Water leaks can cause severe damage to your property that is expensive to fix. This article covers how to file a successful water leak insurance claim.
Are you contemplating filing a water leak insurance claim in Port St Lucie, Florida? You are not alone. Each year, water damage or freezing-related property damage claims affect about one in every 60 insured houses.
Meanwhile, 6% of insured homes filed a homeowners insurance claim in 2020. Again, the second-most-common claim, after wind and hail damage, was for water damage and freezing from 2014-2018.
Damage from water leaks in your home may be due to numerous factors. They include leaky roofs, frozen pipes, pipe bursts, and broken pipes. Water leaks may also result from flood damage, broken appliances, etc. Sometimes, it may even be due to theft and weather-related causes.
Regardless of the cause, water leaks are responsible for most of the significant damage to property in many homes. It can damage bathroom tiles or cause damage to kitchen appliances. Even a single leaking pipe can eventually result in expensive repairs and a drawn-out claim process with your homeowner's insurance carrier. It can also result in serious issues like mold and rot.
So you might ask: does my homeowner's insurance cover water leaks? Will my insurance cover plumbing leaks and air conditioner leak water damage? Can I claim a roof leak on insurance? Most importantly, how can I ensure a successful claims process for water damage?
This article will answer all your questions concerning insurance water damage claims in Port St Lucie, Florida.
People often ask:
The fact remains that water damage to homes sets people back. Unfortunately, the standard policy for homeowners (which comprises personal property coverage and dwelling coverage) doesn't cover every water leak case.
Generally, your homeowners' insurance policy will only protect you from water leaks in these scenarios:
Usually, for your insurance policy to cover water damage, the damage must be sudden or unexpected. For instance, your insurance policy may pay for sudden water pipe damage. Another instance of accidental water discharge is a storm-related discharge of water.
Homeowners' insurance may cover water damage from accidental backups or overflow. However, you'll likely need an endorsement to enjoy this coverage as it is available under a basic homeowners insurance policy.
An endorsement policy refers to specific modifications to a standard homeowners' insurance policy. Sometimes, people use endorsements to clarify terminologies or amend administrative details like addresses or emails. However, they are typically used for additions, deletions, and other adjustments to your coverage.
Sometimes, you may be lucky to have an insurance policy that covers water-leak-related accidental damage. These are destructions that are due to the initial damage.
For example, many times, water damage from a broken pipe will likely damage nearby walls or your floor. Since the wall damage resulted from the water leak, you might be entitled to compensation for the cost of repairs, especially for mold remediation.
Nevertheless, not all homeowner's insurance policies cover subsequent damage. So, be sure to read the language of your policy to determine what is specifically covered.
Remember that if you have accidental damage cover, it doesn't automatically translate to coverage for the sources of the water leak. Therefore, the replacement pipe costs may not be included if a pipe bursts and causes wall damage.
Finally, aside from making a water leak insurance claim, you can hold the plumber liable or sue the landlord responsible, depending on the case facts.
These are examples of the damage home insurance claims wouldn't typically cover:
As we mentioned above, homeowners insurance policies will typically cover only accidental water leaks. As such, it means that they wouldn't protect your home from gradual water damage or gradual wear and tear. Gradual damage here also includes slow leaks, rot, mildew, corrosion, or destructions due to a long-standing problem.
The reason for this is you have a duty to schedule regular maintenance of your property, and gradual damage is usually the result of a lack of maintenance. Insurance will not absolve you of your failed responsibility towards your home when you refuse to perform proper maintenance. Note, however, that your coverage may include hidden gradual damage if you have a state comprehensive home policy.
Will homeowners insurance cover flood damage? The simple answer is no. This includes flooding from hurricanes, natural disasters, and flooding from rain. You'll have to take a separate flood insurance policy from FEMA or a private insurance company to cover those. With flood insurance, you can make basement flooding insurance claims and get the entire settlement for other flood-related damages.
The difference between water damage and flood damage is the source. Water damage is from internal factors like plumbing damage and burst pipes. On the other hand, flood damage is usually from external conditions like natural disasters.
We mentioned earlier that homeowners insurance policies might cover accidental discharge relating to sewer backups if you have a water damage endorsement policy. Without this, homeowners insurance policies will typically not cover sewer pipes repairs or replacements.
Generally, you can only file a roof leak insurance claim if it falls under accidental or sudden damage. So, if your roof leaks result from an object suddenly falling on your roof, you will be covered for roof repairs and water damage. However, any resulting damages, such as mold on wood floors, will likely not enjoy insurance water damage coverage under a standard policy.
