Flood Damage Insurance Claims

Daisy Ratnasari

When you have true flood damage versus water damage in Dallas Fort Worth, Texas, it is important to know what your insurance policy covers in terms of various water flooding scenarios. Your water damage claim may be denied due to incorrect terminology or coding. Be an informed consumer and read your policy carefully.

Insurance companies usually do not cover natural geological events, such as landslides, hurricanes, earthquakes and floods. Insurance companies are very specific in their definition of what constituted flooding. That narrow definition specifies that flooding is an overflow of a natural body of water, such as a lake or an ocean.

Water damages occur when water gets into your Dallas Fort Worth home other than through the overflowing of a body of water. Depending on your particular insurance policy, many water emergencies are covered, but there are multiple scenarios of what is covered and under what conditions. When you know what your water damage policy covers, you know what language to use to describe the situation for your claim to be approved. That means that if your water heater bursts and “floods” your Dallas Fort Worth home or your washing machine overflows and your basement has 3″ of standing water, it does not qualify under the definition of a true flood, which is good because chances are your insurance would cover these water damage scenarios – just don’t use the word “flood” when filing your claim.

Here are some examples of water emergency situations and their outcome, depending on your insurance company’s interpretation of events that led to the damages.

Water Damage from burst frozen pipes

Most insurance policies cover you for burst frozen pipes; however, if you went on vacation and failed to turn on the heat in your Dallas, Texas home during subzero weather, your claim would most likely be denied due to your failure to anticipate the events, thus causing the damage.

Water Damage from Overflowing Appliances

Most insurance policies would cover an overflow of your washing machine that floods your basement. However, the insurance company may make a case for the improper maintenance and upkeep of the washing machine in which case, the washer’s replacements parts would not be covered by your insurance.

Water Damage from Leaky Roof

Your insurance would likely cover your water damaged Dallas home and furnishings, but would not cover the cost of repairing your roof because that is considered a regular homeowners’ maintenance responsibility.

Water Damage from Leaky Pool

Your insurance would cover leaks from your pool that end up damaging and flooding your basement; however, if your lawn got damaged in this particular scenario, the lawn would not be covered.

Water Damages Not Covered by Insurance

What water flooding emergency situations would not be covered by your insurance?

Water trickling from the ground and damaging your basement and foundation are regarded as a maintenance rather than an accidental issue. Sewage back up issues are not covered by standard policies, although additional coverage through endorsements could be available to purchase. Although floods are America’s primary cause of natural disasters, the standard Homeowners’ Insurance Policy does not cover floods; however, if you live in a flood risk area, you can buy such a policy from the government if your community participates in the National Flood Insurance Program. There is more information about specific flood hazards on http://www.floodsmart.gov/floodsmart/.

The above examples show that when you call your insurance company to file a water damage claim, you should be honest, but be aware that you should be factual in your description of the water damage. Know what your policy covers and what it does not cover and present your situation accurately, without using words or terms that raise a red flag to the person on the other end. For example, if your water heater burst and when making a claim you say that your house just flooded, that is not within the narrow interpretation of the insurance company’s definition of flood. So, although to you, your home is flooded because you are standing in 3″ of water, when you report the incident to your insurance company, just state the facts: your home is full of water due to your water heater bursting.

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