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A water disaster can strike anytime anywhere. Generally, the occurrences are sudden and unexpected. It has been widely reported in the insurance industry that the most frequent type of loss is from water. Events such as frozen pipe leaks, broken pipes, leaks from appliances, sewage backup, water entering from an opening in roofs and other elevations of a building due to heavy or wind-driven rain are typical water losses that are covered under most risk property policies.
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Types of Water Damages
Leaking Pipe / Pipe Burst
Sprinkler System Discharge
Broken Drain Line / Sewer Line
LEAKING PIPE / PIPE BURST
Often referred to as plumbing system or supply line leaks, these types of leaks can cause massive property damage if left unchecked. They sometimes originate from a small damp spot on the floor or baseboard, a slightly higher than normal water bill, or a flooded property from a broken supply line leaking for hours or days while you are away. Most likely the damaged pipe is not covered itself, but the access to the affected area and the ensuing water damage will be covered unless your policy specifically excludes it. The most important thing in these losses is to stop the source as quickly as possible, extract the water as quickly as possible to limit the potential of any further damage, and quickly report the claim to the insurance company.
BROKEN DRAIN LINE / SEWER LINE
Drain lines, or sanitary plumbing pipes, carry waste from your drains and away from your home. In recent years, more and more policies are excluding sewer drain line issues from coverage without adding specific endorsements for additional coverage. If the damages are covered, usually the repair to the pipes are not—which can lead to thousands of dollars in costs. These types of issues come with their own unique set of remediation needs as a special category, or “dirty” water, will damage and contaminate your property and require specific steps to properly resolve the issues.
Often referred to as “slab leaks”, these leaks occur when a pipe breaks, or bursts, inside or under the foundation of the property. Slab Leaks are typically found with the use of copper pipes and many times are very small holes, however these are pressurized lines which means even a small hole can release a lot of water. These slab leaks can be difficult to locate as the water you see is sometimes not even close to where the actual leak is stemming from. This often requires the use of a Leak Detection Company to pinpoint the exact location. Accessing the damaged areas can be costly and oftentimes insurance companies push for cheaper or alternative subpar repairs to avoid paying for tearing out and replacing of concrete slabs and floors to repair the issue. Foundation leaks can compromise the structure of your home and lead to structural as well as cosmetic repairs.
In the past, mold damage claims were covered under most property insurance policies when it resulted from a covered peril. Concerns have increased due to public awareness and scientific knowledge about mold and its health related hazards. The clean-up, removal and remediation techniques are costly and hazardous to the person completing them. In response to the public concerns, insurance carriers are removing such coverage from their policy forms regardless if it results from a covered peril. In some instances, the insurance companies offer a limited coverage for mold/fungus for an additional premium. Mold contamination should be taken very seriously as it can cause severe illness to some people and considerable damage to property. Insurance company representatives often quote the policy exclusions for mold even when coverage may exist for your mold damage.
SPRINKLER SYSTEM DISCHARGE
We usually hear more about sprinkler systems in regards to having accidental discharges rather than when used properly. When used properly, the intent and outcome is to avoid further damage done by fire. Accidental discharge typically occurs due to overheating, freezing temperatures causing leaks/bursts, mechanical failures, corrosion, manufacturing or installation defects or vandalism. When not helping to contain the spread of a fire, the unforeseen damages mentioned can interrupt your work day, destroy electronics, inventory or any other items located inside your property. To avoid accidental discharges, have your system regularly inspected.
Flood damage is different from water damage. The NFIP (National Flood Insurance Program) defines a flood as a temporary condition when ground waters rise up over two acres or when two neighboring properties are inundated with water. Standard homeowners and renters insurance does not cover flood damage. Flood coverage, however, is available in the form of a separate policy both from NFIP (888-379-9531) and from a few private insurers. Flood losses are often extremely destructive in the amount of damage caused by the intrusion of groundwater into a property. Flood policies can be written with specific and distinct language and with many exceptions. They are handled with very strict guidelines according to the NFIP policy and regulatory bulletins. Navigating the flood claim process and arriving at a fair settlement can be extremely challenging—including very specific and strict timeline requirements and post-obligations you, the insured, must meet.