What Is Water Damage?

Water damage can cover a wide range of incidents in your home, from floods to roof leaks and everything in between. If it involves water leaking in places it shouldn’t be, it’s likely water damage. However, there are three distinct types of water damage of varying severity. These include:


Category 1 - Clean Water

Clean water damage comes from a sanitary water source and does not pose a substantial risk from dermal, ingestion, or inhalation exposure. Luckily, most Wet drywall, carpet, pad, and hardwood flooring can be dried and salvaged after the incident. Common sources of category 1 water in your home are:

  • Water supply lines
  • Melting ice/snow
  • Rainwater
  • Toilet tanks
  • Toilet bowls without contaminants

Category 2 - Grey Water

Incidents with significantly contaminated water (grey water), cause a more concerning form of water damage. The presence of harmful bacteria and other pathogens that can make you sick is possible, making it more difficult to salvage damaged materials. However, carpet, padding, and other household features can be restored with the right disinfectants. Here are some examples of where category 2 water damage can come from:

  • Leaks and overflow from washing machines and dishwashers
  • Toilet bowl overflows
  • Hydrostatic pressure seepage 
  • Broken aquariums
  • Punctured water beds

Category 3 - Black Water

The most severe and concerning category of water damage, Category 3 is considered grossly contaminated and may contain pathogenic, toxigenic, and other harmful agents. These agents can be extremely harmful to human health, and all affected cosmetic materials should be removed and replaced. Black water contamination can come from:

  • Sewage
  • Waste line backflows from beyond the trap
  • Seawater
  • Rising water from rivers/streams
  • Wind-driven rain from hurricanes/tropical storms

Homeowners Insurance and Water Damage: What’s Covered

Not all types of water damage are covered by homeowners' insurance, and it’s important to know what’s covered before you file a claim. That way, you can make the most out of your time and energy.

Homeowners Insurance and Water Damage: What’s Covered

Water Damage Covered By Insurance

Most water damage that’s the result of accidental leaks, sudden incidents, and natural disasters is covered. For example:

Water Damage Covered By Insurance

Burst Pipes:

Pipes often burst during the colder months, when water freezes inside them and expands enough to rupture the walls of the pipe. Insurance companies will typically cover the subsequent damage caused to walls, flooring, and personal belongings, so long as you didn’t neglect to keep your home properly heated.


Ice Dams:

This type of water damage occurs when ice builds up in your gutters, leading to roof, insulation, drywall, paint, and home structure issues. Homeowners will likely cover these incidents if they are sudden and not caused by a lack of maintenance.


Appliance Leaks:

Whether caused by a broken dishwasher, refrigerator, or laundry machine, you can expect insurance coverage for any water damage so long as you report the incident in less than 2 weeks.

Roof Leaks:

When accidents cause roof leaks to occur, such as a tree falling or a severe storm surge, you can trust most homeowners insurance policies to cover the damage. However, keep in mind that all incidents must be reported in a timely manner.


Severe Weather Damage:

When a sudden squall line with damaging winds or hailstorm rolls through your area unexpectedly, homeowners insurance should cover any damage done to your property.


Slab Leaks:

This issue occurs when pipe leaks beneath the home damage the slab foundation. Some insurances cover this issue when it’s caught early on, but because it often goes unnoticed for long periods of time, coverage can be very hit or miss.

Severe Weather Damage:

Water Damage NOT Covered By Insurance

Unfortunately, there are some common water damage incidents that aren’t covered by standard homeowners insurance. Most often, these will be instances where your own decisions or inaction led to the incident, at least in the insurance company’s eyes.

Water Damage NOT Covered By Insurance

Flood Damage:

Floods from hurricanes, tsunamis, and local rivers aren’t covered by standard insurance. If you live in a high-risk area you’ll need to purchase flood insurance on top of your standard policy.


Source of The Water Damage:

If your water damage came from a broken appliance, the insurance company will not cover the cost of fixing that appliance (i.e. your refrigerator)


Damage From Negligence:

If the insurance company determines that the damage was caused by poor maintenance or negligence on the part of the homeowner, they will not cover the cost.

