A water damage event his hit your home, and one of the first things you should do is to check your insurance policy or call your insurance agent and determine if your damage is covered. Even though you may be faced with plenty of damage and the beginning of mold, all homeowners policies dont automatically cover all types of water damage.
Once you understand what your policy covers, then you can quickly begin to remediate the damage to your property and begin to get the information to file a claim assuming you know what will be covered, according to the web site insure.com.
First and foremost, as some residents of New Orleans and the Mississippi Gulf Coast learned during Hurricane Katrina in 2005, a flood is not covered by homeowners insurance. Floods are only covered by flood insurance thats issued by the National Flood Insurance Program and cant be bought through nearly any insurance company.
Heres the kicker, though. Flood insurance policies have a ceiling not shared by homeowners insurance, and a separate level for contents that many people dont bother to adjust to their situations. So many homeowners in New Orleans wanted their homeowners insurance to handle the situation, because it provided more coverage.
Water damage from a leaking room is covered by most homeowners insurance, though the damage to the roof is not. Thats because of the generally accepted principle that anything related to maintenance falls to the homeowners. Roofs need to be properly maintained so the roof damage is not allowed.
Likewise, water from an appliance overflowing or pipes freezing and bursting, are both covered. Again, insurance companies general cover water damage if it was a sudden, catastrophic event, and not, as insure.com explains, a gradual wear and tear over time that proper maintenance could have avoided.
And two final areas of water damage: Seepages from the ground into the basement and sewer backup. Neither of these are covered by homeowners insurance. Seepage clearly is a gradual event that can be diagnosed and corrected before any significant damage results. Sewer backup is something that many insurance policies around the country specifically exclude.
So, now you know whether your own water event is covered by homeowners, flood insurance or has to be repaired out of pocket. And you are ready to take the next step – which is to document the damage and get an adjuster to your house as soon as possible to begin the process of submitting an insurance claim.