As a water damage restoration company, the most common question we get from homeowners is “does insurance cover water damage?”. The answer to that question depends on the source of the water damage and how quickly the problem is addressed.
It’s important to remember that not all insurance policies are alike, so it’s best to call your insurance agent and read your policy.
Here are the most common water damage claims we help our customers file and the likelihood that they’ll be covered by your insurance company:
Bathroom Leak Insurance Claim
Most of the fixtures in your bathroom are connected to a water supply line, which means there’s a lot of opportunities for leaks. Plumbing pipe leaks, toilet leaks, and shower leaks are common, but will homeowners insurance cover these bathroom leaks?
If the leak happened abruptly and was addressed immediately (as opposed to a slow leak that had been ignored for months) then insurance is likely to cover this. It’s important to immediately address bathroom leaks, especially if they’re located on an upper floor.
Bathroom leaks on an upper floor might potentially lead to ceiling leak water damage.
Ceiling Leak Water Damage Insurance Claim
Leaky roofs, broken pipes, or a bathroom leak can cause ceiling water damage. Insurance claims like these vary in their success rate. If the ceiling water damage resulted from a gradual, on-going leak that the homeowner neglected then it might not be covered. Vice versa, if the damage resulted in something sudden and accidental, like a burst pipe, then insurance companies are likely to cover this.
As soon as you notice ceiling water damage, it’s important to address it immediately. Signs of ceiling water damage include peeling paint, brown water stains, bulging in the ceiling, or mold growth.
Burst Pipe Insurance Claim
Any pipe connected to a water supply line has a chance of bursting. Pipes burst when they freeze, but they can also break due to old age or tree root intrusion.
Homeowners insurance tends to cover pipes that burst, as these events are seen as sudden and accidental, and ultimately out of your control.
Kitchen Water Damage Insurance Claim
There are many appliances in your kitchen that are connected to a water supply line, such as sinks, refrigerators, and dishwashers. When these appliances spring a leak, the water can spread to nearby floors, walls, and surrounding cabinetry. This is especially frustrating for homeowners who’ve invested a lot of money in wood floors and cabinets.
If the water damage resulted from a broken pipe or appliance, then most insurance companies will cover all of the repairs or at least cover a portion of the damage.
Kitchen cabinet water damage insurance coverage will vary depending on the extent of the damage and your particular insurance policy. Sometimes water damage only affects a portion of the cabinetry and other times contractors will need to completely remove the cabinets in order to access water damaged drywall behind them.
If the water damage was accidental, they will most likely cover repair and rebuilding costs. During this process, water damage contractors will extract the water and then dismantle and repair your cabinets on-site. If your lucky, your policy may cover the cost of a kitchen remodel.
Toilet Overflow Insurance Claim
Toilet overflows happen for a variety of reasons— sewage backups, clogged pipes, or maybe your kid dropped a toy in there. Regardless of the cause, toilet overflows are always gross. The water inside the bowl is highly unsanitary and can cause an extensive amount of damage. Most standard insurance policies cover this type of water damage.
This coverage usually includes water cleanup, sewage removal, sanitization, and repairs to surrounding floors and furniture.
Water Damage From Dishwasher Insurance Claim
Most insurance policies cover water damage from leaky plumbing, which includes appliances like your dishwasher.
In some cases, the water damage isn’t visible until your wood floors are warping or there’s mildew growing on your walls. But if you noticed water puddling around your dishwasher and didn’t do anything about it then your insurance company will probably not have any sympathy for you.
According to Insurance Advisor, most insurance companies will cover repair costs if the water damage was hidden in walls or underneath floors, and was impossible for the homeowner to discover earlier.
Leaking Roof Insurance Claim
The roof is one of the most expensive parts of the home to repair. They’re also the most vulnerable to damages and require a lot of maintenance. If a storm knocked off shingles and rainwater started leaking through the roof, your policy will likely cover this. This coverage might include roof repairs, storm damage repairs, and temporary roof tarping.
Insurance companies expect you to do as much as you can to prevent damages to your home. If the roof damage happened because you forgot to do your chores, like cleaning up the gutters, chances are your insurance won’t cover this.
Regular roof maintenance, such as cleaning the gutters, repairing damaged shingles, and removing debris, can prevent roof damage.
Water Damage Insurance Claim Tips
As a restoration company, we’re kind of experts when it comes to dealing with insurance adjusters. Here are some water damage insurance claim tips so that you get the most compensation for your losses.
Contact Your Insurance Company ASAP
Keep your policy number at hand and be prepared to provide them with detailed information of damages.
Take Note Of Everything
Keep detailed records of everything during the initial call. This includes the name of the agent you’re speaking to, the date of the call, the time, and what was discussed.
Keeping this information handy will help you if you experience a problem with your claim.
Document the Damage
DON’T throw anything out or try to make permanent repairs before the adjuster is able to estimate the damages. Doing this may void coverage. Take photographic evidence of damages, make a detailed list of damaged items, and provide receipts if you have them available.
Time For Damage Control
You’ll want to (and your insurance company expects you to) do as much as you can to prevent further damages. These are considered emergency repairs and will not affect your coverage.
If your house is flooding or if you’re suffering from storm damage, soak up as much of the water as possible, dry out waterlogged items, and board up broken windows.
Keep receipts for the cost of these emergency repairs, and if you’ve had to relocate, keep receipts for any travel or lodging expenses.
Water Damage Not Covered By Insurance
Again all insurance policies are different, but here’s the general rule of thumb to follow: If the water damage resulted from something sudden and accidental insurance companies will likely cover this. If the water damage resulted from lack of maintenance (i.e. ignoring a leaky sink), insurance companies might not cover these repairs.
In the insurance world, there’s an important difference between water damage and flood damage. Flood damage refers to external water damage sources such as heavy rains, hurricanes, and overflowing rivers. Standard homeowners insurance policies don’t cover water damage from natural flooding. Flood damage insurance usually has to be purchased separately through the National Flood Insurance Program run by FEMA.
Insurance companies likely also won’t help when it comes to a broken water main. A water main is a large pipe that runs underneath streets. The water main is connected to individual pipelines and supplies customers with water.
Unfortunately, because the water main is located outside of your home, insurance companies aren’t held liable for them.
This means you need to take up the problem with the municipality that owns the water main. Contact them to report the break and document the damages to your home.
We’ll Help You File Your Insurance Claim
Dealing with water damage is stressful enough, so we try to make the insurance process as stress-free possible. As a courtesy to our customers, we’ll guide them through the insurance process and help them file their insurance claim.
Call us now at (214) 731-4624 to speak to a water damage specialist who will answer any your insurance questions.