While water damage is the most common source of property damage, it should never be treated lightly. Whether caused by a leak or burst pipe, appliance issue, sewage backup, natural flooding or heavy rain, the water will quickly spread to the areas of least resistance and damage affected building materials and belongings in your home or building. Over time, everything from staining to warping and even structural damage of the property can occur. This is why it’s crucial to call a water damage restoration professional right away.
An emergency service should be called regardless of whether or not the damage is covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. However, there are only specific situations in which your insurance will cover water damage. The following are common scenarios in which the damage is covered.
How is Water Damage Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance
As long as the cause of the water damage was sudden and accidental, your homeowner’s insurance will most likely cover the cost of damage. But the coverage will ultimately depend on these factors:
- The source of the damage
- The circumstance of the damage: accidental, sudden, or gradual
- Your homeowner’s insurance policy
After making the call to your local water restoration company, review the details of your insurance policy to see if you are covered under dwelling coverage or personal property coverage.
Dwelling coverage will help cover the cost of property damage if it’s damaged by a covered peril. So if a frozen pipe suddenly bursts and damages your drywall, dwelling coverage can help pay for repairs to the drywall.
Personal Property Coverage
Personal property coverage will help cover the cost of damage to your personal property. So if a frozen pipe bursts and soaks your bookshelf, furniture, bed or other belongings, your personal property coverage can help cover the cost to repair or replace these items.
Just keep in mind that there will most likely be a deductible to pay before the coverage kicks in. Coverage limits may also apply under some policies. Just be sure to read up on the details or ask your insurance agent for the answers to specific questions.
When Water Damage Is Not Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance
The Source of Damage
While the building materials and items affected by the water damage may be covered under your insurance policy, the cost to repair the pipes out of which the water came is not covered.
So if your home didn’t have the proper amount of insulation to keep the water pipes warm in your home and they froze and burst, the cost to replace the soiled insulation, drywall, and surrounding materials may be covered, but the cost to replace the pipes themselves will come out of your own pocket.
Lack of Maintenance and Gradual Damage
Most homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover gradual damage. Insurance adjusters will always notice whether or not the damage to your home is gradual or sudden simply by inspecting the condition of your building materials.
Gradual damage is what occurs over time. Even if you just discovered it and filed a claim right away, the fact that it wasn’t called in when it first occurred will result in a denied claim.
The reason gradual damage is not covered is because water damage becomes worse over time and the extent of the damage could have been prevented. Some examples of gradual damage include a pipe that has been leaking for weeks or even months or water damage to the building materials as a result of a roof leak.
Gradual water damage can also be the result of poor or no maintenance. It’s normal for building materials to experience wear and tear, but proper maintenance can extend their lifespan. Failure to provide basic maintenance to prevent water damage will result in another denied claim.
An example of this would include a leaky pipe in your home that you decided to wait to have fixed. It’s likely that the damage has already spread to the floor below, the surrounding walls or even spurred mold growth. Because much of this damage could have been prevented, homeowner’s insurance will not cover these situations.
Water Backups and Natural Flooding
Standard homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the restoration costs of flooding; a separate flood insurance policy must have already been purchased 30 days prior to the flood for the damage to be covered. Even in the event of a major storm or other weather-related event, it won’t be covered without additional flood insurance.
Water and sewer backups are also not covered as additional coverage is required.
Emergency Water Damage Restoration
Regardless if the water damage in your home or building was gradual or sudden, covered or not, it must be cleaned up right away to prevent the issue from becoming worse. If left to sit, staining, warping and even structural damage can occur within your property. In addition, moist conditions will also encourage mold to develop and spread, consuming affected materials like drywall, flooring and other household surfaces.
But for those living in the Phoenix, AZ area, ServiceMaster All Care Restoration is available 24/7 to provide emergency water damage restoration services. As soon as we receive your first call, we will be on our way with advanced drying equipment, including air movers and dehumidifiers, to dry out all building materials. We also apply anti-microbials to prevent the risk of mold growth.
If mold is already present, our technicians are also licensed and equipped to remove it at the source while preventing cross contamination. Any soiled porous materials, including drywall, insulation, flooring, or furnishings will also be replaced so you won’t have to worry about doing it yourself.
After fully restoring all building materials and personal items, we will work with your insurance adjuster during the claims process (provided the damage is covered) for additional peace of mind.
Don’t hesitate to contact ServiceMaster All Care Restoration at (623) 486-0700 for emergency water damage restoration services in the Phoenix, AZ area.