Water damage insurance claims. The best tips for handling a water damage insurance claim.
Water damage insurance claims
Water damage is one of the most significant risks to your house. It’s essential to know what your home policy covers in case your home suffers water damage.
Most standard home insurance policies cover water damage if the cause is sudden, internal, and accidental. Whether the water damage is covered depends on the source and circumstance.
Water damage caused by outside flooding is typically not covered.
This guide will outline tips and advice for successful water damage insurance claims.
Table of contents
- What types of water damage are covered by homeowners insurance?
- What types of water damage are excluded?
- How do water damage insurance claims work?
- How to file a claim for water damage
- How can I protect my property from water damage?
What types of water damage are covered by homeowners insurance?
Several types of water damage are covered by homeowners insurance, such as:
- Rain or snowstorm damage
- Sudden plumbing issues: burst pipes, frozen plumbing, faulty plumbing, accidental overflow
- Water damage from extinguishing a fire/hose damage from fires
- Leaking roof damage (to the home interior, not the roof itself)
- Appliance overflows or fixtures (toilet, washing machine, bathtub)
- Mold as a result of covered water damage
What types of water damage are excluded?
Standard home insurance doesn’t always cover water damage.
A home policy usually won’t cover water damage unless it results from an accident or sudden, unexpected incident.
Damage resulting from a lack of maintenance and neglect means you’re personally liable to cover the cost of repairs.
Home insurance typically does not cover water damage caused by:
- Ground seepage
- Sewer pipe backups
- Damage caused by negligence
- Poorly-maintained pipes
Most policies don’t cover flood damages. A separate flood insurance policy can cover water damage from flooding. It’s essential to have a flood policy in place if you reside in an area at risk of floods.
How do water damage insurance claims work?
Whether you’re covered for water damage typically depends on three key factors.
- Type of policy
- Source of the damage
- Cause of the damage
Type of policy
Firstly, understanding what type of water damage your homeowner insurance policy covers is important. The type of policy determines if you can file a water damage insurance claim.
Source of the damage
Second, understanding where the source of the water damage begins is equally important. As a rule of thumb, most damage is covered if the source of the damage comes from inside your home.
Cause of the damage
Most policies won’t protect you against wear and tear or gradual damage, but sudden water damage is usually covered.
How to file a claim for water damage
No matter if you notice a sudden leak or a patch of mold on the ceiling or wall, you should begin filing a claim. Remember that the insurer is less likely to pay for older damage. In either case, you should never ignore the visible signs of moisture.
Insurance claims water damage tip: If you get a leak fixed (to protect your no-claims bonus) without telling your insurance company, they can refuse to pay for a future leak in the same area.
Step 1. Record evidence
Gathering evidence is an integral part of the water damage claims process. The more proof you have, the higher the chance of success.
- You should take photos and video recordings of the affected areas and damaged belongings.
- Leave the scene undisturbed until an adjuster has completed their inspection.
- Take photos if the problem worsens. You can use these as ‘before and after’ images.
- You should get a detailed report from a plumber or a leak detection expert.
- Make a detailed inventory list of all damaged items, including as much information about them as possible, and list their cash value if possible.
Step 2. Minimize the damage
Insurers expect you to minimize or prevent further damage, known as mitigation.
- If possible, prevent more damage and move undamaged valuables to avoid further harm.
- Follow safety precautions, such as turning off your internal stop valve if the water damage is flooding through a burst pipe, and stop the damage from worsening.
- You should also turn off the electricity if the leak is severe.
- No matter the leak’s severity, investigate and fix the issue as early as possible.
Step 3. Contact your insurance company
After you’ve followed the above steps, it’s time to let your insurance provider know about the incident.
- Have your policy number and information ready with your list of damaged possessions to help the claim process to go smoothly.
- Your insurer will likely send you a link or email to submit the evidence you’ve taken.
- The insurance company may need to send an adjuster to inspect your home.
Step 4. Meet with the loss adjuster
Your insurance provider may send an adjuster to inspect your home to investigate the damage and loss.
It’s the adjuster’s job to determine what caused the damage, decide if you’re covered, and calculate the cost of repairs.
Your insurance provider will use their report to decide on your water leak insurance claim.
Step 5. Get quotes for the repair work
Finally, you must obtain repair quotes and have a tradesperson do the necessary repairs. If your insurance claim is successful, your insurance company will pay you or the tradesperson directly.
Your insurance provider might suggest using one of their approved tradespeople, but you can hire whomever you wish.
Standard home insurance doesn’t cover water damage resulting from neglect.
Whether you’re covered for water damage typically depends on the type of policy you have and the source and cause of the damage.
Use our water damage insurance claims tips above to make a successful claim.
How can I protect my property from water damage?
Taking preventative measures will protect your home from water damage.
If you notice any leaks, you must make prompt repairs. Also, keep up with routine maintenance to prevent any issues from occurring.
Here are some more tips to protect your home from water damage.
- Routinely drain any water heaters in your home to prevent sediment buildup and leaks.
- Invest in leak detectors that will alert you if your appliance is leaking.
- Inspect appliance water hoses and promptly repair or replace them, if necessary (e.g., heaters, dishwashers, refrigerators, and washing machines.)
- Routinely inspect your roof and clean out your roof gutters. Clogged gutters can overflow and seep into your home.
- Clean your gutters in the autumn to remove fallen leaves to reduce the risk of clogged drains and ice buildup in the winter.
Utilizing the above tips will help to prevent water damage to your home.
If you experience water damage to your home, use the tips in this guide to help you make a successful water damage insurance claim.