Accounting for around 90% of all natural disasters that happen in the U.S., flooding is by far the most common type of natural disaster in the U.S., with about 20% of flooding occurring in low and moderate-risk areas, as reported by the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). For this reason, flooded basements are a common sight in the country.
The significant causes of basement flooding include, among others, heavy rains, faulty appliances, rapid snow melting, and broken water pipes. Despite this, it is worth noting that most homeowners insurance policies exclude weather-related basement flooding. To file a flooded basement insurance claim, you need to purchase an additional policy called basement flood insurance.
Here’s what you need to know about homeowners insurance concerning basement flooding.
Flooding Caused by a Faulty Appliance
In general, water damage is the second most common cause of home insurance claims in the U.S., with about one in every 50 insured homes filing such a claim every year, as reported by the Insurance Information Institute (III). Examples of home appliances that can cause water-related damage include faulty washing machine hoses and leaking refrigerators.
Fortunately, a home insurance policy can cover your losses if you convince your home insurance carrier that the flooding resulted from a faulty appliance. However, your insurer will likely deny your claim if you are in any way liable for the flooding. For example, if the appliance in question is in poor condition, your insurer will reject your homeowners insurance claim, leaving you to pay for the damage out of pocket.
Also, note that the insurance company will only cater to flood damage repairs and not the cost of replacing the faulty appliance.
Flooding Caused By an Overflow
According to the National Association of Insurance Commissioners (NAIC), insurance policies do not cover property damage resulting from intentional acts. Insurance companies generally perceive water overflows from plumbing fixtures such as bathtubs and sinks as sudden and accidental. For example, if you accidentally leave the basement bathroom showerhead open and leave for work, your home insurance will cover any water damage resulting from the flooding.
Flooding Caused by Burst Pipes
During winter, water may freeze in pipes. When water freezes, it expands in volume, exerting pressure on the pipes, causing it to burst. In such a situation, your home insurance policy will cover the resulting damage, provided you can prove that you were still living in your home when the damage occurred. This would include burst pipes from an AC unit, appliances, and even sprinklers.
However, if you were away from home when your pipes burst and caused flooding, you would need to prove to your insurer that you took the necessary measures, such as leaving your heater on, to prevent your water pipes from freezing. If you’re unable to prove this, your insurer can choose to reject your homeowners insurance claim.
Flooding Caused by Water Heater Leaks
The average cost of repairing a basement due to a minor flood is $500, although it can go up to $10,000 for severe floods, as reported by Home Advisor. Thus, you might end up incurring a lot of expense trying to repair the damage caused by your basement flooding.
Basement floodings caused by leaking water heater are covered under provisions similar to other leaking appliances.
However, where the leakage results from a malfunctioning water heater or outright neglect, the insurer may deny your claims.
Situations Where Homeowners Insurance Does Not Cover Basement Floodings
Homeowners insurance will not cover flood damages caused by natural or weather-related factors and floods that originate outside the house. This would include rain, storm surges, water or sewer backups, or groundwater under the foundation. Thus basement flood insurance will cover such flood damages as are beyond the standard homeowners insurance.
Hence, before filing claims for a flooded basement, make sure to understand your homeowners policy’s exclusions and inclusions to determine whether the damage is covered within your standard home insurance.
Are you looking for affordable homeowners insurance in Lancaster, CA? If so, then contact the experts at John E. Peakes Insurance Agency. We are ready to assist you with all your home coverage needs today.