Water Leak Insurance – Protecting Your Home, Your Reputation, and Yourself
Water leak claims are among the most often claimed claims. Yet, most policyholders are completely unaware of this exposure when water penetrates through their roof from the inside. In all likelihood, a crucial difference between a fully covered and an un-insured water leak lies in the source of the water. If water comes from external sources, such as rivers or springs, it is normally covered by water leak insurance. On the other hand, if water comes from within a home (usually via a plumbing system), it may not be.
It is important for homeowners to realize that water damage claims involving internal sources, such as plumbing systems, are not covered by home insurance coverage. Rather, these claims must be handled by a separate contractor. Although a homeowner may file a claim for water loss on his/her own, a separate contractor may be necessary to determine the cause of the leak, submit necessary paperwork, and agree upon a settlement amount.
The first step involved in filing an insurance claim for water leak claims is to contact the insurer. In doing so, the homeowner should obtain estimates for both repairs and replacement. A qualified adjuster can assess damage and determine whether it will cost more to make repairs than replacement. Insurance adjusters receive specialized training and are expected to follow prescribed procedures when working with policyholders. These professionals should always refer to a policy manual whenever addressing a client’s insurance concerns.
After receiving an estimate, the homeowner should then prepare the required paperwork. In particular, he/she must prepare an estimate as well as a list of required minor repairs. Some insurance companies require the homeowner to also submit photos of prior damage; others simply ask for similar photos. While it’s always best to keep photos current, this isn’t always the case.
Once all paperwork is complete, the next step is to submit it to the insurer. When filing an insurance claim, it’s important to keep a record of any damage, including square footage lost, carpet damage, fixtures/equipment damaged, etc. Next, the claimor should submit a completed application and a copies of related receipts. These documents are required in order to process the claim properly and obtain coverage from the home insurance policy. Finally, submit a final statement acknowledging receipt of all documents and a copy of a signature-guaranteed water damage repair estimate.
Many home insurance policies cover water damage resulting from broken pipes, damaged sewer lines, leaking roofs, and damaged water heaters. ( Policies may also cover damage resulting from electrical fires.) Generally, damage resulting from natural causes is covered by flood insurance. If the policy specifically denies coverage due to natural causes, the homeowner should consider replacing the home structure and installing flood sensors, water absorbent blankets, or similar items. Flood insurance is the only type that specifically pays for the repair or replacement of major appliances. However, the insurance company may pay up to a maximum amount for replacing a portion of a damaged appliance, such as a refrigerator.
An independent insurance agent can be a valuable asset when working on a water damage claim. They can not only provide the facts, but they can also assist in filing a proper claim with the insurer. The benefit of working with an independent agent is that they typically have access to better rates and plans than most homeowners are aware of. A thorough claim will also likely be approved quicker, which can mean money saved in both the short term and long term.
As more attention is focused on water leaks and their prevention, insurance companies are becoming more creative in their attempts to pay out settlements. For example, some companies are now offering 100% financing for major repairs. In addition, some companies will finance the replacement of pipes causing water leaks. With so many options available, there is no reason to put off making a claim.