March Winds bring April Showers! My Property has Sustained Water Damage; Now What? by Martha Teears


My Property has Sustained Water Damage, so the question is:
"Now what do I do?"
The First thing to do is answer these questions:
*Where did the water come from?
*What caused the water damage?
*Is the water damage covered?
*Do I have the right coverage?
*Do I have enough coverage?
These are the questions that hit us when water damage has occurred. It pays to be prepared!
*Did the water come from the outside into the property or did the water start inside the house and mover out of the stricture?
There are many avenues for water to sneak through, so let's examine some of them. The question of what constitutes  a water claim and what constitutes a flood claim creates a great deal of confusion among insureds. Water claims are submitted as flood claims and flood claims are submitted as water claims. Insureds may think "What's the difference and why should I be concerned?" There's a big difference between the two losses. Flood claims require their own policy, whereas water claims are covered under your hazard policy. 

"Wind caused a tree limb to break, which in turn broke my window or punctured a hole ij the roof. It was raining and water entered in through the window and soaked my flooring, ceiling and walls. Framing around the windows had been damaged by the tree limb and water"- This is technically Wind Damage, which is normally covered under your property policy but may have a separate deductible.

"I woke up to find that the storm last night had caused water to rise  and come in under my door. It had been raining hard for a week, so the ground was saturated and there was already standing water. The rain continued, there was nowhere for the water to drain and now the entire neighborhood was flooded. Do I have Flood Insurance?" - Flood Insurance is a separate policy. There is no coverage for flood damage under your hazard policy.

"Last Night our toilet over-flowed which was caused by a sewer back-up." - 
Water Back Up and Sump Discharge is a coverage that is normally excluded from your property policy but can be added with an endorsement for a fee. This coverage typically has a separate deductible and has a specified limit of coverage.

"A water pipe in the wall ruptured suddenly and the water ran throughout several rooms in my house causing damage," -
Sudden and accidental water damage is typically covered by the hazard policy.

Many forms of water damage are covered by your hazard policy. What is not covered by your hazard policy is Flood Damage. FEMA has done a good job of mapping most of the United States designating Flood Zones for all properties. It is very difficult to keep up with this, as construction has increased substantially over time, especially in some areas prone to flooding due to the limitation of affordable land to build upon. As more concrete is poured, the natural ability of water to be absorbed by the Earth is compromised. Remember that a large percentage of flood damage happens in areas that are not designated as Special Flood Hazard Areas. Do some research on the area where the property you are interested in purchasing is located, Residents in the neighborhood are a good resource to tell you if there are issues with with flooding in specific  neighborhood., Google is another valuable resource, as you may be able to locate stories of a neighborhood subject to flooding even though it is not listed as a flood zone by NFIP maps.
The saying in the Insurance industry is:
If the water comes through the front door windows, it is a flood.
If the water starts within the house and goes out, it is a water claim and would fall under your Hazard policy. Each claim stands on its own merits and normally needs to be investigate by the Insurance Companies adjuster, so do not hesitate to submit a claim in order to investigate  whether or not it is a covered peril.
Purchasing Flood Insurance in these areas  subject to flooding is a lot less expensive than you would imagine. Look into purchasing Flood Insurance even if it is not required  by your mortgage company. ;You may be glad you did!.
And as always , this information provided to you above is for informational purposes only: please read your insurance policy carefully and consult an insurance expert before buying or changing your insurance coverage.
Arcana offers members of & multiple insurance products for Investors and thier Tenants. Features include no underwriting or Inspections, 24/7 desktop & Smartphone certificate delivery system, outstanding claims management service and a very knowledgeable & courteous staff to handle your insurance needs. For more information www.ArcanaInsurance Len Theran:
Hey Mike it was good to see you and your Members 7/27 AND meet some new folks! But I did find that many are unprepared to do the right thing when they have a claim.

Because the average property owner isn’t fully versed in ‘insurance speak’ they often say the wrong thing when reporting a claim or talking to an insurance company adjuster. The following examples are worth noting:

  • Do: It is a broken pipe (covered).
    • Don’t: Describe the basement as ‘flooded.’ It is not a flood (not covered by your homeowners policy). A true flood requires a flood policy.
  • Do: Mold is an indication that water was there. By making that distinction, there is coverage to the policy limit.
    • Don’t: Say lots of mold. Mold is generally limited to $10,000.
  • Do: It could be a plumbing problem. Again, by making that distinction, there is coverage to the Policy limit.
    • Don’t say it is a sewage backup (limited coverage).

 Another common mistake:

Don’t throw out your contents until the insurance company adjuster agrees to pay a fair price for them. Even if something is wet and clammy, put it aside and save it. Photos are good, but not conclusive.

I hope that this helps. For further information, check out our website:

Thanks, Len Theran

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