Generally, homeowners insurance will not cover foundation seepage. So, if the foundation of your home has a crack through which water leaks in, standard home insurance will not cover it.
At this juncture, it's important to understand the difference between leakage and seepage. Leakage typically refers to water flow from cracks or damaged areas. On the other hand, seepage refers to liquid flow from a porous material.
How do you ensure that you have a successful water leak insurance claim in Florida? It all starts by understanding the essential steps to take when filing a claim for covered water damage.
Here are our water leak insurance claim tips:
Your first duty immediately after noticing leaking water pipes is to mitigate damages as much as possible. This involves stopping the leak from the source while controlling standing water. You may also have to cut off the water supply and carry out minor repairs.
Next, does your homeowner's insurance cover water leaks type? You'll have to verify that before taking any next steps.
The second step to take is to report the damage to your insurance agent as soon as possible. Also, contact an independent insurance agent.
Remember that there is a notable difference between insurance agents and insurance companies. While insurance companies may do everything to reduce your settlement, your insurance agents can help you get swift attention from your providers.
Gather all the evidence and documents needed to prove your homeowner's claim. This includes receipts for repairs, damaged personal possessions list, bank statements, photos and videos of the damage, etc. Also, have a complete list of loss history and claim-related conversations with everyone, especially the repair company.
Call your insurance company immediately. They'll send an adjuster and licensed plumber to guide you towards a thorough and equitable repair. However, to be safe, get a second opinion from a public adjuster or independent contractor.
Check that the estimate the insurance adjuster sends is based on replacement cost value, not actual cash value, if you have replacement cost specified in your policy. The actual cost is the money you paid for the damaged property without considering depreciation.
Meanwhile, replacement cost covers the price of getting a brand new item. Note that your mortgage company must endorse the settlement check before you can cash your money.
This is the stage where you bargain your settlement sums with the insurance company. Be sure to let your attorney handle this stage.
After filing your water insurance claim, you can expect the insurance provider to send a loss adjuster or loss assessor to your home. The loss adjuster has the primary duty of accessing the damage to arrive at a fair settlement.
The insurance adjuster will send their estimate to your insurance company to offer you a settlement. However, note that your insurance provider may sometimes deny your claims. Be prepared for that.
These are the common reasons for most claim denials:
Your attorney will review the denial's reason and advise you on the best ways to remedy it. This may include making a formal complaint to an insurance commissioner for guidance, appealing to the state's insurance department, getting a second opinion, or considering a separate policy.
Insurance companies try to ensure that you have a straightforward process when signing up for your insurance. Unfortunately, we can't say the same about a claims process. Water leak claims are usually complicated, and any mistake on your part can harm your chances of a successful claim.
The good news is that you don't have to worry about losing out on maximum compensation with an experienced attorney on your side. Here's what your water leak claim lawyer will do for you:
Will my renter's insurance cover water damage? Does homeowners insurance cover pipe replacement? Will additional coverage help my claim? Does homeowner's insurance cover bathtub leaks? Will insurance cover rain damage or flooding from a hurricane?
The event of water damage to your property can be an overwhelming one. You'll have numerous questions and concerns. Fortunately, your attorney will provide you with expert legal guidance and advice.
Your water leak claim lawyer can liaise with reputable and reliable public adjusters on your behalf. Unlike independent adjusters, public adjusters will work in your interest to ensure that you don't lose out on any sum you deserve. Public adjusters will provide you with an unbiased assessment of the harm your water leak has caused.
An essential part of your attorney's professional service is negotiating a settlement on your behalf. They'll start by assessing your claim's value and gathering crucial information to ensure that they strike a reasonable bargain with the claims adjusters.
Generally, claimants who involve water damage claims lawyers in the negotiation process usually have a greater chance of maximum compensation than others. Getting an attorney will ensure that you don't have to settle for lowball compensation.
Will my insurance cover ceiling leaks? How about a bathroom leak insurance claim? Is there anything like dishwasher leak homeowners insurance? Will your insurance cover water heater leaks?
When it comes to claims for water damage, there's never an end to the number of questions you may ask. Fortunately, our homeowner's insurance water damage attorneys are here to listen to your concerns. We'll ensure that your insurance providers pay you everything you deserve.
At VG Law Group, our attorneys also handle wind damage, damage from a hurricane, auto accidents, and other damage claims. We will fight aggressively on your behalf to guarantee justice. Schedule a free consultation with us now.