Water Damage Claims
Water damage is one of the most common reasons for filing an insurance claim with your carrier. While coverage typically excludes perils like flooding or sewage backup, a homeowners policy should cover other sudden or internal perils like a burst pipe. Your dwelling coverage protects against structural damage if it was inside the property. Other weather-related perils causing damage can also be covered under your policy.
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Water Damage FAQs
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Damage from water and damage from flooding are two different forms of coverage in an insurance policy. The former is typically included in standard homeowners insurance policies while the latter is not. FEMA defines flooding as:
“A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of 2 or more acres of normally dry land area or of 2 or more properties (one of which is the policyholder’s) from:
- Overflow of inland or tidal waves; or
- Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or
- Mudflow; or
A collapse of subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water because of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that results in a flood as defined above.”
In most states, flood damage is excluded from a standard homeowners insurance policy. You will be required to obtain flood coverage through a public entity such as the National Flood Insurance Program or FEMA. You can alternatively obtain flood coverage through an authorized private carrier.
Most policies will not provide coverage for damage because of a sewer or a drain backup or a failed sump pump. Your policy may include added endorsements that allot coverage for sewer, drain, or sump pump backups up to a limited amount of money. It is important to read through your policy to determine the scope of your water damage coverage and any possible exclusions that may exist. Another option is to purchase a rider for sewer backup damage.
Water that accidentally discharges from a broken appliance may be covered under your homeowners insurance policy. Frozen pipes may also fall under your policy’s coverage, but there are often conditions attached such as maintaining heat in your home or properly winterizing your home.
A water exclusion clause restricts certain forms of water damage from being covered under an insurance policy. These clauses limit the water-related claims an insured can successfully make. Damage caused by flooding, standing water, groundwater, and drain or sewage backup typically fall under exclusion clauses.
Damage from snow, collapsed roofs from ice dams, and wind-driven rain may potentially be covered if the damage is proven to be a cause of a covered peril or weather condition.
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What to do
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