nav-left cat-right
cat-right

Why Are Some Water Damage Claims Not Covered?

Water damage comes from several sources and is classified inn different ways. It can also fall under different areas of coverage. For example, natural flooding is considered to be very different from standard water damage and is covered under separate policies. So why are certain water damage claims not covered or denied? We explore this today.

Gradual versus Sudden Damage

Homeowners insurance is meant to cover sudden unexpected damage to a home. The trouble with water damage is that it can hide for quite a long time before it becomes apparent. This leads to conflicts about whether or not the original cause of the damage was gradual or sudden.

For instance, discovering a crack in a foundation might be a cause for a claim. But if the crack wasn’t found and water seeps into the basement and causes damage that might not be covered because it was gradual. Another example is a slow faucet leak under a sink. If the cabinet floor underneath the sink gets damaged, that’s gradual.

Sudden damages can refer to a pip breaking in a freeze which leads to a huge flood. It could also a tree poking a hole into the roof of a home after falling and letting some storm water in. But these can also lead to secondary damage that doesn’t show up till much later, which can create conflicts with policyholders.

If the smashed roof was repaired, but soaked insulation wasn’t remedied, mold could develop and lead to another claim. A common example is a sudden failure of an appliance. A washer in a dishwasher might gradually fail, but once it does the damage can be sudden.

The policy will be the guide

The policy will be the guide about whether or not this secondary damage can be covered or not. For instance, some states require insurance companies to cover secondary mold damage due to a legitimate water damage claim. It’s up to adjusters to know the exceptions and to understand exactly what the policy covers.

Water damage versus Flooding

Most homeowners policies will cover sudden water damage except in one major case, flooding. Flooding is not covered by most homeowner’s policies. It requires separate flood insurance. In this case, how is flooding defined?

In the most general sense, once water from a natural source (e.g., a river or the sky) touches the ground, it is then considered flood water. Your insurance company may put in other restrictions, but this is the core difference. This is why storm water falling in from a hole in the roof is covered by some policies, but a swollen river washing away a porch is not. However, most homeowners are not conversant with this difference. It is common to say that a room is flooded when there is water all over the floor, and this can set off alarm bells for insurance adjusters.

The adjusters will have to get a clear idea of where the water came from and why before adjusting a claim. Too many simply hear the word flood and automatically deny it. As a homeowner, you need to make sure that you clarify the distinction in order to avoid being denied outright.

Judgement 

Deciding which category a claim falls into is tricky, but acquiring evidence is the same as any other claim. Ask for home maintenance records, photos, and descriptions of what the homeowner did before and after the incident.

Interview any professionals including water damage professionals who worked on the situation prior to your examination. Ask if any cleanup work was done and what preventative measures the policyholder took to prevent further damage. From there, it’s just a matter of using your expertise and the wording of the policy to know whether or not the claim is covered.

What To Do After A Flood

Flooding is often unpredictable. Flood waters strike fast and often recede quite quickly as well. Flood water is one of the primary causes of water damage to a home. However, before you start dealing with that, it’s important to arm yourself with necessary knowledge about what to do after a flood.

When flood waters recede, the damage left behind can be devastating and present many dangers. Images of flood destruction depict destroyed homes and buildings, damaged possessions, and decimated roadways. However, what you can’t see can be just as dangerous. Floodwaters often become contaminated with sewage or chemicals. Gas leaks and live power lines can be deadly, but are not obvious at first glance.

So today, we discuss tips from the National Weather Service concerning what should be done after flooding has receded.

Be Hungry For Information

  • Stay tuned to your local news for updated information on road conditions. Ensure water is safe to drink, cook or clean with after a flood. Oftentimes, a “boil water” order is put in place following a flood. So it is important to be aware if any such order is given out for your continued health.
  • Check with utility companies to find out when electricity or gas services may be restored.
  • Carbon monoxide poisoning is one of the leading causes of death after storms when areas are dealing with power outages. Never use a portable generator inside your home or garage. Review generator safety to avoid any incidents.

Avoid Flood Waters As Much As Possible

  • Standing water hides many dangers including toxins and chemicals. There may be debris under the water and the road surface may have been compromised.
  • If it is likely your home will flood, don’t wait to be ordered to leave; evacuate yourself! Make alternative plans for a place to stay. If you have pets, take them with you or make arrangements to board them at a facility well away from the flooding danger.

Keep Away From Disaster Areas

  • Do not visit disaster areas. Yes, even if your home is in one. Your presence may hamper rescue and other emergency operations.
  • Pay attention to road closure or other cautionary signs put in place for your safety. If you’re worried about your home, your safety comes first–it can wait.

Get A Hold Of Family Members

  • Let your family and close friends know that you’re okay so they can help spread the word. Register with or search the American Red Cross’s Safe and Well listings.

