As a responsible homeowner, you purchased homeowners insurance to protect your investment. While water damage is probably listed as one of the covered perils in your policy, that coverage is limited to only specific types of damages.
What happens if you suddenly get distracted while running a bath, allowing it to overflow for an hour before anyone notices? What if flash flooding washes out the hill behind your home, allowing water to rush over your foundation? Continue reading to learn how water affects your home and what you can do to protect shield yourself against expensive damages.
The Cost of Water Damage
Even a small amount of water can be devastating to your home. According to the National Flood Insurance Program, 2 inches of water in a 2,000 square-foot home can cause more than $20,000 in damages. Increase that to 6 inches, and the cost doubles. Of course, many water-related incidents occur on a much smaller scale. Even pooled water on your floor, however, can cause laminate to buckle, damage your baseboards, and facilitate an environment for mold.
Preventing Water Damage
Water damage can be a real pain, even if you have insurance coverage. To help keep dry, consider the following preventative steps:
- Always insulate pipes during winter
- Inspect your appliance hoses periodically and replace as needed
- Do not flush anything down your drains or toilet line that does not break down easily
- Inspect sewage lines before purchasing a new home
- Install a backwater prevention valve to prevent back-flow of raw sewage
- Replace old or deteriorated pipelines with plastic ones
Protect Yourself and Your Home
Fortunately, you probably already have some limited coverage for water damage under your homeowners insurance policy. Though the fine print varies from insurer to insurer, it is likely to include coverage for sudden and accidental events.
For example, your policy probably covers an overflowing sink, a burst pipe, or water discharged when you accidentally pulled the hose loose behind your washing machine. On the other hand, you might not be covered if you experience water damage that was caused by a maintenance issue. In other words, you probably will not get reimbursed for repair expenses incurred due to a pipe that has been leaking for the past several months.
Sewer Line Backup
As a homeowner, you are responsible for the upkeep and maintenance of the sewer lines on your property. If a line becomes blocked or collapses, raw sewage is not capable of draining from your home. In some cases, it can even backup into your home, making the home uninhabitable until properly cleaned. Sewer line backups are typically excluded from coverage under a homeowners insurance policy, but you can add this type of coverage for a small cost in the form of an endorsement. Contact an agent here at Reis Insurance for more information about adding a sewer backup endorsement to your policy.
A flood occurs when too much surface water accumulates in an area that is usually dry. This could be caused by heavy rains, a broken dam, or a body of water that breaches its banks. Unfortunately, flooding is not covered under homeowners insurance in Wisconsin, or in any state for that matter. However, coverage can be purchased separately through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
You do not have to live in a high-risk flood zone to purchase flood insurance. In fact, you may qualify for preferred policy rates if you live in a low or moderate-risk area. You also do not have to be a homeowner to purchase coverage. Renters can also purchase contents-only flood insurance to protect their personal belongings.
However, be aware that there is a 30-day waiting period for most new flood insurance policies, with some exceptions for homeowners who have experienced recent changes in flood zoning or who are attempting to satisfy the requirements of a new mortgage. Contact an independent agent here at Reis Insurance for more information and to find out if flood insurance could be right for you.
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