Water can damage almost every part of your house. The electrical system, beddings, books, electronics, and even the house structures can all suffer water damage. Here are the major factors determining water damage coverage and tips to maximize your compensation.
Factors That Determine Coverage
When it comes to water damage, everyone’s situation is different. Below are some of the factors that determine coverage.
Speed of the Damage
Homeowners insurance typically only covers sudden and accidental water damage. Most forms of coverage exclude gradual water damage. For example, your coverage will probably apply if a water pipe bursts and floods your house with water while you are at work.
However, the coverage might not help you if a DIY plumbing mishap causes a water leak that gradually damages your home. In this case, the damage is neither gradual nor accidental.
Cause of the Damage
Your home insurance company will also be interested in the course of the damage. First, you should know that standard home insurance doesn’t cover flood damage. The coverage won’t come to your rescue if floodwaters sweep through your house and damage its contents. You need flood insurance for such damage.
For other forms of water damage, home insurance may apply depending on your policy. For most policies, coverage typically applies if a house suffers water damage due to a roof leak. On the other hand, many policies exclude sewer or water backup from outside the house.
Nature of the Damage
You should also know that water damage comes in various forms, and home insurance only covers some of them. Your home insurance will apply, for example, if water damages your electrical system or siding. However, the coverage is unlikely to help if the moisture triggers mold growth in your home and you require mold remediation.
Tips to Maximize Compensation
Once you have established that you have coverage, the next step is to maximize your compensation. The following tips can help.
Mitigate the Damage
Water damage has both immediate and long-term effects. Examples of long-term damage include corrosion and decay. As previously mentioned, your insurance coverage only applies to sudden and accidental damage. Thus, you need to mitigate the damage as much as possible. Damage mitigation measures include:
- Drying out the house
- Extracting and cleaning items exposed to water
- Stopping further flooding
- Switching off electricity in water-logged areas
With such measures, you won’t give the insurance company any reason to claim that your actions or inactions contributed to the damage. That way, you increase your chances of full compensation.
Document the Damage
You also need to document the damage. The documentation will serve as proof of your loss. Your insurance company will only compensate you for losses you can prove. Here are a few tips that can help:
- Take photos or videos of the damage
- Create an inventory of the damaged items
- Get professional quotes or appraisals of the damage
The insurance adjuster will also do an appraisal. If the adjuster’s appraisal is lower than what you expected, the damage documentation strengthens your bargaining power.
Report the Damage Promptly
Lastly, you should report the damage to your insurance company as soon as possible. A delay can worsen the existing damage, and it gives the insurance adjuster a reason to doubt your claim. For example, say your house suffers storm damage, and you don’t report it immediately. The adjuster might claim that another thing, other than the storm, caused the damage.
The best time to determine whether you have coverage for water damage is before disaster strikes. Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants, Inc, can advise you and help you purchase the necessary coverage. Contact us to discover the range of insurance solutions we offer.