Water Damage

Are you protected from water damage?

October 1, 2012

Water damage is one of the most common reasons community associations make claims on their insurance. Sewer back-ups, broken pipes and leaky appliances are frequent causes of these claim events, but depending on how the loss occurred determines if it will be covered under your property policy. Below outlines how an insurance company will interpret coverage responsibility for some common scenarios.

Broken Water Pipes
While you are away on vacation, the temperature drops below zero, causing pipes to break and water to flood your home. As long as you have made every effort to ensure the heat in your home is maintained at a level that would keep pipes from freezing, the damage to your home will be covered.

Sewer or Sump Pump Failure 
After a heavy rain, your sewer or sump pump backs up causing water damage to your basement. Typical association insurance policies specifically exclude damages from sewers, drains or sump pumps. However, there are endorsements that can be purchased to allow coverage for such claims.

Appliance Failure 
Your toilet overflows, causing damage to your bathroom floor. Further, the water seeps through the floor and causes damage to your basement walls and floor. Accidental discharge or overflow of an appliance is covered under standard association insurance policies.

The broken pipe or corroded hose would not be covered by insurance, but the resulting water damage is covered. The association’s property deductible would be applied against the total damage.

Surface Water and Flooding
Heavy rain dumps three inches of rain in half an hour and it rushes into your building. A nearby river overflows, and again, water enters your building. These examples are usually not covered under your property policy. In order for these types of events to be covered, you would need to purchase floor insurance separately.

These are just a few examples of water damage claims you may encounter over time. Claims professionals will tell you that every insurance claim is settled based on the facts associated with that individual loss. So, in the event of a claim, you should take care to properly explain and document all of the details to the claims professional assigned to work with you.