After the initial shock of sudden flooding in their home, most people’s first though is to call their insurance company. However, many people who live in flood-prone areas have had to learn the hard lesson that not all flooding is covered by their policy. If you want to make sure that storm damage restoration is covered by your company, here are some facts about water damage and insurance.
The Difference Between ‘Flooding’ and ‘Water Damage’
Water damage is what happens when your dishwasher breaks and water leaks all over your floor; the same is true with water heaters, washing machines and sudden pipe bursts. These types of water damage are usually covered by the typical home owner’s policy. Be aware that water damage due to neglectful maintenance will not usually be covered.
Flooding is usually caused by a natural disaster, and most of it is not covered under a basic policy; this is especially true if you live in an area that’s below sea level or in a hurricane zone. Most home owners or renters will need to buy a separate National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP) to cover any possible damage from storms or flood waters.
Timing is Also Important
If your damage is covered by your policy, your first call after the storm should be to your insurance company. Not only will this expedite the claims process, but they may have recommendations for water restoration companies that they work with regularly. This will help ensure timely processing and more professional service from a trusted contractor. Timely reporting will also help you avoid secondary issues like mold and insect infestation or structural damage.
The threat from water damage is usually categorized by insurers by the type and source of the water. There are three pollution levels. Be aware that even a mild threat can become a major health hazard if left untreated.
The least harmful pollution level is categorized by clean water from residential or commercial water lines, usually from the tap or appliances. It doesn’t include water from septic systems or wells. This pollution level poses little or no threat to health or property if addressed right away.
This water pollution category is from untreated residential or commercial supplies that may contain bacteria. It also includes water from a clean water source that has been standing for more than 24 hours. Like with most flooding or water damage, the longer you wait to address it, the more serious it becomes.
The most serious pollution level, Category 3 water damage is usually caused by raw sewage, flooding due to storms and backed-up toilets or septic systems. Water from these sources can be deadly and should be addressed by an expert right away. You should also find temporary shelter for your family and pets until the threat has passed. Water testing is available in many jurisdictions to ensure that the contamination is under control after cleanup.
Whatever the cause of water damage in your home, you need to get a company that specializes in water restoration out to your property right away. This is true even if the repairs aren’t covered by your home owner’s insurance. Left untreated, water damage can cause health and safety issues and more money in the end.