy and discuss any concerns with your independent insurance agent. By understanding the limitations of your policy, you can take cost-effective steps to maintain your property and minimize the risk of experiencing costly, undiscovered water damage situations.
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 tell your agent/insurance company what’s going on. Most carriers operate a 24/7 hotline to guide you through the maintenance process and advise you on cleaning.
Clean and dry the area yourself, at the very least it makes sense to contact a water damage/restoration company. Insurance companies may be reluctant to recommend a specific water damage company, but they should be able to help you identify several local options to choose from.
Note: If your dedicated insurance agent is not available to speak with you when the claim comes in, make sure you follow up during business hours. Why? There is a big difference between insurance
Home Insurance Facts And Statistics: Coverage & Claims
. Ideally, both of you should know what is going on in your home If a claim occurs, it’s your agent’s job to act as your advocate, and help ensure you get a timely, satisfactory response from the carrier. Agents can also be valuable in negotiating settlement of any damages (see step 6) – one reason we recommend working with an independent agent rather than a direct writer or “captive” agent.
A water damage/restoration company (WD/RC) is often required to pump out any standing water and thoroughly dry any surface before moisture or mold can spread. If mold is already present, WD/RC special cleaning solution may need to be applied after sealing and ventilating the wet area.
Not all water damage and restoration companies are created equal Some, unfortunately, may try to take advantage of an emergency situation where you need help quickly Before signing any contract or work order make sure you get an estimate and written proof that the company is licensed/insured. Read online reviews of the company Ask for references from clients in your city or neighborhood
Remember, the WD/RC you choose does not have to be the same company that you use to repair walls, floors, woodwork, ceilings, cabinets, etc. Many water damage companies offer contract services in addition to water and mold remediation, but that doesn’t mean they’re the best choice for your repair. Again, don’t sign any contracts or agree to additional work without getting a quote…and at least talk to another contractor. Often, the best person to do carpentry, flooring, or drywall is someone who specializes in carpentry, flooring, or drywall – not WD/RC.
Water Loss Prevention
In severe cases, water damage can lead to unsafe or unhealthy living indoors Major flooding can sweep household chemicals or water into the waste mix—something you shouldn’t be walking around with. May cause electrical shock And even after any standing water is drained, mold spores can contaminate the air
If you suspect any of these issues are at play, ask your agent and your WD/RC team for advice on a safer course of action. Most insurance policies include coverage for hotel stays and meal expenses if you are forced to evacuate But you’ll want to understand how much (if any) coverage you have for these items, and how you expect to meet and catalog these expenses (pay yourself before getting reimbursed). If you stay and eat elsewhere, be prepared to save the receipt
Your home restoration team will likely take photographs of the damaged area, but you should take your own (If you later decide to cut ties with this company, you don’t want to have to chase them for documents.) You should also take photos of any items that need to be cleaned or replaced. Along with water damage, items that get wet are part of the damage Items in drawers or closets where mold has spread should also be professionally cleaned You may be entitled to compensation for those costs
Note: Most water damage insurance policies do not cover the equipment that caused the problem in the first place So, for example, if your icemaker or dishwasher leaks behind your cabinets, your insurance may cover replacement drywall and cabinets, but not a new refrigerator or dishwasher.
Flood & Water Damage Coverage
As soon as possible, the insurance company will send an adjuster to your home He will assess the damage, take photos and measurements The adjuster will also ask questions about how and when the damage occurred His aim is twofold First, he tries to estimate how much it will cost to repair the damage Second, he wants to know who is at fault.
Don’t worry Unless you intentionally caused the problem (eg insurance fraud), your insurance policy is there for you. Insurance intended for accidents Even dumb accidents If you leave a candle burning all night and your house burns down, you’re still covered—even if, yes, it’s your fault. The same principle applies to water damage If you install your own toilet (by mistake, by accident), and water starts pouring through your roof, you’re still covered.
However, if it is someone else’s fault, the insurance company wants to know say, for example,
Did not install that toilet incorrectly; Say it’s a licensed plumber, who should know better In that case, your adjuster and insurance company may look to “subrogate,” which means to follow.
Water Damage Coverage & Homeowners Insurance
Insurance company for the damage he caused Ditto for a faulty device Your insurance company may seek to collect damages from a defective washer manufacturer This is good news for you because if they are able to successfully subrogate, you may be on the hook for your deductible on the claim.
At some point after his evaluation, your adjuster will send you a written estimate of what he thinks it should cost to repair your loss. He will probably create a list of line items for labor and materials (drywall, paint, insulation mortar, tile, etc.). Depending on the size of the claim, he or she may even issue a check for some or all of this amount, so you can begin the repair process. Wow!
Just be prepared; That number of solutions seems a bit low Unless your home insurance policy is written to provide “replacement value,” your estimated total is based on an actual cash value, or ACV. ACV represents Find out what your property is really worth today – not what you paid for it, or what it cost to brand it. So, for example, if you spent $20K on new cabinets 15 years ago, your damages settlement will reimburse you for $20K.
Now, here’s a tricky caveat… In some cases, insurance companies will pay what is called
Water Damage By The Numbers
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