Water damage is one of the more frequent insurance claims made by homeowners. Whether it's from a leaky roof or a burst pipe, water damage can be devastating and expensive to clean up. It's important to know what types of damage your insurance policy does and doesn’t cover. The exact amount of coverage you'll have depends on your policy and any additional endorsements.
How Is Your Home Covered?
If you want to know how to maximize a water damage claim, you must first understand how your insurance policy covers water damage. Whether your homeowner’s insurance covers water damage depends on the source of the water that caused the damage.
1. Sudden or Accidental Water Damage
Typically, insurance policies require water damage to be the direct result of one of the perils covered by homeowner's insurance, including sudden and accidental incidents. These are situations that are out of your control and can happen at any time.
Such water damage incidents can include cracking, burning, tearing, or bulging of an automatic fire protection system, heating, or AC unit. Water damage incurred by a frozen or burst pipe would be covered by a homeowners insurance policy.
2. Internal Water Damage
Water damage due to weather, such as a rainstorm or snowstorm, will be covered. If water enters your home from above ground, such as a tree breaking a window during a rainstorm, you can file a water damage claim. Other incidents such as vandalism that could cause water damage would be considered a peril that is covered by insurance.
If you had a house fire that required the fire department to extinguish it, the water from the water hose can cause damage to your home. Damage cleanup would be covered.
3. Faulty Appliances
We benefit greatly from our appliances. Although we rely heavily on them, they can also cause havoc to our homes. When appliances are faulty, serious water damage can happen. Accidental overflows of the bathtub, sink, or toilet can also turn your home into a wet mess. The most common appliances to overflow or cause water damage include:
- Washing Machine. The most common cause of water damage from a washing machine is the supply hose failure. Overloading your washer can also cause serious water damage. Washing with smaller loads might have disadvantages but it can lengthen the lifespan of your washer.
- Refrigerator. A leaky refrigerator happens for several reasons. One of these is the clogged defrost drain. Water builds up and eventually starts to leak out of the refrigerator. Other causes of a leaky refrigerator is a broken drain pan and a loose ice maker supply line. If the connection is loose, you will be facing tremendous water damage at home.
- Water Heater. Water heaters are the leading cause of water damage. A leak from the water heater can be the cause of a malfunctioned temperature and pressure relief valve, a loose connection, or a corroded storage tank.
- Dishwasher. Water damage from a dishwasher can be caused by putting too much detergent into the dispenser, a damaged or broken gasket, or loose hinges. The leak could also be from the pipes that connect the dishwasher from the main water supply line.
Insurance policies do not cover water damage caused by lack of maintenance, neglect, or flooding. If the water comes from outside your home, it will not be covered by your standard policy.
If you’re concerned about water damage coverage, talk to your insurance agent. You can seek special protection from flood-related damages with flood insurance, which is a separate policy that can be a smart addition to your existing home coverage.
Ways to Prevent Water Damage
Even if the damage is covered by insurance, it’s always better to avoid water damage in the first place. The following tips can help prevent water damage in your home:
- Inspect, clean, and replace hoses going to and from washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters, and refrigerators.
- Keep water supply lines clear and open.
- Drain water heaters twice a year to prevent sediment buildup.
- Prevent frozen and burst pipes by keeping them warm and insulated.
- Consider a Smarthome water leak sensor. Other smart options for your home include Wi-fi connected thermostats that prevent your home from becoming cold enough for pipes to freeze.
Getting Professional Water Damage Restoration
No matter the cause, if you sustain water damage to your home, you’ll need to get it back working order. St. Louis Cleaning and Restoration can do just that with our specialized equipment to remove water and dry it out. We will work with you and your insurance company to help file any claims.