What is Considered Water Damage?
Most home insurance policies will only cover sudden and accidental damage from natural disasters. 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
- Wind-driven rain (including hail storms, however, rain alone is typically not covered)
- Earthquakes (in some areas this is covered, but is typically sold as a separate policy)
- Slab leaks (State Farm is the only carrier that excludes slab leaks)
Which Types of Water Leaks and Damage Are Not Covered Under Homeowner’s Insurance:
Flood Damage: Flood damage is not covered under homeowners insurance and is not the same as water damage. For flood damage coverage, you’ll need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy.
Gradual Damage: If damage occurred more than 14 days before the leak, the insurance company will deny the claim. For example, if you have a pipe burst that results in water damage, but the pipes burst due to not replacing them when needed, the insurance provider might find you at fault for neglecting to take care of your pipes and not covering the costs for damages.
Source of Damage: Most insurance coverage policies do not cover the source of the damage. For example, if your home has water damage that was caused by a broken refrigerator, the costs of replacing the refrigerator would not be covered under the policy.
Common Mistakes Homeowners Make When Filing a Water Leak Insurance Claim
Below are the common mistakes homeowners make when filing a water leak insurance claim. Make sure to avoid these same mistakes:
- Waiting too long to report the water leak, resulting in claim denial
- Failing to document the property damage with photos and videos
- Providing inaccurate information on paperwork
- Not properly maintaining the home’s plumbing, leading to claim denial
- Not understanding their coverage
- Missing documentation deadlines
- Not communicating enough with an insurance agent at the insurance company during the claims process
How a Public Adjuster Can Help with Water Damage Insurance Claims
Hiring a licensed public adjuster can be the difference between a successful claim with a fair payout versus a lowball payout (or a claim refusal) from the insurance company. A public adjuster is fully independent and able to prioritize your needs as the policyholder.
They’ll help to:
Notify Your Insurance Provider: A public adjuster holds Power of Attorney, making it possible for them to notify and speak with your insurance provider on your behalf.
Maximize Your Payouts: Public adjusters know how to speak with insurance carriers about water leak claims and will use their expertise to get you the fair settlement you are owed for damages.
Guide You Through the Water Damage Claim Process: Filing a water damage claim can be extremely complicated and stressful, especially if you’ve never filed a property damage insurance claim before. It can also be time-consuming. A public adjuster will be there every step of the way, taking care of any paperwork and advising you throughout the claims process.
Assist with Loss of Use Expenses: If your insurance company is refusing to cover Loss of Use expenses, a public adjuster will work with your insurance company in an attempt to get you reimbursed for any costs you incurred while not able to access or use your commercial building.
Get You “Like-For-Like” Repairs: If your insurance company cuts corners and does a poor repair job, a public adjuster can help negotiate with your insurance company in order to get the “like-for-like” standard outlined in your policy. This is also known as “like kind and quality. If your insurance policy includes these terms, you are entitled to receive a payout from your insurance company that covers the entire cost to replace items of the same quality as what you previously owned.
Assist with Claim Denials: For a water leak claim that an insurance company denies, a public adjuster can speak with your insurance company to provide evidence and reasoning as to why your claim should be covered.