Does Insurance Cover Water Damage Costs?

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You’ve just gotten comfortable in your new space—then, all of a sudden—you have water pooling in your basement, or maybe your laundry room is a soggy mess. Now, water is ruining your belongings and may even be causing structural damage.

Leaking or burst pipes, missing roof shingles, and clogged drains can all be the cause of the disaster that you’re stuck dealing with. To help, you need a water damage restoration Aurora, CO specialist to help get your property back to a livable state.

Unfortunately, restoring a property after water damage can be expensive. This leaves property owners wondering if they’re responsible for the costs or if their insurance covers some of the expenses.

Does Insurance Cover Water Damage Restoration Costs

Water damage claims cost insurance companies around $13 billion each year. In fact, close to 24% of homeowner insurance claims involve water damage, and this means there’s a good chance your property insurance will at least cover some of the restoration costs.

This is good news for property owners who are probably staring at hefty clean-up and restoration costs. However, every insurance company is different so it’s a good idea to read your policy before filing a claim.

If your water damage is caused by an accident or suddenly occurs, there’s a good chance you’re covered—this typically includes water damage from a plumbing accident, frozen pipes, leaking roofs, and even ice dams. If your property is vandalized, you’re probably covered if the incident results in water damage.

While some causes of water damage are covered by most property insurance companies, it doesn’t apply to all. So, when is your water damage not covered by insurance?

What Insurance Often Doesn’t Cover

Some situations usually result in a denial of your water damage insurance claim, and an example of this is flooding.

If your water damage is caused by flooding due to a natural disaster like a heavy rainstorm, you’re probably not covered under your property insurance policy. Instead, you need to turn to your flood insurance, which is a separate policy you can get from either a private insurer or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).

Standard property insurance also doesn’t cover water damage restoration costs caused by the following scenarios:

  • Negligence: As the property owner, you have a responsibility to keep up with general maintenance. Water damage caused by neglect isn’t covered by most property insurance policies. An example is if you ignore the missing shingles on your roof and water leaks inside.
  • Backed up sewage or septic system: Property insurance typically doesn’t cover water damage caused by a sewage or septic system backup. Damage from this issue can be extensive and expensive to clean up and repair. There are also certain health risks that are associated with this type of water damage that can add to remediation costs.
  • Gradual damage: Over time, leaks can develop in the water lines and pipes. PVC and rubber water lines are inexpensive but the material gradually weakens over time. Connections around the pipes can loosen, resulting in slow and steady leaks. The damage may not be instantly noticeable, but it will build up over time. Gradual damage isn’t covered by property insurance, making repair costs your responsibility.
  • Earth movement: Even though Aurora, CO isn’t prone to earthquakes the ground can still shift under and around structures when a water leak is present. The constant stream of water can lead to soil erosion and even cause a landslide. While some property insurance policies do cover damages caused by some types of earth movement, it doesn’t apply to all. Before you file a water damage claim, it’s a good idea to read through your policy.

Reviewing your property insurance policy before experiencing water damage can help ensure you know precisely what’s covered and what you can expect to pay out of your pocket. This can also highlight any gaps you may have in coverage, for example, insurance for flooding caused by natural disasters.

Filing a Water Damage Claim with Your Insurance Provider

If your water damage is covered by your property insurance provider, you don’t want to wait to file a claim. The water damage restoration specialist isn’t going to wait to receive payment. This means you’re going to need to come up with the funds while you wait for claim approval.

Filing a water damage claim is pretty simple. Yes, there’s a form and it’s pretty self-explanatory. Along with filling out the claim form, you’re going to need to document the damage and get some estimates of the clean-up costs.

Take Pictures of the Damage

If the structure is safe to enter, go ahead and do a walk-through with a camera or video recorder. The app on your smartphone will work just fine. Remember, you’re only documenting the water damage and not creating a Hollywood film. No one cares about lighting and angles, all your insurance adjuster wants to see are images of the damage.

You’ll submit these pictures with your claim form. If you’re filling out the claim form online, be ready to export the images. If this is your first time exporting images from your phone, the process is easy and the device will probably provide prompts to walk you through the simple steps.

Call the Insurance Company

You can call your insurance provider before filling out the paperwork or immediately after hitting the submit tab. You want to give your insurer a heads-up that you’re filing a water damage claim. This way, you don’t need to worry about your claim form accidentally being pushed to the bottom of the pile.

This is also when you’ll schedule a time for the insurance adjuster to come out and inspect the damage. Yes, you’re sending pictures but the insurance adjuster will still want to come out and take a look.

Contact a Water Damage Restoration Specialist

If you’re filing an insurance claim, chances are your water damage isn’t a DIY job. You may be dealing with structural damage, especially if the moisture is underneath your flooring and behind the walls.

Electrical issues can also pop up after experiencing water damage, and this type of repair should only be done by licensed professionals. With the right water damage restoration specialist, you can get your water-logged property back to its pre-flooding state.