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Water Damage Insurance Claims

According to Policygenius 1 in 60 insured homes filed a water damage insurance claim from 2016 to 2020. From a contractor's perspective, there are two things we look at whenever a Pierce County home or business owner calls about a potential insurance claim. In our years of experience working through insurance claim repairs, we know that the first question that most insurance companies are going to ask is, “What was the source of the loss?

For example, if a homeowner in Midland returns to find that water is running out their front door, the first thing they will want to do is locate where the water is coming from so that they can turn off the water to stop any further intrusion. Sources may include a toilet overflow, a dishwasher leak, a burst pipe, or someone who left a sink running.

Sudden and accidental is the phrase commonly used while confirming whether a damage occurrence is covered by an insurance policy. This is a broad term. Goosehead Insurance provides this example to help clarify what sudden and accidental could mean for a water damage claim,

“Kelly owns a home in South Hill*. In February 2013, the temperature dropped to 10 below zero, causing the pipes to freeze and burst. Kelly woke up to 4 inches of standing water on the first floor of her home. Kelly's homeowner's insurance policy covered sudden and accidental water damage.”

In the scenario above, what was the source of the loss? The source was a frozen pipe. As the pipe thawed it burst. When this water damage occurred in Kelly’s home, or was noticed by the homeowner, it was sudden and accidental. According to the author, the cost of the damages were covered.

Once the water damage source is determined, the damages can be covered or excluded based on the language in the insuring agreement (aka the policy). The South Carolina Department of Insurance explains

The three major types of Exclusions are 1) excluded perils or causes of loss, 2) excluded losses, and 3) excluded property. Typical examples of excluded perils under a homeowners policy are flood, earthquake, and nuclear radiation.”

As we discussed in a prior post regarding insurance claims,

The source of loss can be covered or excluded (not covered) by the terms in your policy. It is important to understand what you are buying, especially if you chose your policy based on the lowest price. Elements of your insurance claim may be covered, not covered (excluded), or have limits on the extent of coverage. If the damages resulting from a covered (or non-excluded) source, the cost to mitigate and repair those damages should be covered by the claim.

Water Damage Insurance Claim Step 1

Just because the damages are covered it does not mean that all costs will be addressed by the insurance company. In many instances, the source may be the responsibility of the homeowner. For example, the homeowner may have to pay to fix the pipe or hose bib that burst. There also may be out-of-pocket costs associated with their agreed-upon deductible. In the example from Goosehead Insurance, they clarify:

“The cost to repair the flooring, walls, and contents damaged was $30,000. Kelly’s deductible was $2,000. Her insurance paid to repair the damage minus Kelly's homeowners deductible. So her policy paid $28,000 to repair the damages.”

The insurance company may or may not send a representative directly from their company to inspect the damaged structure. Tacoma home and business owners should consult a local contractor or specialist to help them determine the appropriate source of the water damage, and the full extent of the water damage intrusion, and develop a plan to restore their structure to resemble pre-loss conditions.

Our team at ARES Restoration takes pride in being a part of our local community and enjoys the opportunity to serve our clients in Pierce County. Water and fire damage leaves home and business owners with the feeling of losing control of their environment. At ARES, our motto is, “Giving You Back Your Home,” as we work to help you thoroughly document the extent of your losses so that we can accurately estimate the necessary repairs and communicate those items to your insurance company.

  • Insurance Claims Experts. ARES specializes in helping you navigate the nuanced process of insurance claims repairs.

  • FREE In-Home Consultations. Our ARES team looks forward to meeting with you to discuss the unique needs of your restoration project.

  • Exceptional Service. ARES prides itself on its ability to create positive customer experiences.

  • Licensed & Insured. Our ARES team stands behind the quality of our work as we work to Give You Back Your Home.

*Changed from Colorado in the original document

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