Water damage (from floods, tornadoes, broken pipes) is one of the most common type of property damage claims. The costs associated with reconstruction and remediation of water infiltration are usually very high.
To make matters worse, there are many instances when the insurance company will not cover a water damage claim. To find out if your particular kind of water damage is covered by your insurance company, is best to review your own policy. If it sounds unclear, you should contact your insurance agent or call our office, and we’ll be glad to help.
In general, standard homeowners insurance policies cover water damages as result of a tornado or storm, IF the water damage is due to rain, hail, or snow, falling from above. For example, if the wind damaged your roof during a storm, which made it rain inside your house, the resulting water damages would be covered. If, however, your home is flooded due to raising waters ( result of a storm!) – that is considered a “flood”, and may not be covered by a standard homeowners policy.
Most policies include other damages related to storms and tornadoes, like roof damage, collapsing trees, wind etc. But, in the appraisal process, if the insurance adjusters find that you have not properly maintained your property (the roof was aging, the trees were dying, etc.), your water damage claim may be denied.
If you have suffered water damage as result of an accidentally broken pipe, or frozen pipe, you have a good chance of getting reimbursed for the damages suffered. But, again, if the insurance adjuster finds that you failed to properly maintain your property, they may deem the water damage as due to negligence and deny your claim on those grounds.
It depends on what caused the mold in the first place. If it is due to water damage that is covered by the insurance (accidentally broken pipe, rain, winds or storms), then most likely the mold damage will also be covered. However, as mold and water claims are usually expensive, insurance companies do look twice before approving them. Properly documenting claims is the main factor determining the its success. Hiring professional help will significantly increase the chances of a mold or water claim to be approved.
A standard policy usually covers only water damages where the cause was “sudden and accidental”, for example forgetting to turn a faucet off, a burst pipe, or a blocked toilet. A standard insurance policy will not cover damages from floods or an Act of God. So if your flooded basement is caused by melting waters, storms, or overflowing rivers, that is a flood, and not covered. Also, water that seeps into your basement through cracks is considered flooding, and, since it could have been prevented through home maintenance, it is generally not covered.
Certain insurance carriers have extended coverage on water back-up. You should always check with your agent to see if you have coverage in case of water damage.
Water damage and mold can have disastrous long-term effects on the integrity of your home and on the health of your family. Water damage claims are expensive and insurance companies can deny them on many grounds. What you can’t afford to do, is wait or take any chances with your financial future. You don’t want to wait months to start renovation work, or to have to accept a settlement that doesn’t even begin to cover your losses.
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