Water Damage: Does My Insurance Cover That?

Water is essential to the survival of humanity here on Planet Earth.
71% of the planet’s surface is covered in water.
Water makes up 60% of our human bodies.
It keeps us hydrated and healthy and provides endless opportunities for rest and recreation.

But water can also be one of the most destructive natural forces known to man.

A Force of Nature

What happens when instead of a gentle spring shower, the water comes down and unleashes nature’s fury upon us?

Hurricanes are becoming more frequent and more destructive.

Thunderstorms last for days, kill our crops, flood the streets, and damage our homes.

What happens when the rains come, the storm sewers can’t keep up, and the basement floods?

What if your bathtub overflows or the water hose pops off your washing machine?

Does your insurance cover that?

“Unfortunately, the answer is: ‘It depends,'” says Bill Lawrence, CIC, and President of P/L/R Insurance. “Coverage for water damage claims can be confusing for many policyholders since whether or not the claim is covered depends on the cause of the damage.”

“If a pipe bursts in your house, for example, your policy will usually cover the damage caused by that water leak. But typically, the pipe that burst is not covered. You’ll need to call a plumber to come and replace the pipe. So, say you had $5,000 damage to your home, and you had to pay a $1,000 deductible. Your homeowner’s policy will cover the remaining $4,000 worth of damage from the water leak. But you will have to pay the plumber, because your policy probably won’t cover the damage to the water pipe.”

What about flood insurance?

“In the insurance world, anytime surface water or underground hydrostatic pressure causes water to leak into your home, you have a flood,” Lawrence explains. “Hydrostatic pressure is created by standing (“static”) water (“hydro”), and it can present as water leaking into a concrete structure, like a typical basement in our area.”

For example, the pressure from standing water in a basement window well or the water from saturated soil around a home’s foundation can seep in through microscopic cracks in the concrete, causing a “flood.”

“A typical homeowner’s policy usually doesn’t cover this type of ‘flood’ damage,” Lawrence continues. “Homeowners can purchase flood insurance in our area, but it is important to remember that flood insurance only covers damage to the building. To cover any belongings that are damaged, in such an event, you would need to add ‘contents’ insurance to your policy.”

The best protection?

Most of the water damage claims that we see here in Central Illinois have more to do with water back up from sewers and sump pumps than with the flood damage described above. At P/L/R Insurance, “We encourage our clients to add a “water back up endorsement” when they set up a homeowner’s policy,” Lawrence explains.

“That way, they’re protected against the costly water damage that can result from backed-up drains or failed sump pumps. Around here, that kind of damage can stem from heavy rains, debris that causes a clog in your drainage system, or even root invasion from something in the yard outside your home.”

All that water damage can also cause mold, and mold mitigation may be covered by the water backup endorsement. Without the endorsement, a homeowner’s policy usually does not cover this sort of damage.

“Depending on the value of your home, the average cost of water backup coverage ranges from $50 to $250 per year, and coverage limits are usually available in $5,000 increments. Be sure and talk to your insurance agent to find the level of coverage that is right for you.”

Talk to P/L/R today!

At P/L/R, we understand that finding the right insurance coverage for your home can be confusing, and we are here to help. Our goal is to make the process simple and to help you find the policy that’s just right for you and your family. If you’re tired of high-pressure sales reps and are ready to make a move to a trusted insurance agency, call us today for a free quote.

At P/L/R, it’s all about what works best for you!

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