Homeowner’s insurance is frustrating. In some emergencies, you make a call for help and the insurance company delivers relief. For example, a burst pipe that ruins the kitchen cabinets is covered by your policy.
However, it is sometimes denied when you need it most. External water sources are almost never covered by average home insurance. And even an additional flood insurance policy doesn’t cover every basement leak. If insurance classifies your water intrusion as groundwater, you can expect them not to cover it.
Think about the motivation. Your home insurance company is trying to keep premiums as low and affordable as possible, and expect your home to start off in good shape. Homeownership comes with immense responsibility, and maintenance is the best form of protection against damage.
Current construction methods require the foundation to allow water to drain away from the home. Older homes may not have followed these methods or due to improper grading, the shifting of the soil or past severe water events, water may find a path to begin collecting underground next to the home. If the intrusion of water through foundations were covered by insurance, then a homeowner would have no incentive to correct the problem. Covering these events would give rise to repeated claims after every periodic severe weather season.
Over time, every foundation settles, cracks, and eventually deteriorates. This “wear & tear” may require a homeowner to excavate around the foundation to place drain tiles and patch the basement walls. Again, if this type of water loss was covered then a homeowner would have no financial incentive to repair or improve their home.
In a typical homeowners (HO-3) policy, under “Section I – Property Exclusions” “water damage” caused in specific conditions is not covered. This includes: water below the surface of the ground, including that which exerts pressure on, or seeps or leaks through a building, wall, bulkhead, sidewalk, driveway, foundation, swimming pool, hot tub or spa, including their filtration and circulation systems, or other structures.
In many cases, soil settles adjacent to the building and, if not corrected, leads to rainwater flowing towards the building and down the outside of the foundation wall. This is particularly true in older buildings where cracks may have developed in the foundation or floor slab which allow water to enter the basement. The cement floor and basement walls of these structures may have deteriorated to the point that they are no longer waterproof. Thus, water can show up in a basement which has never had a water problem. This frequently happens when the ground is saturated after repeated or heavy rain storms.
Flooding is the most common and costly natural disaster in the United States, causing billions in economic losses each year. According to the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP), 90 percent of all natural disasters in the United States involve flooding. Resulting basement leaks caused by storms are not covered by homeowners insurance. Consider a secondary policy to help if you get flooded by a storm.
In Northern Ohio, Restore Pro has a team of 20 highly skilled, full time cleaning and restoration experts on call for you when disasters happen. We repair property damaged from water, storms, floods and plumbing mishaps. Our care extends to your personal belongings, restoration, cleaning, repair and storage.
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