Imagine this scenario: There was a particularly heavy and windy rainstorm yesterday, and the walls and roof of your home suffered some damage from the rain. However, maybe you got off lightly because your brother, who lives an hour away in a valley, had water accumulate outside his house, which made its way inside and caused indoor flooding.
While both of these incidents have some similarities (they both involve water), they need to be addressed differently.
Many homeowners are surprised to find out that water and flood damage count as two different issues. Moreover, they are covered by different types of insurance:
Homeowner’s Insurance: This type of insurance does not cover flooding. Your brother will be out of luck if all he has is homeowner’s insurance.
Flood Insurance: This kind of insurance does not include water damage.
Water Damage Is a Common Problem
Water damage may not be well-understood, but it is undoubtedly far from rare. In fact, statistics show that in 2019, for example, 29.4 percent of claims filed were because of water damage. However, the good news is that water damage is mostly preventable.
Generally speaking, water damage can be defined as water that causes destruction to the interior of your home. It can be the result of:
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), the following defines a flood:
Water damage usually happens before water comes into contact with the ground, while flood damage results from excessive pooling of water outside of a building.
Water damage is usually confined to just a single property, whereas flood damage usually affects two or more properties.
Not all water damage is equal in terms of the amount of destruction and the level of hazard. Basically, water damage can be divided into three different categories.
This category pertains to the least severe kind of damage and is called “clean” water damage. It‘s free of sewage and toxins and, therefore, poses no health threat to people.
- Examples: Water from broken pipes and supply lines; sinks and bathtubs that have overflowed; leaks from washing machines, dishwashers, and other home appliances.
Most of the time, items and areas affected by Category 1 water damage can be easily dried with no long-term issues with respect to the homeowner’s health or property.
Category 2 water damage involves dirty water and is more severe than Category 1. It is referred to as “gray” water damage.Contaminated water in Category 2 often contains significant levels of bacteria, mold, or chemicals.
- Examples: Sump pump backups; overflowing toilets; water from washing machines.
This category poses some degree of health risks to people, but these risks are not anywhere near as severe as the ones involved In Category 3.
If you have this kind of water damage, the restoration technician who comes to your home will wear some kind of PPE (personal protective equipment).
Category 3 represents the most severe kind of water damage and is, therefore, described as “black” contamination. It can be associated with significant consequences to human health.It is incredibly unsanitary and contains toxins and disease-causing organisms.
- Examples: A broken toilet bowl or sewer backflow containing feces.
It’s important to review your individual policy and apply its clauses to the specifics of your situation. Most likely, accidental events will be covered. However, any destruction caused by neglecting maintenance or repairs will usually not be eligible for coverage. This is why preventing water damage from occurring in the first place is important.
There are some simple steps you can take to prevent water damage in your home, including:
Never ignore even a mild case of water damage because it can develop into a more serious problem if not handled promptly and properly. So, don’t wait to get the issue addressed.