Does My Standard Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover Water Damage?

Yes, in most cases, a standard homeowners insurance policy does cover water damage. However, the extent of coverage can vary depending on the cause of the damage. Homeowners insurance will cover sudden and accidental water damage, such as burst pipes or a malfunctioning appliance.

However, it probably will not cover damage caused by flooding or gradual issues like poor maintenance. When it comes to homeowners insurance coverage, it's essential to review your policy to determine the extent of personal property coverage provided.

Homeowners Insurance Policy Cover Water Damage

Which Types of Water Damage Are Typically Covered By Homeowners Insurance?

Under most insurance policies, water damage that occurs from sudden damage and some natural disasters is covered. This would involve the following situations:

  • Sudden and accidental leaks that occur in less than 2 weeks
  • Burst pipes
  • Washing machine leaks
  • Refrigerator leaks
  • Garbage disposal leaks
  • Rain and wind together (including hail storms)
  • Earthquakes (in some areas)
  • Slab leaks (slab leaks are sometimes excluded in insurance policies)

It will not cover flood damage, which is defined as damage caused by the overflow of water onto normally dry land.

Are There Specific Damage Exclusions in My Policy?

Yes, the following types of damage are typically not covered under a homeowners insurance policy:

  • Flood Damage: Damage from flooding is not covered under homeowners insurance. Most people need to purchase flood insurance separately, which can be done through a private insurance group or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
  • Source of Damage: This excludes coverage of appliances and similar property damages caused by the source of the damage, such as a broken dishwasher that caused water damage.
  • Gradual Damage: Many insurance policies will not cover issues that have existed longer than 14 days. If a pipe bursts due to old pipes that should have been replaced years ago, your insurance provider most likely will not pay for damages.

What Should I Do If I Experience Water Damage?

If you experience water damage you should immediately collect evidence. This includes taking pictures and videos. Make sure to document everything, even if you don’t think something was damaged. Many times property damage can occur that only a professional could properly identify. Images and videos are extremely important for showing proof of damage and validating your water damage claim.

You should also contact a licensed plumber, who can visit the property and create a report to document the extent of damage. They can also determine how long the water damage occurred and the exact location where it started. Insurance companies do not want to pay for damages that have existed for more than 14 days, making it important to immediately contact a plumber the moment the damage occurs. They can then provide evidence to support your claim of water damage.

Should I Contact a Licensed Public Adjuster?

Yes, a licensed public adjuster can help you throughout the entire claims process. You should consider contacting a public adjuster as soon as you experience water damage. The earlier in the process that you contact a public adjuster, the more we can help you with the claims process.

Specifically, a licensed public adjuster will help to:

  • Notify your insurance provider of the water damage
  • Maximize your payouts
  • Guide you through the water damage and flood claim process
  • Assist with every stage of your water damage claim
  • Get you the like-for-like standard of repairs outlined in your policy
  • Assist with claim denials
Licensed Public Adjuster

Doesn’t the Insurance Company Already Provide an Insurance Adjuster?

It’s correct that your insurance company provides an insurance adjuster, however, this individual works for the insurance company. This means they are looking for every reason not to reimburse you for damages. They are not advocating for you – they are inspecting your property with the best interests of the insurance provider in mind.

A public adjuster works for you, the policyholder, with the goal of helping you receive the maximum payout you are owed.

How Do I File a Water Damage Claim With My Homeowners Insurance Company?

To file a water damage claim with your homeowners insurance company, follow the below steps. If you hire a licensed public adjuster, they can help you with all of the below steps and guide you through the entire claims process.

  • Assess the Damage: First, assess the extent of the water damage and document it with photographs or videos.
  • Contact Your Insurer: Notify your insurance company as soon as possible. They will guide you on the claims process and provide the necessary forms.
  • Complete the Claim Form: Fill out the required claim form, providing accurate information about the damage, its cause, and any relevant details.
  • Provide Documentation: Attach any supporting documents, such as receipts for repairs or estimates, to substantiate your claim.
  • Cooperate with Insurer: Work with the insurance adjuster during their assessment and provide any requested information promptly.
  • Follow-up: Stay in touch with your insurer to track the progress of your claim and ensure a smooth resolution.

Which Steps Can I Take To Prevent Water Damage?

While you can’t always prevent water damage, there are some things you can do to reduce your chances of experiencing property damage due to water: Perform regular maintenance

  • Use proper insulation
  • Conduct a roof inspection
  • Install a sump pump
  • Seal cracks
  • Monitor appliances
  • Clean gutters regularly
  • Perform landscape grading
  • Install water alarms
  • Know where your water main shut-off is located

How Excel Adjusters Can Help With Your Water Damage Claim

At Excel Adjusters, our goal is to ensure your rights are upheld during the water damage process and maximize your payout. If you experience water damage, we will accompany the field insurance adjuster during the field scoping process and help you negotiate a fair payout.

We are not provided by the insurance company, making us fully independent and able to prioritize your needs.

If you’ve experienced water damage and need to file a claim, we can help with the water damage insurance claim process.

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