Who's Responsible if Your Gutters Weren't Installed Right and Your Basement Floods?

Plus which coverage would help them clean up the mess
Christine Lacagnina Written by Christine Lacagnina
Christine Lacagnina
Written by Christine Lacagnina

Christine Lacagnina has written thousands of insurance-based articles for TrustedChoice.com by authoring consumable, understandable content.

paul martin Reviewed by Paul Martin
paul martin
Reviewed by Paul Martin

Paul Martin is the Director of Education and Development for Myron Steves, one of the largest, most respected insurance wholesalers in the southern U.S.

Downpour rain water overflowing over the overhanging eaves of gutter system. Gutter Floods.

Homeowners come up against all kinds of incidents that impact their homes, including those that aren’t their fault. So what happens when you’ve had gutters installed improperly and your basement ends up flooding as a result? Who’s responsible for this mess, anyway?

Fortunately, an independent insurance agent can help out regardless of who’s at fault. They’ve heard of and handled all kinds of messy claims, down to the strangest scenarios you could imagine. They’re well-versed in knowing exactly what kind of coverage is required, and they’ll get you set up with what you need long before you ever need it. Here’s how they’d help you get protected against a botched gutter installation that ended up flooding your basement.

What Happens if Your Gutters Weren’t Installed Right and Your Basement Floods?

Unfortunately, not all professionals always do their jobs correctly when working on your home. If you file a homeowners insurance claim, you’ll have to be able to prove it was your botched gutter installation that caused your basement to flood. It’s important to always only hire professionals who are licensed and insured to work on your home, just in case of an incident like this, where you may have to sue. Always ask for a company’s credentials up front.

How Would the Gutter Installer's Business Insurance Cover Them?

If you were to file a claim through your homeowners insurance, your insurance company would sue the gutter installer's business to recoup their losses. The gutter installation company’s business insurance would pay for the “completed operations cost,” meaning they would reimburse for the damages to the homeowner’s house, however, the company would not pay the contractors to redo the job that they botched the first time.

What if the Business’s Insurance Doesn’t Cover it?

In the event the gutter installation business’s insurance didn’t cover the damages, it could be tricky to file a homeowners claim and get it approved. An inspector would have to determine how exactly the water got into your basement and why. If the cause of the water damage to your basement wasn’t due to a covered peril, and the gutter installation business’s insurance didn’t cover the flooding, you might end up being out of luck.

When Does Property Insurance Cover Flooding? When Does It Not Cover it?

The property coverage section of your homeowners insurance covers flooding within the home due to certain causes. Typically, property coverage only protects against water damage if it comes from inside the home, such as with defective plumbing or a broken appliance. It’s not usually possible to get flooding covered if the water came from outside of the home, unless a hole within the home’s structure is discovered during an inspection.

Flooding due to natural water sources, such as hurricanes and tsunamis, is not covered under standard homeowners insurance policies. For these situations, you’d need a separate flood insurance policy. Flood insurance is only available through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is a part of the Federal Emergency Management Agency.

How Would This Incident Affect Insurance Premiums?

Fortunately, a botched gutter installation job that floods your basement shouldn’t affect your homeowners premium. Insurance companies don’t tend to punish homeowners for a single incident like this, especially if it wasn’t actually their fault. However, if you were to file these kinds of claims often or it became a trend, your insurance provider may decide to hike up your premium or even not renew your contract past its expiration date.

What if I Wanted to Sue the Contractors Who Installed My Gutters?

If you were especially furious about your basement flood and positive that the cause of the flooding was due to a botched gutter installation job, you could decide to sue the contracting company. The liability coverage provided in your homeowners insurance helps reimburse you for lawsuit expenses in the following ways:

  • Legal fees: Liability coverage pays for attorney, court, and legal fees, including any settlements you may be ordered to pay in the event you are found responsible for the claim.
  • Medical payments: Your liability coverage also pays for injuries to a third party, such as your neighbors or their guests, in the event they get hurt on your property. If someone was in your home when your basement flooded and got hurt in the incident, your liability coverage would pay for their injuries.

A basement flood could be stressful enough on its own, but to add an expensive legal case on top of it could increase the hassle quite a bit. Fortunately, your homeowners policy provides protection against these expenses should you choose to go this route.

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Other Common Risks You Should Consider Coverage For

Aside from flooded basements due to bad installation jobs, there are plenty of other property damage risks that homeowners absolutely need to consider protecting. Fortunately the following common perils are also covered by under the property damage section of standard homeowners insurance policies:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Building collapse
  • Sinkhole collapse
  • Automatic sprinkler leakage
  • Lightning
  • Volcanic action
  • Most explosions
  • Windstorms/hail
  • Accidental fire and resulting smoke damage
  • Riot/civil commotion
  • Certain types of water/other liquid damage

An independent insurance agent will help to consider all risks unique to your home and ensure that you get set up with all the property damage coverage you could ever need. They’ll also be able to review your specific insurance policy and spot coverage gaps in any areas of concern. If you’re lacking protection in an area, they’ll help to patch those holes.

Here’s How an Independent Insurance Agent Would Help

When it comes to protecting your home from basement flooding due to improper professional work and all other incidents, no one’s better equipped to help than an independent insurance agent. Independent insurance agents search through multiple carriers to find providers who specialize in homeowners and property insurance, deliver quotes from a number of different sources, and help you walk through them all to find the best blend of coverage and cost.

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