Water damage that suddenly or accidently takes place inside your home will most likely be covered by your homeowners insurance. However, water damage caused by maintenance problems due to neglect will likely not be covered. It’s also important to note that in the case water damage is caused due to water coming from outside your home, it will likely not be covered.
To prevent paying for flood-related damages, we highly suggest adding flood insurance to give you that extra protection and peace of mind. Just be aware that if you do purchase a flood insurance policy, but your house is the only house that floods, coverage may still not extend. If you are interested in flood insurance, give us a call, and we can help you decide if it is the right solution for your home.
Common Water Damage Scenarios
Let’s explore a few of the most common scenarios we come across when it comes to water damage in a home.
Heavy rain causes water to seep (or pour) into my basement or crawlspace
My roof begins to leak, causing damage inside my home
A tree or limb falls and hits my roof, allowing water to leak into my home
In almost all cases, this will not be a covered claim. Rainwater that has accumulated on the ground and then enters your home is considered a flood, and therefore excluded from coverage on your home insurance policy. The same thing is true of groundwater that seeps into your basement from a rising water table.
This one could go either way depending on what caused the leak. If the roof was old and simply deteriorated to the point of failure, the insurance company will likely deny the claim as this is considered a home maintenance issue. If however, there was a wind, ice or snowstorm that damaged the roof and caused the leak, coverage will usually extend.
Every winter we see quite a few trees fall and hit homes. Fortunately, this is almost always a covered loss and your insurance company will repair the damage to your roof as well as the interior of your home.
What Do I Do If I Find Water Damage in My House?
If you’ve found water damage in your house, you may be wondering if that water damage is covered by your home insurance and what to do next. As mentioned previously, this type of damage is typically covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy, but there are also some cases when it is not. Here is a 4-step process we recommend if you happen to discover water damage in your home.
4 Steps to Take If You Find Water Damage in Your Home
Take Care of the Damage
Call Your Agent
Get a Professional to Assess the Damage
Work with Your Agent to Determine If It’s Worth Filing a Claim
If you happen to find or discover water damage in your house, you most likely have a contractual obligation to eliminate the damage until you can get someone to assess it for you.
Once you’ve found a way to take care of the damage, (turning off the water in your house or tarping your roof) give your agent a call. One of the advantages of having an agent is that we can help you make informed decisions that will save you a lot of time and money.
As a local and independent insurance agency, PNW Insurance will most likely be able to send a professional out to assess the damage done to your home for free at no charge to you. Once they arrive, they will help you determine what the damage is and get you an idea of the cost to repair it.
Once you’ve received the estimate from the professional, you need to go back and speak with your agent. There are many variables when determining to file or not so make sure to not just skip this step and go straight to making the decision on your own. For example, just a couple variables that you need to consider are the deductible you will have to pay for filing a claim and potential premium increases in the future.
How can I prevent water damage in my home?
Water damage can be extremely costly and, unfortunately, the source of a lot of stress and anxiety if you aren’t properly prepared. The good news is, the steps to prevent damage won’t cost you nearly as much time or money. The following list are just a few recommendations we highly suggest you consider.
- Keep your roof well maintained and free of moss. Have a certified roofer inspect and perform any necessary repairs every 3-4 years.
- Keep trees trimmed back from the house and remove dead or dying trees that are more likely to fall.
- Extend your gutter system away from the house and keep the gutters clean, as this will prevent many issues.
- Regularly check your sump pump. If you have a basement, chances are you most likely have a sump pump. Make sure you are properly maintaining it and check it at least once per year.
- Inspect and replace hoses connected to your washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator, and water heater.
- Drain your water heater. It is recommended that you drain your water heater at least once per year, depending on the mineral content present in your local water supply.
- Prevent frozen pipes by insulating those that are exposed to the elements and using a smart thermostat to maintain a water temperature that will prevent your pipes from freezing.
Hopefully this article gives you an idea of which rain related losses can be covered by your Home Insurance and how to prepare for and prevent rain related damage to your home. If you have more questions or have a scenario not mentioned above, please reach out to us as we’d be happy to help.
PNW Insurance is here to help guide you through all the important and stressful insurance related events that inevitably come up in life. Simply get a quote online, give us a call, or send us an email to get all your insurance needs quickly and easily taken care of!