Most people learn a great deal about their homeowner’s insurance policy after there’s been an event— which is not the ideal time to have a crash course in coverage. At United Water Restoration, we see quite a few policies and situations. Although the details vary from one state to another and from one policy to another, we can share some general guidelines.
If you live in a flood-prone area— not just near a waterway or the ocean, but in an area that’s frequently hit by major storms— you should get flood insurance. Most insurance policies don’t cover floods, which are the most common natural disaster in the nation. Between 2008 and 2012, the average flood claim was $42,000-plus. Not something you want to pay out of pocket!
Water Damage v. Flood: What’s the Difference?
Water damage, as covered in the homeowner’s policy includes ‘instances of water hitting your home before touching the outside ground’. (No, we’re not making this up.) Damage from a leaky roof or broken pipe are insured. So too is mold that results from those accidents. But mold resulting from a flood won’t be covered unless you have separate flood insurance.
It’s important to note that it is the damage to your home that’s insured, not the actual item that failed. So if a busted pipe was the source of the problem, the ruined carpet will be covered but not the broken pipe.
FEMA estimates that just six inches of water can cause $20,000 in damage.
After the hurricanes of the past decade, the government started tracking storm damage. This website not only shows you scary videos of hurricane damage and houses surrounded by water, but offers assistance in finding low-cost policies. Check it out: https://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/.
Here are some things flood insurance generally does cover:
- Building & foundation
- Electrical & plumbing
- Permanently installed carpet, paneling & furniture
- Removal of debris
- Built-in appliances
In California, homeowners who file a water-damage claim may find their application for renewal denied. Insurance companies claim that the administrative costs of dealing with water damage are high, plus they worry about residual mold problems that might crop up.
Homeowners do have some protection, though. Our team can usually help you decipher the language in your policy. And remember, you are not required to accept the lowest bid on restoration work. Repair rates should reflect the prevailing charges in your area for quality work. It’s easy enough to find a fully licensed and insured firm to take charge of the clean-up work. Just call us!
While the first day or so after a catastrophic flood may seem like Armageddon, make sure you take the necessary steps to prevent further damage. We can help you identify what needs to be done. Also ask about time requirements. Most policies stipulate that preventive measures and restoration work be done within a certain time frame.
Questions? Call 800-430-5838. Fortunately for you, we deal with these issues every day.