According to water damage statistics in the US, insurance claims for damages caused by water in homes average $11,098, costing up to $20 billion yearly in nationwide water damage costs in homes.
As a homeowner, such numbers should inspire you to ensure your home is well-insured against damages caused by water. But what type of water damage insurance coverage does your property need?
You will require a homeowner’s insurance policy to cover your home against damages caused by water.
Homeowner’s insurance services are all over the place, so it’s not easy to know what type of water damage the policy will cover. The items covered vary from one insurance company to another.
The types of water damage a standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers depends on the company.
Generally, the standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers water damages only if they are internal, sudden, and accidental, such as water damage from sprinkler systems that have been activated accidentally.
Internal here means a factor inside the home caused the damage rather than outside. For example, damage caused by a broken appliance spilling water inside the house is covered, but the damage caused by a flood doesn’t apply.
The sudden part means that the water damage must have happened out of nowhere. Gradual water damage is not covered under a standard homeowner’s policy. The accidental part means that the damage must have been unexpected and unpredictable.
Standard homeowner’s insurance policies cover various types of water damages, such as:
- Any damage from an internal, sudden, and accidental cause
- A burst pipe and frozen plumbing
- Interior roof leak caused by snow weight, fallen tree branches, or wind
- A broken or leaking appliance
- Accidental sprinkler head activations
- Broken appliances like a washing machine or water heater
- Water damage caused when extinguishing a fire
- Ice dams
- Toilet overflows
- Rot, mold, or fungus if the cause is covered in the policy
Most homeowner’s insurance companies offer water damage coverage that will cover the repair costs that arise from such damages, provided they are covered in the policy.
Depending on the insurance company, they may cover the following external (out of the home) cases of water damage:
- Rainstorms or heavy rainfall
A standard homeowner’s insurance policy excludes water damages caused by negligence or a failure to maintain the source of the damage. For example, if you don’t repair a leaking pipe and it causes gradual damage to your property, the homeowner’s policy will not help you.
Homeowner’s insurance services also don’t cover water damages caused by intentional actions, such as an individual setting their own house on fire or deliberately opening the home’s water system to flood the building.
Homeowner’s insurance will not cover the following cases:
- Water damages from water pipe backups or sewer pipe backups. To have these covered, you’ll need additional coverage in the form of a sewer backup or water backup endorsement to the policy.
- Ground seepage from under the foundation or the yard.
- Mold, fungus, or material rot, unless the policy covers the cause.
- Flood damage. You’ll need to buy a flood insurance policy separately.
- Cost of repairing or replacing the source of the water damage. You will require a home warranty add-on to the homeowner’s insurance policy. For example, the insurance company won’t cover the cost of replacing or repairing damaged fire sprinkler heads.
Standard homeowner’s insurance policies usually have two types of coverage—dwelling coverage and personal property coverage. A third coverage is also possible—the loss of use coverage.
The dwelling coverage pays for damages sustained by the structure of your building or home if the cause is a risk covered in the policy.
For example, if you insure your home against water damage caused by accidental sprinkler head activations, your home insurance service provider will help pay for the damages caused if you file a water damage insurance claim.
For example, insurance companies may help pay for damaged items like electronics, bookshelves, clothing, and furniture. Luxury goods like jewelry may also be covered with a water damage claim, but with a limit.
Also called additional living expense coverage (ALE), this type helps you with costs like hotel accommodation, travel, and food if water damage caused by a covered risk displaces you temporarily.
For example, suppose your water heater causes water damage, and your home becomes uninhabitable. In that case, the coverage helps you pay for your and your pets’ costs during your brief time away.
At Shutgun, our goal is to reduce water damage caused by accidental activations of fire sprinkler heads.
An activated head can pour as much water as 60 gallons per minute. This means that if the fire department takes 20 minutes to arrive and shut off your sprinklers, the sprinklers will already have released about 1,200 gallons per head, resulting in significant interior water damage.
The water damage caused by an activated head averages $2,000, which can multiply quickly if the building houses expensive equipment.
To prevent water damage from an activated sprinkler head, you can use a quick-stop fire sprinkler tool, the Shutgun. This simple tool stops water flow from the head without deactivating the entire fire sprinkler system.
Find out how we can help you prevent water damage from accidental sprinkler head activations.
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