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Does Home Insurance Cover Water Damage Restoration Costs

Water damage situations are stressful.

They’re also fairly common, impacting about 14,000 people in the U.S. each day. In any given year, 1.6% of all homes nationwide will experience some sort of water damage.

But here’s the thing: whether you’re dealing with a clogged gutter or an emergency plumbing issue, these incidents are disruptive. Water damage usually happens quickly and unexpectedly—and restoration should be immediate to prevent serious property damage. This makes professional cleaning, ventilation, and drying essential.

Fortunately, homeowners insurance covers many types of water damage. Keep reading this blog post for details on insurance coverage and water damage restoration in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, MI. 

When Is Water Damage Covered by Home Insurance?

In most cases, homeowners insurance will cover water damage that occurs suddenly and accidentally.

Dwelling coverage will help pay for any structural damage to your home. If a burst pipe destroys your drywall, for instance, dwelling coverage will kick in.

Personal property coverage will help pay for any damage to your belongings that occurs under a covered incident. If the same burst pipe soaks your furniture, this coverage will fund the cost of replacing the affected items.

Many homeowners insurance policies cover the following sources of water damage:

  • Severe weather

If a storm causes extreme wind, rain, or hail, your insurance policy will probably cover the resulting water damage.

  • Fire

Homeowners insurance will usually cover water damage that occurs from extinguishing a fire. An exception is if the incident was caused by negligence.

  • Burst pipes

If water leaks or pools after a burst pipe, your dwelling and personal property coverage will cover the damage.  

  • Ice dams

Many insurance policies cover water issues that result from ice dams. These so-called dams form when snow and ice prevent water from running off of your roof.

  • Appliance issues

Damage from water heater, dishwasher, and other appliance malfunctions are generally covered under most homeowners insurance policies.

Mold is another consideration. As long as it didn’t occur as a result of delayed maintenance or homeowner neglect, your policy may cover remediation. 

Does Home Insurance Always Cover Water Damage?

Your policy should cover most situations that aren’t a form of wear and tear. Note that you’ll need to meet your deductible before your carrier pays for any water damage restoration. Coverage limits may also apply.

A typical homeowners insurance policy will not cover:

  • Flooding

Flood damage—or damage from rising water levels coming from outside the home—isn’t covered in standard home insurance policies.

Instead, property owners can look into buying a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Even if you don’t live in a place that requires this coverage, it could be worth the investment. According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), only 60% of NFIP claims come from homeowners in high-risk areas.

Meanwhile, just an inch of floodwater can cause up to $25,000 of property damage.

  • Damage from negligence or outstanding maintenance

If water damage occurs due to a known issue like an ongoing leak, your home insurance policy won’t cover restoration. Water damage from negligence, like leaving the bathtub running or delaying an urgent repair, won’t be covered either.

This is why homeowners need to address any outstanding maintenance promptly. For example, if your roof was due for a replacement over a year ago, there’s really no time to wait. Your insurance carrier won’t very flexible if you experience a roof leak in this case.

  • Certain water backups

Most conventional home insurance policies refuse to cover damage from water that seeps into your home from an external source. So if an outside sewer or drain backs up, you won’t be covered. You do, however, have the option to buy additional sewer or water backup coverage for these types of situations.

Water backup coverage is an especially good investment for those who own older homes or properties with a basement. If you live in an area with an aging sewer system, you may want to look into coverage too.

The same thing applies if there are trees near your property. This is because growing roots can damage sewer lines.

  • The source of the water damage

Say your dishwasher malfunctions and sprays water all over your floor. While your home insurance policy may replace the damaged flooring, it won’t cover the cost of a new dishwasher.

Even if an appliance-related issue is covered, you’ll need to pay out-of-pocket to repair or replace the actual appliance.

To truly understand your coverage, plan to review your home insurance policy every year. This will give you a complete list of covered events and exclusions. If you’re curious, you can always ask about buying additional coverage for your home.

How Can I Prevent Water Damage?

Not all water damage is preventable. You can’t always keep your water heater from going haywire, and you certainly can’t control the weather.

You can, however, take the following steps to avoid water damage:

  • Inspect your home regularly

This includes searching your roof for missing shingles and checking your windows for faults in the seals. You should also inspect hoses going to and from dishwashers, washing machines, and other appliances.

  • Check your gutters

Clogged gutters are a common source of water damage—and they can be highly destructive. Remove debris from your gutters regularly to keep water from flowing into your home.

  • Maintain your appliances

Routine maintenance is easy to overlook. That doesn’t make it unimportant, though. By scheduling annual maintenance on appliances like water heaters, you can stay ahead of a potential leak.

  • Prevent frozen pipes

In the colder months, you can keep pipes from freezing by setting your heat to at least 55 degrees Fahrenheit. Consider this list of tips from the American Red Cross for more information.

  • Remove snow from your roof

Flatter, less insulated roofs are more susceptible to ice dams—but any property can experience them. Try to keep snow off of your roof to reduce your risk. A roof rake can help you achieve this safely.

  • Install a water leak detection system

Water leak detectors are small devices that connect to the internet and alert homeowners to a potential issue. These smart water sensors can be placed in basements or near exposed pipes or water heaters.

If you do experience a problem, make sure you know how to turn off your main water valve. This simple move can help keep a minor problem from becoming catastrophic.

What If I Need to File a Water Damage Insurance Claim?

