Flood Damage vs Water Damage

Flood Damage vs Water Damage

Categorised in: , , ,

Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , ,

Flood Damage vs Water Damage: Know the Difference When it Comes to Insurance

You may be surprised to learn that your definition of a flood and your insurance company’s definition may be different – and that difference may determine what type of insurance coverage you need for your home or practice. It could also make the difference between your home or practice sinking or staying afloat if damaged by water.

Imagine this scenario: Pounding spring rains soak through your home’s roof and damage your walls and floor. What’s even worse, you return to your practice after the weekend to find that water accumulated outside the building creating a flood inside. You have flood insurance, so you think the damage to both your home and practice will be covered. But, after a claims adjuster looks at your house and practice, he determines that your flood insurance will cover the damage to your practice, but not your home because that water damage occurred before any flooding.

Confused? You’re not alone. Many homeowners and business owners don’t realize that flood insurance and water damage insurance are two different things. Your claim won’t be covered if your particular type of insurance doesn’t cover your property damage. It’s also important to remember that if you own a home but do not have flood insurance, you will not be compensated by your insurance company for flood damage.

Under the vast majority of homeowner’s insurance policies, flood damage is not considered a form of water damage. Since standard homeowner’s insurance doesn’t cover flooding associated with hurricanes, storms and heavy rains, it’s important to have protection from the floods that often accompany these types of disasters and to understand how your insurance company defines a “flood.” Here’s basic information about flood insurance and water damage insurance:

Floods

The National Flood Insurance Program defines a flood as: A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (at least one of which is the policyholder’s property) from: 

  • Overflow of inland or tidal waters;
  • Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source;
  • Mudflow; or
  • Collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood as defined above.

Water Damage

Unlike a flood, water damage is typically covered under homeowners insurance. However, be sure to read your policy thoroughly and carefully to determine exactly what kind of water damage the insurer will cover. In general, water damage differs from flood damage in that it occurs before water comes in contact with the ground. For example:

  • Severe rainstorms soak through your roof, damaging walls and floors;
  • An upstairs pipe bursts and water saturates the ceiling below;
  • A toilet overflows soaking your bathroom floorboards; or
  • A hailstorm breaks your windows and allows water into your home.

Simply put, the main difference between a flood claim and a water damage claim is that flood water comes from a natural source and two or more properties are involved (if you reside in a generally residential versus rural area). If you and your neighbors are all having water issues due to heavy rains and/or rising waters, then you are likely dealing with a flood insurance claim. On the other hand, if you are dealing with water in your house but your neighbor(s) is/are not affected or have the same issue(s) (again, in a residential area), you are most likely dealing with a water damage claim.

Generally, insurance companies cover water damages where the home or business owner could not prevent the hazard. However, you may have trouble convincing an insurance company to cover damage caused by a maintenance problem that they believe should have been repaired—such as a leaky roof that lets in rain, a faulty toilet that overflows frequently, or continuous leaking near a faucet. 

The most important thing you can do is to carefully review your insurance policies so that you know precisely what will and will not be covered, preferably before your home or office is damaged by a flood and other types of water damage. For example, sump pump failures are a common form of household water damage but are often excluded from water damage insurance coverage. 

One last word of caution: Don’t wait to purchase flood insurance until the weather forecaster predicts historic rainfall or possible flooding—most flood insurance policies require a 30-day wait period before the policy takes effect. When you’re standing knee-deep in water inside your home or practice, it’s too late.

 

March. 07, 2017
By James West of NCMIC Insurance Services

See What Our Clients Say

Mark S.

"We were very happy with the work performed by MacFawn. The project manager was a huge help in the beginning, giving us information and assessing the issue. Then, the technician who performed the actual work was really friendly, courteous, and knowledgeable. I could tell he actually cared about making sure this was all done the right way."

Weston Alexandar

"I called MacFawn last week when my basement flooded and they responded promptly; materials in hand and ready to work. They gave me a more than fair estimate of what the work would cost before they started and were in and out. They completely dried out my basement in a matter of a day or so and gave me sound advice on preventing mold growth and what to look for in the future to bypass anymore damage. I would highly recommend these folks. "

Allison Murphy

"These guys are by far the BEST in the area. I called them when I discovered my basement was full of water and they were at my house in Slingerlands in 35 minutes FLAT. Professional, courteous, knew what to do and did it quickly. After my basement was dried there were no visible signs of mold growth. They did an excellent job. I don't think I've ever had a service call show up that quickly. I would highly recommend."

Mary Becker

"My house had a great deal of damage from a storm in the capital region last year and I had NO CLUE who to call. MacFawn Fire and Flood also works with emergency storm damage apparently. A friend recommended them and once they were on the scene, everything fell into place. The owner has liaised communication with my insurance company on more than one occasion and gave me the tools I needed to stay afloat while we are out of the house during the restoration process. They were done in about 2 weeks for a job that I was initially told would take up to three months. Staff on the field are wonderful and the administrative support was second to none. I don't know what we would have done if we hadn't called these guys. There was a lot of damage that led my family into a state of panic and chaos. They helped get us out of a roach motel our insurance company placed us in and into an apartment that our insurance company paid for in full. Our lives went from being in panic to being on a stay cation while they worked on our home. I can't thank them enough for all of their support and assistance. Great crew!"

Mel Paroff

"This firm was fantastic. Their response and the quality of their work was phenomenal. I highly recommend them for any emergency service work. "

Eric Bamberg

"Literally life saving. After our home was infiltrated with toxic silica dust from a nearby construction project, MacFawn saved us. We discovered the mess after 7pm on a Friday. That night they reached out to cleaners, we had an on site quote Saturday and by sundown Sunday, our home was both clean and safe. Within a week the entire inside and outside were spotless after a window cleaning specialist came a few days after the interior clean up. The crews inside our home were kind, professional and did an excellent job!"