Wait For An “All Clear” Signal From Authorities

  • Do not enter a flood damaged home or building until you’re given the all clear by authorities.
  • If you choose to enter a flood damaged building, be extremely careful. Water can compromise the structural integrity and its foundation.
  • Make sure the electrical system has been turned off, otherwise contact the power company or a qualified electrician.
  • Contact your insurance agent as soon as possible to discuss the damage done to your property.
  • If you have a home generator, be sure to follow proper safety procedures for use.

 

The flooding severely hit Louisiana state

It seems that this state is historically condemned to face the issues with water. The people living in the southern half of this subtropical state are prone to any kind of water disaster be it from the rivers, skies or encroaching ocean. Still, it was not prepared for such a deluge.
As an aftermath of a catastrophic flooding inundating nearly one-third of the Louisiana parishes more than sixty thousand houses and businesses have been damaged. A flood stroke the state on August 13. The magnitude of the flooding was so high that the recent hazard was called as “historic and unprecedented flood ever.” There were 32 continuous hours of rainfall in Baton Rouge. No such terrific natural disaster has occurred since Hurricane Sandy in 2012. A total of 13 deaths were documented along with manages estimated abut $30 million. Furthermore, these figures are still rising with the increasing possibility that the flooding will exacerbate the state budget.
The flood was caused as a result of an abundant torrential rainfall. Two rivers the Amite and Comite along with many other smaller rivers and waterways reached record levels. Aimte river crested a record as it reached 46.2 feet, which is about five times higher than the record back I 1983. The rivers rose so quickly that people virtually had no time to take any caution or prepare. The previous heaviest rainfall that is comparable to recent instance happed in 1995. According to the data reported by CNN, over the weekend when the disaster occurred more than 20 000 people were rescued by the US Coast Guard and other first responders. People were helping to each other saving each other’s life. The videos were captured where a man pulled a woman and a dog after they were plunged underwater. The Coast Guard officials claim to have saved more than 118 people and have assisted to more than 766 people in Barton Rouge. Reportedly, Governor Edwards have further deployed Louisiana National Guard to mobilize about 1700 soldiers to assist in search and rescue efforts. All the possible and available measures are implemented to mitigate the residents’ severe situation. So far, about 158,000 meals have been served in Louisiana (the first week). Overall about 100.000 insured vehicles were badly damaged.
Because of the dreadful disaster, the schools in East Barton Rouge were forced to close. The excessive amount of water made travels impossible as well as led to the closure of US 51 and even Interstate 55 roads. This, in its turn, caused an overnight strand of hundreds of motorists and tractor trailers. The US government has officially declared four parishes as federal disaster areas: East Baton Rouge, Tangipahoa, Livingston and St. Helena.
The forecasters expect more thunderstorms and scattered showers to come. National Weather Service specialists indicate that the flood resulted from a thousand-year rain. Because of the intensity of the flood, the government is also concerned with the Zika threat, as with the so much water to remain, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention should take measures against mosquitoes. Moreover, the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration foresees about 12 to 17 storms to happen this year. There is even a caution that one or two those storms may become “major” hurricane.
Considering so many details on the recent terrific disaster and its magnitude, it seems outrageous why National Weather Service could not predict and warn the population about the upcoming danger. Hence, a strong aggrievement among the residents was produced as a result of the unexpected disaster in combination with the lack of attention towards residents’ plight. Quite logically, many residents blamed the president for neglecting the state, as even no official statement of support was made on the news on the part of the president.
It turns out such situation is not a novelty for the Louisianans as well: they were dealing with the issues of federal response to natural disasters during the presidency of George Bush. His ineptitude during the days following the Hurricane Katrina are quite parallel to the current inactiveness of president Obama.
Yet, that great deal of criticism directed at the authorities is at the same time unfair to some extent. Primarily, as the government has provided all the requested help and evacuated the victims. Nevertheless, many people and even politicians tend to dramatize the issue and search for political grounds for interpreting the president’s absence.
Currently, the water is receding starting from the northern reaches of the state. In the southern areas it will take much longer to dry out as mentioned by the meteorologist from the National Weather Service, Gavin Phillips. He assures residents by stating that at this point the situation is not going to worsen. Yet, various newspaper sources till share terrifying and shocking photos from the tragic scene in Louisiana: the photos show cars submerged in the water, residents evacuating in boats and floating caskets.
The positive part among so many disasters to happen to the state is the reaction of people. The immediate influx of donations and support is valuable and incredible. Running shelters, delivering aid, volunteering and all the rescue efforts serve as a valuable contribution and may urge the authorities to change the whole rescue system. Probably it works for smaller disasters and hazards, still, when the state is not prepared and cannot handle the outcomes, one can never underestimate the significance of simple human assistance.

Our post today sponsored by the water damage restoration team at NewtonFireandFlood.com.  Be safe out there!

Flooding & Water Damage

Flooding is a primary cause of water damage, costing millions of dollars per year.  Take a look at what can happen when a dam breaks loose or a location experiences torrential rainfall: