3 Types of Water Damage: Water Backup, Overflow, Discharge and Flood

Is Your Home Insured For Water Damage?

Water is one of the most common causes of damage in homes, and it represents a large number of insurance claims.  Water damage to your property can happen from any number of sources:

      • plumbing or appliances
      • severe weather or storms
      • accidents
      • infiltration

Causes of Water Damage in Insurance: What’s Covered?

If water damage is sudden and accidental, there’s a good chance you are covered by most standard home insurance policies.

Depending on your policy, you might have coverage for damage caused by water. Some coverage is included in a standard home policy like an HO-3; other sources of damage might not be covered unless you add an endorsement to your policy. It really depends on the type of home, condo insurance or renters insurance you have. Your standard homeowner policy will include:

      • Damages caused by the weight of ice, snow or sleet. This can cause roof collapse or water damage, among other problems.
      • Discharge and overflow of water, even if it is an accident.
      • Tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system.
      • Freezing of plumbing and pipes.

However, if you opted for the least expensive type of policy, or if you’re restricted to a policy like an HO-1 or HO-8, you might have very limited coverage. Unlike the other standard policies, these cover a very limited set of perils and will not normally include the items listed above.

Understanding the Differences in Insurance Water Damage Coverages

If you’re frustrated or confused by water damage coverages and insurance, you aren’t alone. Below are explanations and definitions of the most often confused water damage terms and what you need to know about your coverage if you have to make a claim. You don’t want to have your water damage claim denied.

3 Types of Water Damage in Home Insurance

Some types of water damage are pretty straightforward. It’s helpful to be familiar with three of them. When you call to make a claim and to find out if you’re covered, the insurance company may use terms like:

      • Sewer backup or water backup
      • Overflow and discharge
      • Flood

The source of water damage is not always obvious. The insurance company might throw some of these terms around when you call to ask if you’re covered in a water damage claim. Before deciding if it is covered or not they will have to determine how the damage happened.

The insurance company will send an adjuster to manage your claim and they will investigate the source of the damage to see if it is covered.

Water Damage May Be Limited on Your Insurance

In some cases, water damage coverage may be added onto your policy. You can check to see if you have special water damage coverages like sewer backup added as an endorsement by looking at your policy’s declaration page.

1:  Sewer or Water BackUp Coverage — Home Insurance Claims

water damage clearwater caused from plumbingSewer backup describes what happens when water comes up or is pushed into your home through the pipes from sewer or drainage systems. It is a very unpleasant type of water damage because it often involves dirty water from the sewers that will not only destroy your personal property but can also impact your health because it’s so unsanitary.

Most people don’t know a lot about sewer backup coverage if they’ve never had to make a claim. Sewer backup can cause thousands of dollars in damage. The Civil Engineering Research Foundation indicates that the rate of sewer backup incidents is increasing at a rate of 3 percent a year, so this is one coverage you don’t want to do without.

There are several potential sources of sewer backup:

  • Blockage of a city sanitary main: If the city main gets blocked, it may cause water to back up into your home through your pipes.
  • Aging sewer systems that require updates or repair.
  • Tree roots: When you have older pipes, sewer lines and water entry pipes, tree roots can find their way into the pipes and cause blockages. You can check for this problem on your own lines by having a plumber check your pipelines with a camera and do some basic preventative maintenance on your home.
  • City-related pipeline issues like combined pipelines or problems in the sanitary main: When the system you are using combines the sewage and storm water into one pipeline instead of having a separate pipeline for each, these are combined pipelines. The system can get overwhelmed in a storm and the water can back up into your home.
  • Overflow or back-up of the drainage systems in your home. If your gutter systems or rainwater pipes are blocked or overwhelmed by debris or sudden water flow it may cause a back-up into your home.

Sewer backup is not automatically included in most standard homeowner policies. You must add it to your policy by endorsement to make sure you’re adequately protected.

