Water is good when filling the swimming pool on hot weekends but when large amounts of water get into the house either through flooding or a damaged pipe, the result can be extensive damage and expensive repairs. Water damage insurance is meant to cover these types of problems but there are specific distinctions about what your insurer will agree to compensate.
Homeowners have two types of policies to choose from here; homeowners’ insurance or flood insurance. One of these policies is more collective and covers costs arising from inside water sources, and the other deals specifically with floods.
Water damage vs. flooding
When water starts leaking in the house, many of us are concerned with preventing moisture from damaging the interior but the most important thing is to establish where the leakage is coming from. Insurance packages for flooding and leaked pipes are actually separate and most homes are covered from the usual roof leaks, and burst pipes but not flooding.
What is considered a flood?
Any external water coming from your compound- such as might happen during heavy rains or a tsunami- is generally considered a flood and is not covered by most home insurance policies. For flood cover you need a separate policy.
What falls under ‘water damage’?
Water damage is defined by the source of the water. If the water leaks into the house before flowing outside, such as a roof leak, or more commonly, a bust pipe, then most water damage policies will cover the repair costs. Bear in mind there are unique differences between the policies offered for water damage so talk to an agent about which insurance package you need.
Is mold covered?
Mold is one of the most costly consequences of water damage and besides being potentially harmful to your health; it can reduce your home’s value. Whether the policy covers mold, again, comes down to the source of the water- so that if damage results from long-term neglect or a recent storm, it might not be covered.
But if mold is caused by leakage inside the house then obviously that falls under water damage and homeowners’ insurance covers that.
Review the policy
Under the ‘declarations page’ you can learn what the policy covers in detail and what you have to do to prove a claim. Remember mold can cause diseases in addition to property damage, so ignore insurance representatives who argue that mold has been around as long as people have been living in houses.
Contact an experienced broker or agent and:
· Take notes about your property, unusual features, collections, etc.
· Ensure that you have sufficient replacement coverage, and follow up in writing
· A professional appraisal should be done by a building contractor to determine cost of rebuilding- however many insurers offer this service for free.
· Look behind shelves and dresses or anywhere the air feels cold to find out if you have mold growing in your home
· Ventilate all the rooms in your house if possible
You will get different quotes from insurance brokers so take time to search for a reasonable package. Remember water damage is not complicated and is typically covered by homeowners’ insurance, so work through the usual homeowner policies.