Gradual Damage:

Your insurance policy may not cover incidents that occurred more than 14 days ago. If issues are allowed to accumulate longer than this timeframe, it may be considered negligence.



Insurance will not cover instances of damage that were intentionally caused. For example, if you purposely set fire to your home or turned off the heat in winter.


Sump Pump Failure:

Most often, this issue requires a sump and water backup coverage, which isn’t included in a standard insurance plan.

Gradual Damage

What To Do If You Experience Water Damage

When you experience water damage in your home, there are a few key steps you should take to ensure coverage and reduce repair costs. Step by step, you should:

Assess the Damage

The first step in any water damage scenario is to assess the damage. Determine where the water may be coming from as quickly as possible. In the case that the leak can be stopped, take action right away to prevent further damage. We recommend shutting off the water in most instances.

Collect Evidence

When dealing with insurance companies, time is of the essence. It’s vital that you document any and all damage you see as soon as you see it. Take photos and videos of the damage, including damage done to the floors. Do not throw anything away, as broken filtration systems, pipes, garbage disposals, water heaters, washing machines, or other items you find serve as important evidence.

We also recommend contacting a licensed plumber. As professionals, they can give you a timeline of how long the leak has occurred and the exact location. This makes it easier to prove eligibility for coverage.

Contact A Licensed Public Adjuster

Insurance claims can be confusing, and companies are all to eager not to cover damage whenever possible. To achieve the best possible results from your claim, you should contact a public adjuster early in the claims process.

This third-party defender is on your side, ensuring you receive a fair payout after insurance companies visit your home and inspect the damage. That way, insurance companies can’t take advantage of you when “field scoping” your property. With advanced knowledge of insurance policies and home repair, your public adjuster will speak to insurance companies in a language they understand.

File Your Insurance Claim

With key evidence and a public adjuster in tow, you can feel confident when you file your insurance claim. Contact your homeowners’ insurance as soon as you have everything in order, provide them with the evidence you’ve gathered, and get them in contact with your public adjuster.

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

How Excel Adjusters Helps With Your Water Damage Claim

Expert Communication

We know the ins and outs of common insurance policies, allowing us to approach your insurance company from a knowledgeable and rational background. This communication is key to obtaining optimal coverage, as you can bypass any negative emotions or confusion you might encounter when trying to communicate with an insurance company yourself.

Defending Your Interests

We put your interests first, which is why we accompany the field insurance adjuster during the field scoping process and help you negotiate a fair payout. That way, the process won’t be skewed in favor of the insurance company.

Exceptional Guidance

More than just communicating with your insurance company for you, we also prioritize making sure you understand the process yourself. We’ll advise you every step of the way, managing and submitting any necessary paperwork on your behalf.

Achieving Maximum Payouts

Our ultimate goal is to help you achieve the best possible payout for your insurance claim. We’ll work tirelessly each day to ensure you get the money you need to replace any damage.

How To Protect Your Home From Water Damage

How To Protect Your Home From Water Damage

While most sudden and accidental water damage cannot be avoided, there are ways you can safeguard your home against the issues that aren’t covered by insurance. To protect your home from future water damage, you should:

  • Regularly drain your water heaters twice a year to prevent sediment buildup.
  • Inspect and replace hoses connected to and from household appliances when necessary.
  • Conduct regular roof inspections and make necessary repairs, such as replacing missing, rotten, or damaged shingles. 
  • Check and clean roof gutters to prevent ice dam and overflow damage.
  • Install smart water-leak detectors that can send alerts to your phone or email. 
  • Take precautions to prevent frozen pipes, such as keeping your heating set to at least 50 degrees and insulating pipes in the winter.

Trust Excel Adjusters To Get Results

If you need to make an insurance claim for water damage, consider connecting with the best public adjuster in California. Excel Adjusters offers extensive insurance claim services, so you’ll never again feel like there’s no one in your corner.

From managing confusing paperwork to achieving the best possible payouts, we can do it all. We’ll guide you through the process every step of the way until you achieve the results you deserve.

So, if you’re ready to take the stress out of filing insurance claims, you can get started on our website, or contact us at (213) 800-3333.


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