Water is one of the most destructive types of damage that homeowners can experience. It’s also one of the most complicated, particularly in South Florida. Aside from leaky or broken pipes and sewer backups, homes are subject to flooding, storm surges and wind that causes damage and allows rain to enter. Policies covering water damage can be highly complex.
There are numerous reasons why a homeowner’s claim for water damage may be denied. The insurance company may decide the damage could have been avoided due to the action or inaction of the policy holder. The damage due to a slow leak may not be covered and classified as “gradual damage.”
An extensive range of water damage that’s not covered can include sewer or drain backups, sudden or accidental water discharge, a flood, or storm-related water damage due to multiple causes. Ultimately, whether water damage is covered will depend on the source of the damage, if the damage was accidental or sudden in nature, the insurance company, and how the policy is written.
Gradual damage is something that occurs slowly over time, such as leaky faucets. A claim for the resulting damage would be denied since the homeowner didn’t take appropriate actions to repair the leak. However, some types of gradual damage may be covered, depending on the policy wording.
A variety of pipes, wiring and systems work behind the walls and under floors to keep homes operating and comfortable. Insurance companies expect homeowners to regularly check those systems and have any problem addressed promptly. Mold resulting from a water leak or damaged roof may be covered, depending on the policy.
It’s important that homeowners know and understand how their insurer treats different types of water damage. If a claim is filed and denied, contact the insurance company to discover why and what part of the policy excludes covering the damage. If individuals don’t receive a satisfactory answer, homeowners can hire a public adjuster to review the policy and potentially get the damage covered.