Water damage claims are the most common type of property loss claims. There are two types of water losses that a homeowner or business owner may encounter: water damage losses and flood losses. Understanding the difference between the two, and the type of coverage that covers each is of utmost importance to the success of your water damage claim. Homeowners insurance and flood insurance policies complement each other, but they don’t provide coverage for the same type of loss.
Water damages claims typically covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy include damage from broken pipes, leaky faucets, leaky roofs, heavy rains, etc. In general, to differentiate from a flood loss for insurance purposes, a water damage loss is caused by water before it comes in contact with the ground. Examples of water damage losses include storms where water leaks through the roof, a tornado smashing windows and allowing water in, broken pipes, etc.
Once the loss has occurred, it’s important that the insured takes immediate measures to mitigate the extent of the loss. How you handle the loss in the first hours of the damage is critical to the outcome of the water loss claim. You will need to employ all means necessary to mitigate the water loss. Getting the affected area to dry quickly may help prevent mold and costlier renovations later. Working with an experienced water restoration company is important, but don’t hire them without a written agreement from your insurance company.
Actually, the best thing to do right away is to hire the right public adjusting company to help guide you through the process and avoid the mistakes that could limit the value of your settlement. An experienced public adjuster will provide the guidance and expertise necessary for the success of your water loss claim, and also bring your family comfort and peace of mind.
Water damages from floods are not covered by the typical homeowner’s insurance. Homeowners must have private flood insurance for their property losses to be covered in the event of a flood. For insurance purposes, a flood loss is a loss caused by water that has been on the ground for some time before damaging your property. Flash floods, overflowing rivers, water leaking into a basement after a heavy rain, are examples of water damages normally classified as flood losses and are not covered by a homeowners policy.
To find out if your particular kind of water damage is covered by your insurance company is best to review your own policy. If it sounds unclear, you should contact your insurance agency or call our office, and we’ll be glad to help.
Generally, homeowners insurance policies cover water damages as result of a tornado or storm, if the water damage is due to rain, hail, or snow, falling from above. For example, if the wind damaged your roof during a storm, which made it rain inside your house, the resulting water damages would be covered. If, however, your home is flooded due to rising waters ( still a result of a storm!) – that is considered a “flood” and is not covered by the standard homeowner’s policy.
Most policies also cover other damages related to storms and tornadoes, like roof damage, collapsing trees, etc. However, all loss claims can be denied if the homeowner if found to have been negligent by not failing to protect the property (if the roof was aging, trees that caused the damage were dying, etc.)
If you have suffered water damages as result of an accidentally broken, or frozen pipe, you have a good chance of getting reimbursed. But, again, if the insurance adjuster finds that you failed to properly maintain your property, they may deem the water damage as due to negligence and deny your claim on those grounds.
Whether insurance companies cover damages from mold depends on what caused the mold in the first place. If it is due to water damage that is covered by the insurance (accidentally broken pipe, rain, winds or storms), then most likely the mold damage will also be covered. However, as mold and water claims are usually expensive, insurance companies do look twice before approving them. Proper documentation of claims is the main factor determining their success. Hiring professional help will significantly increase the chances of a mold or water claim to be approved.
A standard policy usually covers only water damages where the cause was “sudden and accidental”, for example forgetting to turn a faucet off, a burst pipe, or a blocked toilet. A standard insurance policy will not cover damages from floods or an act of God. So if your flooded basement is caused by melting water, storms, or overflowing rivers, that is a flood, and not covered. Also, water that seeps into your basement through cracks is considered flooding, and, since it could have been prevented through home maintenance, it is generally not covered.
Certain insurance carriers have extended coverage on water back-up. You should always check with your agent to see if you have ample coverage in case of water damage.
Water damage and mold can have disastrous long-term effects on the integrity of your home and on the health of your family. Water damage claims are expensive and insurance companies can deny them for many reasons. What you can’t afford to do is wait or take any chances with your financial future. You don’t want to wait months to start renovation work or to have to accept a settlement that doesn’t even begin to cover your losses.
At Ohio Fire Claims, we employ and work with the best professionals in the industry: appraisers, public adjusters, restoration contractors, negotiators, etc, to assure you are getting the best settlement possible. With us, you can rest assured your claim is properly documented, your losses correctly appraised, and, when it comes to negotiating, are on a level field with the insurance company, without having to resort to more expensive, legal action. Our team of experts can help you get a head start on the water restoration process and help you make a speedy financial recovery. Contact us today for a free consultation or site inspection. You’ll be impressed with what we can do for you.
Ohio Fire Claims’ public adjusters, will assist you in any way possible to help you steer clear of all the pitfalls insurance companies are counting on. We work for you!
Contact us today for a free consultation or site inspection. You’ll be impressed with what we can do for you!