Water leaks in the basement are likely to lead to disastrous water damage. Homeowners with water damage may seek coverage through their homeowner’s insurance. While some types of water leaks are covered, homeowner’s insurance does not cover all forms of water leaks.
In what ways does water leak into a basement?
Plumbing leaks and natural flooding due to rainstorms and snowmelt are common reasons that moisture finds its way into a basement. Water can enter a basement via numerous other ways, too. Two additional major causes of water intrusion include surface water and subsurface groundwater.
Subsurface groundwater is the culprit when water seeps into the basement through areas where the floor and walls adjoin. Wet weather leads to rising groundwater and saturation. The resulting hydrostatic pressure pushes against the foundation and allows water to push through cracks.
Surface water may not drain properly. The moisture problem becomes evident when water in the basement appears primarily near the exterior foundation walls. At least six common causes may be attributed to leaks in the basement caused by surface water.
Clogged window wells fill with water and allow the moisture to seep inside through gaps in the basement windows. Overflowing gutters cause water intrusions, which can also cause foundation cracks. Short downspouts prevent water from being released a sufficient distance from the foundation.
A yard that does not slope away from the foundation allows rainwater to pool and saturates the soil. Over time, the pavement around the home can crack, which gives rainwater an entryway toward the basement. Roof leaks also cause rainwater to run down and ruin basement walls.
A flooded basement may occur when the sump pump fails. Major basement flooding can occur when an appliance, such as a hot water tank or washing machine, malfunctions. The municipal storm sewer can back up, sending water into the system when the water reaches high levels.
The abovementioned causes of basement leaks are just the tip of the iceberg. Water can enter a basement in innumerable ways. When water gets inside, the resulting water damage can cost anywhere from a few hundred to several thousand dollars.
Plus, the floors, personal belongings, walls, fixtures and appliances in the basement undergo damage when water intrudes, adding significantly to the overall cost of water damage repair. In fact, water damage claims are the second most common type of home insurance claim in the nation.
Homeowner’s insurance is finicky about what kinds of water damage it covers. Coverage depends on a host of variable factors. The source of the leak, however, is a starting point when attempting to determine whether or not insurance will cover a specific type of water damage.
What types of basement water damage does insurance cover?
Internal water sources are usually covered by insurance. “Sudden and accidental” causes of water damage, such as a broken washing machine or refrigerator that spews water over the basement floor, is covered. Under certain circumstances, insurance may not cover a malfunctioning appliance.
Coverage will be denied if the insurance can prove the refrigerator malfunctioned due to negligence or lack of maintenance by the homeowner. Similarly, insurance will deny coverage if a leaky water heater is left unmaintained. Ensure continual coverage by keeping appliances well maintained.
Water damage caused by a burst pipe during subfreezing weather is covered by insurance, if the homeowner maintains the indoor heating or turns off the water prior to leaving for vacation. Overflowing sinks, too, are covered, as they are classified as “sudden and accidental” causes.
What types of basement water damage does insurance not cover?
Damages caused by external water sources are not covered by homeowner’s insurance. When the insurance determines the source of the leak to be groundwater, coverage will be denied. Homeowners are responsible for repairing foundation problems, which is the reason for the lack of coverage.
A sewer system that backs up is also not covered by homeowner’s insurance. Homeowners are advised to protect their property by using an overhead sewer, floor drain plug or standpipe. Similarly, basement flooding that results from storms or heavy rains is not covered by homeowner’s insurance.
A homeowner’s two best methods of protection against basement flooding and water damage are purchasing separate flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) and consulting a certified basement waterproofing technician to inspect the property for potential weak spots.
Flood insurance through the NFIP offers building coverage, such as plumbing systems, water heaters, carpeting, foundation walls and staircases. Content coverage includes the washer and dryer, carpeting, portable air conditioners, curtains and valuables, such as artwork valued up to $2500.
Even purchasing separate flood insurance will not always cover all types of flooding. Losses are only covered if they are a direct result of flooding. A sewer backup, for instance, will not be covered if it is determined that it was not directly caused by flooding.
Flood Cleanup Services
Home flooding is costly to repair. Preventing a flood is the ideal way to avoid the hassles of fixing water damage. When flooding is unavoidable, water damage restoration is necessary. If you live in the South Central or Southeastern Nebraska area, turn to ServiceMaster when water damage occurs, and we’ll provide relief promptly and efficiently.
Our IICRC-certified and insured technicians are experienced in all facets of water damage. As a first step, we prevent the water damage from spreading and destroying nearby possessions. We utilize advanced equipment and proven techniques to extract all excess moisture from the property.
We dry the premises by setting up powerful dehumidifiers and air dryers. Our skilled technicians repair water damaged building materials and furnishings. Mold can infest a water damaged area within 24 hours; if necessary, we’ll provide quality mold removal services to ensure your property is habitable.
ServiceMaster proudly serves both residential and business communities in and around Lincoln, Grand Island and Omaha, Nebraska. Our technicians stand by 24 hours a day, 365 days a year, to respond to emergency water damage flood cleanup calls.
Call us for fast and reliable flood cleanup and water damage restoration services.