Sewer backup coverage can be added to a policy for as little as $40 to $50 a year, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Contact your insurance company to find out the specific cost, but considering the aging sewer systems in many areas and the increased incidence of severe weather and storms causing claims, it’s worth finding out.

2: Overflow Water Damage and Discharge Water Damage

water damage clearwater caused from plumbingOverflow and discharge water damage is the type of water damage most people think about when they imagine a water damage claim in their home.

Overflow involves water escaping or overflowing from appliances, pipes or water outlets in your home. Some examples include your bathtub or washing machine overflowing.

Discharge is what happens when water is released from plumbing or appliances and then floods your home. For example, if your water heater gives out or a pipe bursts, there is a sudden discharge of water.

The key to coverage in these cases is it must be sudden and accidental, not a maintenance or wear-and-tear issue.

Another type of damage that people often have a hard time understanding is seepage. Seepage is not sudden, therefore it is not usually covered. Overflow and discharge are often sudden and accidental and they usually cause large amounts of water to enter your home.

3: Flood Insurance Water Damage

Flood Damage Restoration ClearwaterYou would generally use the term “flood” to define that you have water in your home. You might say, “My basement got flooded.” It can be confusing when you’re told that insurance doesn’t cover flood damage, yet people get paid for “water damage floods.” There is a difference between water damage and flood damage.

What is a “Flood” in Insurance Terms? Definition

Insurance would view a flood claim as a body of water overflowing so the level of water outside your home rises to a point where it enters your home. The official definition of a flood states that it’s “a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres and two or more properties of normally dry land.”

A good way to understand whether you have a real flood claim or a water damage claim is to determine if more than one home is affected. If so, you may be looking at a flooding situation or a flood claim.

If only your home is affected, you probably don’t have a flood claim even though you feel that you are “flooded.” The source of water and cause of damage is likely one of the scenarios described above. If it is sudden and accidental and not due to maintenance, it could be a covered water damage claim.

A flood is generally not covered by home insurance policies. If you have concerns specific to your area, contact your local state commissioner’s office for details about what insurance is available in your area. It can vary from state to state.

Water Damage Restoration Clearwater Florida

When Can You Claim for Water Damage Coverages on Home Insurance

How to Avoid Being Out of Luck and Make Sure Your Claim Gets Paid

Water damage is one of the most common causes of home insurance claims. According to ISO, Water damage claims are the second largest frequent insurance claim, following wind and hail damage. The percentage of claims due to water damage is also increasing, while other causes of damage have stayed fairly consistent or even decreased.

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15 Tips for Hosting a Budget-Friendly Christmas Party

Let’s be honest: We all love a good party—especially a good Christmas party. During the holiday season, we often show just how much we love these parties by busting our budgets, all in the name of making our Christmas shindig the talk of the neighborhood or the office.

But if you’re getting out of debt (or filling up your emergency fund), hosting a Christmas party can be a real challenge to your budget. You want to be just as festive as the next guy, but you don’t want to completely derail your money goals—which might feel pretty darn near impossible to do. The good news is, you don’t have to overspend to entertain! Here are 15 budget-friendly ways to help you host a Christmas party on a budget.

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Black Mold Signs Pinellas County

Signs of mold can mean you need a mold inspection. If mold is hidden then you will only find out about it by noticing mold signs.

By noticing mold signs you can find mold early. This can save you a lot of money and a lot of trouble, since you can stop mold before it becomes a much bigger problem.

Black Mold Signs Pinellas County Florida

Mold in your home can cause symptoms such as

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Tips on Plumbing Checks Before Home Buying

The ink would have barely dried on your Deed before you find out there is a plumbing nightmare brewing in the home of your dreams.  Buying a new home is fraught with a dozen or more concerns, but they should be paint colors and swatches, not bubbling sewage and rotting main lines.  Do not assume your inspector will catch everything.  Plumbing is a great deceiver when someone is not an expert in the minutia.

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