Imagine coming home after a week on vacation and as you walk into your house, you step into a puddle of water coming from your bathroom. As you get the water shut off and assess the damage to your flooring, you call your Homeowners insurance company only to find out that none of the damage from the water is covered. Sound like a financial nightmare? Shouldn’t the insurance company fix the damage? After all, it’s not your fault. Wrong!
When it comes to Water Damage, most Homeowners policies don’t even put certain types of coverage on the initial quote they send you when signing up with them unless you specifically ask for it. Consumers normally shop based on price, so they look at the first page of the policy and compare those numbers, not even look at the endorsements page before making a decision. That decision could end up costing you THOUSANDS of dollars later on.
Here’s 5 types of Water Damage to consider when deciding which policy to choose when you shop your Homeowners Insurance:
- Sudden & Accidental Burst: Anything that’s considered a “rush” of water, meaning a pipe under your sink bursts, you leave the bathtub running, or your refrigerator starts leaking water onto your floor. The timespan for this type of leak is 14 days. This coverage typically won’t show as an endorsement because it’s covered under the base policy in most cases, but always ask to ensure it’s covered.
- Hidden or Slow Leakage: Water Damage that occurs over a period of time longer than 14 days. This could be a slow dripping pipe in your shower that causes damage to the wall or flooring. This is usually ALWAYS an endorsement that has to be added if the insurance company even offers it. Some older homes may be disqualified from this type of coverage because the the home’s age. Be sure to ask about limits as they can be different depending on the company.
- Back-up of Sewer & Drains: It’s exactly as it sounds. Sewage or Blackwater that comes back up through your drains before it meets the city lines. If you have a Septic System, you NEED this coverage. Typically this coverage is an added endorsement and has limits up to usually $25,000.
- Foundation Leaks: This is where it gets a little tricky. Typically this coverage is for high-pressure leaks only, meaning it would have to cause the foundation to fail due to a water leak caused by incoming water. Don’t confuse this with foundation coverage due to earth movement or the house settling, that won’t be covered by the policy. Limit is usually 15% of your Dwelling coverage.
- Flood: This may sound obvious like rushing waters when it rains, however there’s more. It could be something as simple as water running down from the street or your neighbor’s house due to poor drainage. Most think FEMA is the only way to get Flood insurance, however some policies are starting to add endorsements and even their own policies.
Be sure to contact an agent to go over these coverages with you. If you don’t have an agent and need a policy in Texas, please reach out to me:
Brad Harrell — Texas Insurance Guy
Owner at TWFG Harrell Insurance