Water damage insurance claims are among the most frequently reported losses. Coverage depends on policy specifics, including the source of water damage and the duration of exposure. It is incumbent upon property owners to ascertain a thorough understanding of possible liabilities, and available policy options to make informed coverage decisions. Current coverages can be replaced entirely or bolstered by adding addendums that would indemnify against eventualities not currently addressed.
Sudden & Accidental Water Damage
Ongoing water damage is not usually covered. Insurance policies generally have qualifying statements that require water damage to be sudden and accidental, with continued exposure generally being 14 days or less. Policies that would otherwise cover such an event, may deny a water damage restoration claim if the event has continued beyond the ascribed time limit.
Gradual water damage that can trigger a denial is often obscured by interstitial areas of a structure, such as wall and ceiling cavities. In this instance, any visible indication of ongoing water damage may be nonexistent, could become gradually apparent, or might remain hidden until the water event reaches a crescendo and reveals itself in no uncertain terms.
Although not a universal remedy, continued maintenance and routine systems servicing are key components to avoiding or uncovering issues that could result in long term water damage and coverage denial.
Gradual Water Damage & False Denials
Determining the duration of hidden or overlooked ongoing water damage is difficult and can lead to false denial by overzealous claims adjusters. In this instance, the policy holder should resist potentially baseless assertions. This can be done by the property owner, with the assistance of a water mitigation services company or by retaining a professional such as a public adjuster or an attorney.
Insurance coverages are based on policy wording. Although water events lasting longer that 14 days are specifically not covered by most property insurance policies, methodologies used to determine duration of a water event often employ tenuous data and can be subjective in nature.
For instance, unscrupulous adjusters may insist that the presence of mold contamination is irrefutable evidence of long-term water damage. Although mold damage does indicate a period of ongoing water damage, microbial activity can arise in as little as 48 hours and be well established within a week. In this scenario, water damage restoration coverage should be afforded as the policy allows for up to 14 days of continued exposure.
Rotted structural members are a good indication of long-term water damage that has stretched beyond the 14-day grace period, but not always. Older homes often have experienced autonomous water events stretching over decades and in some instances longer. Periodically, a current water event overlaps past repaired water damage and saturates long ago decayed lumber. Such an eventuality may trigger a false denial, even from a fair-minded insurance adjuster unable to discern two unique events.
Water Damage Exclusions
As stated above, insurance policies universally exclude gradual water damage, but there are policies and addendums to policies that will afford some level of ancillary coverage for ongoing water events. Specifically, fungus and rot indemnification, which customarily offers limited mold damage restoration coverage but will at least ease the financial burden of a long-term loss event.
The availability of fungus and rot offerings varies from state to state and by the insurance company. Mold damage restoration (fungus removal) services require the same procedures as water damage restoration, with additional safety protocols and mold removal. Weather available as part of or an endorsement to your policy, fungus and rot coverage can provide indemnification that would otherwise be unavailable.
Emergency Restoration Services
Property Recovery 911 offers professional water mitigation and mold damage restoration services no matter the source or scope of the job. Prompt water damage restoration is essential to reducing the ongoing effects of water exposure, which can wick up walls, travel under base boards, penetrate floor coverings, infiltrate sub-floors, and damage adjacent rooms. If left unchecked over 48 hours, microbial growth can ensue threatening the interior environment and the health of those within.
We are prepared and on call 24 hours a day, 7 days a week to dispatch a quick response team who can be on your location within 1 hour protecting your interests. Contact us at (267) 808-7200 to prevent or alleviate the devastating effects of water damage and to safely dry, deodorize and disinfect the affected areas.