Last year, nearly 30% of home insurance claims were related to water damage. But it's critical to understand that not all types of water damage are covered by your insurance. Depending on the source of the water, you may need an additional policy to protect you.
While Illinois independent insurance agents can help you get covered by the right homeowners insurance and other policies, we'll start by exploring this question further. Here's a breakdown of the kinds of water damage covered by policies like homeowners insurance.
How Is Water Damage Covered by Home Insurance?
Depending on the source of the water, or why the water damage occurred in the first place, your home insurance can protect you in the following ways:
- Additional living expenses: This coverage pays for you to temporarily relocate to somewhere like a hotel while waiting for repairs to be completed on your home after a covered disaster.
- Property coverage: Your homeowners insurance includes property coverage for your home's dwelling and contents, like furniture, from covered causes like certain types of water damage.
- Liability coverage: If a guest or worker on your property got injured or had their stuff damaged by the water at your house, your home insurance would protect you against lawsuit costs.
After paying your home insurance's deductible, you'd be covered for reimbursement up to your policy's limits in each of these categories, as long as the water damage was due to a listed cause.
When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?
Again, home insurance only covers certain types of water damage, depending on their cause:
- Busted pipes: One of the top causes of water damage to homes is also one covered by home insurance.
- Accidental leaks: If your plumbing is leaking, your home insurance will likely cover the resulting water damage.
- Fire extinguishers: If your home was on fire and had to be put out by an extinguisher, your home insurance would cover the resulting water damage as well as the fire damage.
- Roof leaks: If your roof was leaking due to a covered peril, such as a tree smashing into it, your home insurance would cover the resulting water damage.
- Ice dams: Your home insurance may cover water damage due to ice dams, or buildups of ice in your gutters or on your roof, as long as they occurred due to a listed cause.
If you have concerns about when your specific home insurance policy covers water damage, check in with your Illinois independent insurance agent. They'll be happy to review your coverage with you.
What about Mold Removal?
Your home insurance also covers mold removal if its source was due to a covered peril. So if your home's water damage was covered by your insurance, any resulting mold removal should be covered as well. However, if the source of the water damage isn't covered, you'll probably also have to pay to remove the mold yourself.
Controlling mold in the home is critical. Besides being unsightly, mold can cause allergic reactions and even ongoing health issues. If your home has been damaged by water, it's a good idea to hire a professional to inspect your property for mold as soon as you can.
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When Doesn't Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?
These sources of water damage aren't typically covered by home insurance in Illinois:
- Earthquakes: Earthquakes, landslides, etc. are not covered perils by home insurance, and their resulting water damage often isn't either. You'd need earthquake insurance to cover this type of disaster.
- Lack of maintenance: If a homeowner fails to maintain their home, such as upgrading their plumbing when necessary, home insurance won't cover related disasters including water damage.
- Floods: Home insurance doesn't cover natural flood damage stemming from storms like tsunamis and hurricanes. You'd need a separate flood insurance policy to cover this type of disaster.
- Sewer backups: To get coverage against water damage and other issues related to a backed-up sewer, you'd need to add a special sewer backup endorsement to your home insurance.
- Negligence: If you go away and fail to leave your home's heat on at least high enough to prevent damage to your plumbing, your home insurance likely won't cover busted pipes and water damage disasters.
Your Illinois independent insurance agent can further explain the cases in which your home insurance won't cover water damage.
How Do I Get Flood or Hurricane Coverage?
Regular home insurance won't cover flood damage due to hurricanes, and depending on where you live, it may not cover the wind damage either. If you're located in an area where windstorm damage is excluded from home insurance, your Illinois independent insurance agent can help you get separate windstorm coverage. You'd also want flood insurance to protect your home from water damage.
How to Prevent Water Damage to Your Home
Even after you have the proper insurance cover secured, you'll still want to try to prevent water damage from occurring in your home. Follow these simple tips to cut down on your chances of finding water damage:
- Turn up the thermostat: It's recommended to keep your thermostat set to at least 50 degrees year-round to prevent frozen pipes and busts.
- Get smart technology: Smart water leak detectors can send you alerts if a leak is detected in your home, allowing you to respond to the problem immediately.
- Drain water heaters: Doing this twice annually removes sediment buildup that can lead to water damage.
- Keep your roof dry: Especially after a winter storm, it's critical to remove snow and ice from your roof to prevent backups and leaks.
- Clean your gutters: Regularly clearing debris like leaves from your gutters can prevent backups that lead to internal water damage.
Of course, even if you follow these tips to prevent water damage perfectly, there's still a chance it could happen. That's why it is crucial to have the right coverage in place, including home insurance and flood insurance.
Why Choose an Illinois Independent Insurance Agent?
Illinois independent insurance agents simplify the process by comparing insurance quotes for you. They'll also cut through the jargon and clarify the fine print so you know exactly what you’re getting.
Illinois independent insurance agents also have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best home insurance and flood insurance coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you.
TrustedChoice.com Article | Reviewed by Paul Martin
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