Before you file an insurance claim, you’ll want to do what you can to safely prevent further water damage. This may involve shutting off the main water valve or placing duct tape over an exposed leak.

Then, you’ll need to secure your belongings. (Pro tip: don’t throw anything away just yet, because you’ll need evidence for your claim.)

Now you can go ahead and file your water damage insurance claim. Here are some general tips to consider:

  • Contact your insurance carrier immediately

Either contact your provider’s claim line by phone or log in and file a claim online.

  • Document the damage

Record the damage to your home, using receipts, pictures, and videos as needed. Include damage to both your dwelling and your personal belongings.

  • Submit the claim forms promptly

Complete all of the required forms and submit them by the deadline. Be as thorough as possible.

  • Evaluate your living situation

Is your home temporarily uninhabitable due to water damage? Note that your policy may include loss of use coverage to help with short-term lodging and meals.

  • Follow up with your claims adjuster

Your adjuster may need more information to process your claim. Once they approve it, they’ll subtract your deductible from the payout—and you’ll be able to proceed with the repairs.

The above process may vary based on your insurance provider. Always consult your carrier if you have questions. They’ll also let you know what to include in your water damage insurance claim list.

What Is a Water Damage Insurance Claim List?

A water damage insurance claim list highlights the damages in a covered event.

It is usually submitted to your insurance carrier along with a notarized proof of loss form. This form backs up the losses you have experienced—serving as proof that the insurance claim is valid.

Generally, a water damage insurance claim list will include the following:

  • Your homeowner’s insurance policy number
  • Date of the damage
  • Cause of the damage
  • All parties with a financial interest in the claim (for example, your mortgage holder)
  • Evidence of the damage and resulting losses
  • Replacement value of any destroyed or damaged personal items
  • Estimates from at least one water damage restoration company
  • Documents that support the amount listed in the insurance claim

Contact your insurance carrier for more information on what’s required under your policy.

What Is the Average Insurance Payout for Water Damage?

Water damage restoration can be expensive. According to the Insurance Information Institute (Triple-I), the average insurance claim for home water damage totaled $11,650 between 2016 and 2022.

Most homeowners insurance deductibles range from $500 to $2,000. Property owners are responsible for paying the deductible amount listed in their policy before insurance takes over.

Of course, there are many factors that go into the total insurance payout (and the total cost of restoration). This includes the type of water involved, the extent of the damage, and labor costs. Replacing an entire ceiling, for example, will cost more than swapping out a bathroom fixture.

How Much Does Water Damage Restoration Cost?

The average cost of water damage restoration is $1,300 to $5,600. Minor remediation typically costs less, while extreme circumstances can run even higher.

Note that there are threecategories of water damage:

  • Clean water (Category 1)

Clean water has not been exposed to chemicals or biohazardous materials. Damage involving this type of water may only require drying, which costs $3 to $4 per square foot on average.

  • Gray water (Category 2)

Gray water has been exposed to substances like detergent. Also known as sullage, it features a higher risk of contamination. Gray water remediation costs $4 to $7 per square foot on average.

  • Black water (Category 3)

Black water has been exposed to known contaminants like sewage or groundwater. It is more destructive than the other categories, and restoration costs $7 to $7.50 per square foot on average.

Water damage restoration costs may also vary byclass:

  • Class 1

This form of water damage affects a portion of a single room. A minor toilet leak is a common example. Cleanup costs may range from $150 to $500.

  • Class 2

This type of water damage affects an entire room, including the walls. It may also impact the flooring and furnishings. These repairs typically cost $550 to 1,000.

  • Class 3

Here the water has infiltrated all parts of a room, or even several rooms. The ceiling, walls, and flooring may be impacted. Mitigation expenses range from $1,100 to $3,200 on average. 

  • Class 4

This is the most extreme type of water damage. Extensive repairs are likely required throughout the home, with restoration costs ranging from $20,000 to $100,000.

Keep in mind that mitigation is well worth the expense. If you leave water damage unaddressed, you risk dealing with mold, mildew, and structural problems down the line.

What Is the Best Water Damage Restoration Company Near Me?

It’s important that you find a reputable water damage restoration company with licensed technicians who can work with your insurance.

When searching for a water damage restoration company, you’ll want to prioritize factors such as:

  • Fast response times
  • Comprehensive cleanups
  • Detailed positive reviews
  • Mold prevention services
  • A customer-first approach

You’ll also want to find a partner who knows your region well. At Ram Restoration, we work with a range of homeowners and insurance providers in Grand Rapids, MI and the surrounding area.

Trust Ram Restoration to Mitigate Your Water Damage

Water damage is tough to deal with—but there’s no time to wait. Left unaddressed, water-related issues can lead to major problems like black mold. This is where the Institute of Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) certified remediation professionals at Ram Restoration come in.

Available around the clock, our goal is to completely restore our customers’ water damage in Grand Rapids and Kalamazoo, MI. We offer emergency services as needed and work with all insurance carriers to get the job done right. Our technicians will be dispatched to your address within 15 minutes of contact to assess the damage to your home.

If you experience water damage that isn’t covered under your home insurance policy, know that our team can still help. Ram Restoration will gladly touch base with you and provide a custom quote. Please contact us for more information on our water damage restoration services.

Our emergency water damage phone line is open 24/7. Call (616) 818-1700 for an immediate response.