Spring showers bring May flowers; and insurance claims.
When the weather gets warmer and spring approaches, homeowners need to review their home insurance policy to see what they are covered for in the event of water damage in the home. Spring can bring multiple water problems into the home including melting snow, sewage back-ups and basement floods.
Generally, homeowners’ policies will not cover water damage from a. flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, overflow of a body of water, or spray from any of these, whether or not driven by wind; b. Water which backs up through sewers or drains or which overflows or is discharged from a sump, sump pump or related equipment; or c. Water below the surface of the ground, including water which exerts pressure or seeps or leaks through a building, sidewalks, driveway, foundation, swimming pool or other structure; caused by or resulting from human or animal forces or any act of nature.
It’s important to note that flood insurance and homeowners insurance do not duplicate coverage for water damage. Instead, they complement each other. Usually, if your home is subject to a sewage back-up or flood prone area, you should purchase a separate flood policy. Flood damage to your home can be covered only with a flood insurance policy — no other insurance will cover flood damage. A specific flood insurance policy is available through your insurance agent, insurance company or local Federal Emergency Management Office (FEMA). The average flood claim comes to more than $33,000, according to the National Flood Insurance Program. Most homeowners are not prepared to pay this out of pocket on a moment’s notice, and therefore a basement flood can cause extreme economic devastation.
Water damage is one of the most common reasons people make claims on their home insurance. The types of water damage that are covered by homeowner’s policies causes a lot of confusion.
Regardless of how the water damage occurred and what is covered under your policy, it is crucial to clean up all water damage properly and immediately. Gradual water damage can be a health hazard if the moisture leads to a development of mold. Mold is generally not covered by insurance and must be taken care of by professionals. Attempting to clean up the mold on your own may spread the mold spores, causing greater property damage or health problems.
It is up to you to talk to your insurance agent or insurance company about flood insurance and homeowners insurance, and then decide which insurance coverage you need to protect your home, its contents and your family.