When is Water Damage Not Water Damage?
When is water damage not water damage? When your insurance company gets involved! You see, although losses caused by water can be identical no matter the source of the water, insurance companies differentiate between what they consider “water damage”, “flood damage” and “sewer backup”. So, to make sure ALL your assets are totally covered, you’ll need to have coverage for all types of claims.
Although it seems counterintuitive, the standard homeowner’s insurance policy does not cover damage caused by floods. You’ll have to purchase a separate policy for that. To be labeled a flood, insurance companies follow the legal definition set by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) that it’s a "general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow." Those conditions are caused by such things as overflowing rivers, heavy rains, overflow of tidal waters, and mud slides.
Water Damage Insurance
The good news is that in many home insurance policies, water damage is part of your standard policy. The main distinction from flood insurance is that water damage occurs before the water hits the ground. (An easy mnemonic would be, “Flood damage rises, water damage falls.”) Some examples of such a claim would be:
- Water damage resulting from the extinguishing of a fire
- Soaked floors following a storm that broke windows
- A leaking appliance
- Accidental cracking, burning, or bulging of a steam, heat or AC system
- Frozen pipes that have burst
- A leaking roof
Sewer or Water Backup Insurance
These problems are possible caveats to what’s considered flood or water damage. Most homeowners’ policies will not cover damage caused by a sewer or water backup (e.g., from a leaking in-ground swimming pool, koi pond or other subsurface water feature on your property). You’ll need to purchase separate insurance coverage as an add-on to your homeowner’s policy to be covered. Their payout limits usually vary between $5,000 and $25,000.
Please note: Even if the water came from beyond your property, such as a pipe maintained by the city, your insurer still won’t cover it unless you purchase the special coverage outlined above.
If you have questions about any of this, contact your insurance agent. If your home is located on a flood plain, your agent will likely recommend that you purchase additional flood insurance to reduce your financial risk.
But regardless of where the water came from, be rest assured that the professionals at SERVPRO of Nixa / Branson tackle all water damage problems. We’ll dry you out, repair the damage and make it “Like it never even happened."