When you discover water damage in your home, there are some imporant considerations before you call your Nebraska insurance agent. The source of the water damage, severity and type of water can all have an impact on your decision to file with your insurance company.
Do You Have Insurance Coverage?
The first question you should ask yourself when considering filing an insurance claim on your homeowner’s policy is whether or not you have coverage for your water damage. Now, it is not possible nor is it our objective to determine if your water damage is covered by insurance. There are simply too many insurance carriers and different policies within those companies. Only your insurance agent and claims adjuster can interpret your specific policy. However, it is possible to make some broad generalizations.
PLUMBING SYSTEM DISCHARGE
Often, if the water originates from within the structure, that’s beneficial in terms of insurance claims. Water originating from the plumbing system that is “sudden” and “accidental”, that’s typically covered by most home owners insurance policies. So, occurences such as sink overflows, failed water heaters, washing machine failures, toilet overflows and the like are most often covered by homeowners insurance.
Water that originates from the waste or sewage side of the plumbing system can be a bit more tricky. For instance, many insurance policies cover a floor drain “overflow” but not a sewage backup from the municipal main line sewer. Where the blockage and resulting backup originate can effect insurance coverage.
Frozen water lines are usually covered by the typical homeowner’s insurance policy as long as 1) the property is “occupied” and/or “furnished” and 2) heat was being maintained. A vacant, unoccupied home without an operating heating system may not covered. Always inform your insurance agent when vacating a residence for more than a few weeks. Along those lines, if you leave for vacation in December and turn off your furnace while you’re away, coverage would likely be denied because an attempt to maintain heat was not made. Your policy likely states that you must maintain heat and if your insurance carrier has any doubts, they can and often will investigate further by asking for utility records from the period in question.
Ground water usually is not covered by insurance. If your basement floods due to heavy rains and you don’t have an operating drain tile and sump pump system, your water damage probably is not covered. If you do have a sump pump, it is not a guarantee of insurance covereage. Many basic homeowners insurance policies require you to add a “rider” to your policy for sump pump “malfunction” to be covered. If you have coverage for sump pump malfunction, the pump has to actually “malfunction”. If the pump wasn’t plugged in or it simply could not keep up with the water, you may be out of luck. Lose electrical power or the pump simply “burns up”, you are likely covered.
If you live in Nebraska and have a basement with a sump pit in it, ALWAYS have an working pump installed and ALWAYS add coverage for “sump pump malfunction”. If you ever suffer structural water damage caused by ground water intrusion, you’ll be glad you did!
How Much Will the Water Damage Cost to Repair?
You should question your restorer: How much will it cost? If you your water damage is covered by insurance and the cost to repair the water damage is less than your deductible, you do not want to file a claim. Even a filed claim without any payout from your insurance carrier can negatively impact your insurance premiums.
If you would like us to assess your water damage before you call your insurance agent, call DryHero in Lincoln at 402-438-2379 or in Omaha at 402-592-4376. Ss our schedule allows, DryHero provides FREE water damage restoration evaluations and estimates to Lincoln Nebraska and Omaha residents.