Proving Water Damage: What You Need to Know

When it comes to water damage claims, evidence is key. Plumbing, faucets, or pipes that leak over time can cause damage to walls, ceilings, or floors. Damage caused by water seeping through basement cracks or flashing, shingles, or shingles on the roof showing signs of a need for repair can all be evidence of water damage. It's important to take photos and record videos of the leak that occurs and the damage caused to your floors.

Additionally, be sure to retain any broken pipes, garbage disposal, filtration system, washing machines, water heaters, or any other device that may be responsible for the leak. Having this type of evidence throughout the claims process will help ensure that there is no suspicion of coverage from your insurance company. When an insured person makes a claim for suspected water damage manifested by buckling of floors, but does not know the source of the leak, an adjuster will likely begin to gather evidence to deny the claim on the grounds that the damage was not caused by a sudden and accidental failure of the plumbing. In cases where the source of water damage is obviously not “sudden and accidental”, it's beneficial for policyholders to be represented when seeking benefits under their all-risk policies. For example, Lewis observed water coming from an open hole in the pipe that came out as a drip because the water had shut off too low. The court concluded that there was no coverage because “the nature of the gradual discharge of water from the Browns pipeline (even if it was initiated by a nanosecond breach in the pipe wall) and of the incremental effects of water on the Browns house precludes any conclusion that the discharge was sudden.”There are several types of water damage claims that can be included or excluded in a homeowner's policy.

Each year, approximately one in 50 homeowners file a water or freeze damage claim, accounting for 29% of all homeowners insurance claims according to the Insurance Information Institute. Most contractors and flooring experts are not licensed by the Department of Insurance and are not legally authorized to represent you in your water damage claim. If water damage is covered by your insurance policy, you'll be responsible for paying a deductible, which is the amount you'll pay out of pocket. Flood damage isn't covered either (unless you have a separate Massachusetts flood insurance policy). There are several reasons why insurance companies reject water damage claims, but the most common is because of what insurance companies classify as a long-term leak.

Neglect or lack of maintenance that results in water damage means that you are personally involved in the cost of repairs. The water damage restoration company you choose will most likely bill your insurance company directly. Keep in mind that water damage from certain types of events such as tsunamis, floods, sewer accumulations, and pool leaks is generally not covered. In general, water damage that is considered “sudden and accidental” is covered (such as a burst pipe), but gradual damage such as a leak in the bathroom sink is not covered.

Andrea Danforth
Andrea Danforth

Typical pizza ninja. Web trailblazer. Infuriatingly humble pop culture scholar. Evil internet expert. Incurable beeraholic.

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