What Water Damage Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover?
Posted in Insurance on May 20, 2020
Homeowners insurance should provide peace of mind. If anything happens that damages your property, your insurance carrier will provide compensation to repair your losses and help you move forward. It is a distressing realization for many homeowners, therefore, when they discover their insurance companies have denied their water damage claims based on policy exclusions or other reasons. If your homeowners insurance company has denied your water damage claim in Tampa, do not give up. You may still be able to recover benefits.
Covered vs. Not Covered Water Damage
Florida is a common state for homeowners insurance claims involving water damage. High humidity, beachfront properties, rainstorms, flooding, storm surges and severe hurricane seasons lead to excessive water damage across the state. In addition to storms and floods, issues such as plumbing problems and pipe leaks could also cause water damage. Water damage can involve wood rot, mold, water stains and other types of property damages.
In most cases, a homeowners insurance company will accept water damage claims arising from random, sudden and accidental circumstances. This may include a hurricane or another storm. It may not accept claims arising from foreseeable issues, such as plumbing problems, if the claims adjuster believes the homeowner reasonably could have prevented the water damage. The typical homeowners insurance policy may also not cover flood damage. In most cases, flood insurance is a separate type of coverage you must purchase.
While homeowners insurance can cover basic water damage, it may not cover anything out of the ordinary. It may cover frozen pipes, for example, but not a flash flood. A common reason for a homeowners insurance claim denial regarding water damage is a lack of flood protection insurance on the policy. Another reason is if the homeowner allegedly could have prevented the water damage. If an investigation finds a homeowner was negligent in maintaining his or her pipes and plumbing, for example, the insurance company may deny the claim.
How to Handle a Water Damage Claim
When dealing with water damage, do your best to limit the destruction of your property. The insurance company will check to see if you took reasonable steps to prevent any further damage. First, take photographs of the property damage before touching anything. Then, do your best to rid the property of any standing water or hire a professional to do so – especially if it is dangerous gray or blackwater. Do not throw anything away. Use fans and towels to dry your property. If an insurance company believes you could have done more to prevent issues such as mold, it may deny your claim or offer less compensation.
Contact your homeowners insurance company as soon as possible to report the incident. While on the phone with your insurance agent, do not admit any fault for causing the water damage. Submit any proof of the water damage you collected. Review the details of your insurance policy to prepare for conversations with the claims adjuster. Understand what types of water damage your policy covers and your coverage limits. Follow the agent’s instructions for scheduling an in-person property inspection and/or repairs.
What to Do After a Homeowners Insurance Claim Denial
If an insurance investigation leads to the denial of your water damage claim, ask the reason for the rejection. You may be able to submit more evidence and request a reevaluation. If the denial stems from lack of coverage or a policy exclusion, contact a Tampa property insurance claims lawyer for a review of your policy. A lawyer may be able to force a homeowners insurance provider to treat your claim more fairly. A lawyer may also be able to negotiate a better settlement on your behalf if your insurance company undervalues your property damages. A water damage claims lawyer can answer your questions, protect your rights and take steps to help you secure a fair settlement for water damage in Tampa.