When you come home from vacation to an inch of standing water, the first thing you do is call your insurance agent. After all, your homeowners insurance is designed to protect you against a wide range of perils, and you assume that water damage is included, regardless of the cause.
Now imagine the insurance adjustor telling you the $20,000 in estimated damages will not be covered because they fall under an exclusion listed in your policy. It is this type of scenario that costs homeowners thousands of dollars, and today we will show you how to avoid it.
What Your Insurance Covers
Most homeowners insurance includes provisions for certain types of water damage, usually overflow and discharge. This refers to water that overflows or is accidentally or suddenly discharged from a pipe, hose, appliance, sink, tub, or even through your roof. So long as the event that caused the damage is not chalked up to poor home maintenance or neglect. In other words, storm damage that causes rainwater to seep through your roof is probably covered. Damages caused by a chronically leaky faucet that you haven’t gotten around to repairing probably is not.
Not Covered: Backups and Flood Damage
If you purchased your homeowners insurance here at the Don Neeley Agency, you can trust that we offered you a high-quality policy that covers your home against a wide range of perils. However, while a standard homeowners insurance policy covers a lot of things, it does not cover everything. Two of the biggest exposures excluded are sewer backups and flooding.
Sewer and water backups occur when waste water cannot properly drain from your home. This can occur as a result of a blockage in your pipe system or when a combined storm drain and sewer system gets over-filled after a heavy rain. Water backs up into your drains and sometimes into your home. This is cited as one of the top five causes of water damage in U.S. homes, and it is not covered by a typical homeowners insurance policy.
Flooding is another major problem that can cost tens of thousands of dollars in damages. In fact, the National Flood Insurance Program reports that the average flood insurance claim in 2015 was approximately $43,000, an amount that can be easily attained with just a few inches of water in an average home. Flooding is not covered under homeowners insurance, but must instead be purchased as a separate policy (renters can purchase contents-only flood insurance).
Here at the Don Neeley Agency, we know how expensive water damage can be to clean up and repair. We also know that many people go without adequate coverage, leaving themselves vulnerable to risks. That is why we strongly suggest adding additional protection beyond homeowners insurance – specifically coverage for backups and flooding. Adding sewer and water backup coverage is as simple as contacting us and requesting a sewer and water backup endorsement.
We can also provide you with a quote for flood insurance from the National Flood Insurance Program – coverage that the Insurance Information Institute recommends all homeowners consider. Even if you live in a low to moderate-risk area, flood insurance could still be a smart purchase to protect your home. After all, one in five flood insurance claims are made by people who live outside of high-risk areas.
Of course, timing is everything. You cannot wait until days before flooding is forecast to purchase coverage. Flood insurance carries a waiting period of 30 days before it becomes effective.
Do you have flood and water backup insurance?