Spring has sprung – April Showers Bring May Flowers. While rain is a welcome change from the snow of winter it is important to remember to check your home, and protect yourself from water damage. There are a number of things you can do to protect your property from water damage and there are important things to know about water damage to make sure you have the right home insurance coverage.
What Is Covered Under Home Insurance?
Most home insurance policies will cover water damage if it is the result of “sudden and accidental discharge of water” such as an extreme heavy downpour that floods your basement or a burst pipe, even sewer back up if you have that type of endorsement on your policy. Here is a list of some of the things that are usually covered in home insurance policies:
- Water damage caused by indoor plumbing, heating, and air conditioning units are covered
- Malfunctioning appliances such as washing machines and dishwashers are covered
- Damage resulting from Water escaping from a public water main is covered
- Damage to the interior or exterior as a result of wind or hail is covered
What Is Not Covered Under Home Insurance?
Many insurance companies do not cover overland flooding, which occurs when an extreme event like river overflowing causes water damage to your home. Here are a few examples of some other things that are not covered in your home insurance.
- Any harm caused by damaged indoor plumbing – If you are away from your house for four consecutive days and the temperature requires heating of your home, your plumbing must be drained or your house must be checked daily by a competent person. If freezing related damage occurs and these precautions were not taken, the damage will not be covered
- Damage resulting from melting or moving snow or ice
- Damage caused by leaks in your home or to your roof – the damage to the roof is not covered, as it is usually a maintenance issue.
Protecting Your Home
Understanding your policy along with some of these steps can help to protect your home from damage.
On the Outside of the Home
- Make sure your property slants away from your home- even slightly. This will allow water to run away from the home.
- Repair concrete or stone that allows water to pool close to the home
- Purchase window well covers to prevent water accumulation near basement windows
- Use a rain barrel to catch water run off or have drainpipes that extend 6 feet from the home
- Repair your roof and ensure shingles are in place
- Keep gutters clear of debris
- Landscaping your yard with plants that prevent erosion
On the Inside of the Home
- Keep floor drains clean of obstructions
- Seal any cracks around windows, floors and basement foundation
- Protect your furnace being having a professional elevate it from the floor
- Install shelving in the basement to keep important items off the floor
Preparing for the Worst
In the event that your home is damaged by a flood it is helpful to have some things prepared in advance. Keeping an updated and detailed home inventory can ensure that you will know exactly what the cost of the damage is. Additionally, assembling a disaster safety kit or “go bag” with the essentials you may need to spend a few days away from home can help ease the pain of a claim. Your go bag should include all of the necessary toiletries, clothing and medication needed to spend 72 hours away from home.
Tips for Starting a Claim
If your home has been flooded you will want to take fast action to ensure you start the claims process.
- Call your insurance broker! If it is outside of business hours you can call our emergency after hours claims number.
- Keep a detailed list of all damaged items
- Keep all damaged items unless it is hazardous to your health
- Keep all receipts related to living expenses or cleanup costs
One of the benefits of having an insurance broker is having someone up at bat for you in the event of a claim. Your broker can work with you to make sure you have the right coverage and making sure that the insurance company comes through for you when you need it most.
Also, when you receive your renewal, it should include an outline of the changes to upgrades to your home’s protection. Please read your policy and the attached information to better understand the water damage revisions.If you have any questions about your coverage, please speak to your insurance broker, as they will review what protection you have and ensure it matches your lifestyle.
At Navigators Insurance we ensure our clients are looked after from purchase all the way until they need us most. Call us today and we will be happy to help you!