This year has brought a lot of much needed moisture but that can also mean an increased risk of damage to your home and property. Water damage can be devastating, costly and destructive. The causes of water damage can range from weather-related flooding (such as run off water from heavy rain) to an overflowing toilet in your master bedroom.
Most homeowners don’t know what types of water damage are covered by their homeowners insurance. To avoid any unpleasant surprises, it’s always a good idea to familiarize yourself with the coverage in your policy. So let’s take a look at how insurers classify water damage, including the four main types of water damage that aren’t protected by a policy.
Water damage that isn’t covered
There are four types of water damage that are almost always excluded from homeowners policies. Let’s look at these four main exclusions individually.
Flooding is the No. 1 natural disaster in the United States, but homeowners insurance doesn’t cover this peril. Basically, any water that flows into your home from the ground isn’t covered. So rainwater, a surging river and saturated ground aren’t covered.
Homeowners can purchase separate flood insurance through FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), your agent can help with this process.
Like flooding, groundwater seepage isn’t covered by a standard homeowners policy. Often, older homes with basements will have problems with water seeping through concrete walls or from cracks in the foundation.
There are a number of remediation techniques, depending on the severity of the problem. These range from simple waterproofing to installing a sump pump and French drains.
Contact you agent to see what kind of coverage or endorsements your homeowners policy may offer regarding sump pump malfunctions.
Water that overflows from sewer pipes or drains and comes into your house isn’t covered by a standard homeowners policy. However, you can purchase a water backup rider or endorsement for your policy for a nominal price. Ask your agent about such coverage.
As a homeowner, you’re responsible for the sewer and water lines from the street to your house, but you can purchase a service-line endorsement to cover the failure of these pipes. A service-line endorsement can also cover utilities such as electricity, gas and telecommunications.
Poorly maintained plumbing
As noted previously, if you’ve neglected the plumbing or appliances in your house, water damage and mold stemming from their failure aren’t covered by a standard homeowners policy. For example, losses from a leaky toilet or a continuous drip in a faucet may not be covered by your policy.
Water damage is a serious threat to your home, and it can have a big impact on your finances. Your insurance professional can explain what’s covered and what’s excluded in your policy and how you may be able to add extra coverage.
You can reduce the potential for losses by scheduling regular maintenance on your house and taking care of repairs right away. Set aside some time in the spring and fall to do an inspection of your home. Have a professional take a look at your plumbing, air conditioning and water heater to make sure everything is working properly.
As the saying goes, “An ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure.” Take steps to keep water from damaging your property, and get the insurance you need so you can relax and enjoy your home in comfort.