This is a question we get asked a lot by customers who have some kind of water damage in their home of business. Unfortunately, there is no definite answer because every insurance policy is different. However, there are some trends and basic coverage options that offer clues into what may or may not be covered on your claim. A professional restoration company can help guide you in your time of need, but it’s best to be prepared beforehand.
The Insurance Information Institute says most homeowners will be protected and covered if there is a water loss from things such as a burst pipe or ruptured water heater that soak some flooring, ceiling tiles and drywall. However, there are some major incidents that may not be currently covered on your policy.
While a water loss like the ones we mentioned above will likely be covered, flooding from an external source – like Mother Nature – may not be unless you have actual flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program. If your home sits in a flood plain or high-risk area for flooding, it is a good idea to seriously consider adding flood insurance. This is something on which your local government offices or even insurance agent would be able to offer sound advice.
Also, don’t expect your water loss to be covered if it happened from failing to maintain your home or commercial property. If you knowingly allow a pipe beneath the kitchen sink to leak for months and months without fixing the problem, your policy may not foot the bill for the repairs. Chances are if you’ve waited this long, the damage is pretty extensive as well and you’re not only looking at water damage, you’re looking at mold growth. But that’s beside the point. Your policy simply probably will not cover unresolved maintenance issues.
Now, if your washing machine suddenly becomes possessed and floods your laundry room, your insurance policy will probably be there for you to cover the cost of repairing the damage; you might need to foot the bill for the new appliance. Most policies won’t cover the cost of replacing the source of the problem.
Lastly, among the “not covered” incidents, is water that backs up from a sewer, meaning it contains bio hazard material. If you have a drain backup from a toilet, or any type of human waste gets backed up, you have a much bigger cleanup and disinfection job on your hands than just some water from the washing machine. Not only is it important to let a professional handle this cleanup, it’s important to connect with your insurance company quickly to determine if this all will be covered and the next steps to getting it remediated quickly.
If you aren’t exactly sure what your insurance policy covers, it’s a good idea to set up a meeting with your local insurance agent in Swissvale to go over your policy and talk about any additional coverage you may want to add. Often, adding on coverage for items like sewage overflow or backup only adds a few dollars to the premium every month, but can go a long way in offering home and business owners peace of mind that if they were to have a loss like that, their insurance policy would have them covered.