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Does Home Insurance Cover a Flooded Basement?

Flooded floor in home

While it’s become quite common for homeowners to waterproof their basements and transform them into a living space, more often than not you will see basements left unfinished and underutilized. If you’ve recently ventured down into your own unfinished basements and seen signs of water damage or flooding, it’s important to act quickly.

How to Start the Process

The first call should be to a professional to have the damage assessed and water pumped out. Before you call your insurance agent and submit a water leak insurance claim, we recommend that your second conversation will be with the professionals at United Public Adjusters & Appraisers. We will help you determine if your home and property insurance policies will cover a flooded basement.

Our team has helped thousands to understand their homeowners’ insurance water damage specifications (policy exclusions and limitations) to determine the best approach to document and submit their water leak insurance claim. Homeowners’ insurance policies are often complex and written in a way that lacks clarity. As a policyholder, you deserve to have someone on your side who can translate your policy and help you understand your rights.

Assessing the Damage and Moving Forward

To begin, the source of the flooding must be determined. This is an important step in the recovery process, but it’s also crucial for your flood insurance claim. We make sure to ask the right questions to ensure you get the most from your settlement.

Is the leak from a cracked pipe, a broken washing machine hose, or an old water heater? Has a valve or gasket from the municipal water supply that connects to your home deteriorated? Or maybe a freak storm with torrential rains led to the leak and eventual flood. These circumstances could all be the cause of your current situation, and identifying the cause can help you expedite your claim.

Here is what the standard homeowners’ insurance policy typically will cover:

Burst Pipes: As noted above, leakage from an appliance hose or frozen pipe is generally covered. Depending on insurance policy terms and conditions, it may require the home to be inhabited and kept at an acceptable temperature for your water leak insurance claim to be eligible. Should the insurance adjuster discover that the machine and/or plumbing pipes have not been maintained, your claim could be denied.

  • Did you know? The cost for plumbing repairs due to freezing temperatures is typically reimbursable as the frozen condition is sudden and accidental, therefore it is not considered to be due to normal depreciation.

Water Heater: Should this appliance prove to be the source of the flooding, it would typically be covered, unless any of the following apply:

  • There is evidence of ongoing leaking that has not been repaired.
  • The leak was not sudden or unpredictable.
  • The homeowner was supposed to replace the unit prior to the flooding and failed to do so.

Accidental Overflow: It happens. A delivery at the front door when you are downstairs cleaning paint brushes in the slop sink. Afterward, you forget to return to your task immediately, and flooding results. Relax, this is likely to be covered under a clause in your homeowners’ insurance for water damage as ‘sudden and accidental localized overflow’. However, if you have a basement toilet that overflows due to a blockage, this claim could be denied; but it all depends on the fine language found in the insurance policy.

What does your homeowners’ and/or property insurance policy not likely to cover?

Flooding Caused by a Storm: Even if you do not live in a flood plain, if your neighbors have had issues with storm-flooded basements, consider buying Flood Insurance as your homeowners’ policy will likely not cover this contingency.

Sump Pump Malfunctions: If your home has a sump pump, additional coverage expressly for sump pumps which can be added to your existing homeowners’ policy is highly recommended. It pays for itself in the event you have to file a water leak insurance claim due to sump pump failure.

Sewer Backups/Seepage Issues: In the event of flooding that is found to be caused by your home being built on top of a high water table, your homeowners’ policy will not cover it. As for sewer backups, these are considered municipal issues and not generally covered. However, as with sump pumps, upon request, additional coverage for sewer backups may be added to your policy.

Poor Maintenance: Flooding caused by poorly maintained plumbing, appliances, etc. is not covered.

The best time to learn about your specific policy coverages is before you have to submit a claim. Give United Public Adjusters & Appraisers a call today and we can help you do exactly this. We’ll review your policies with you and point out areas where specific additional coverages are warranted. In situations like these, knowledge is power and our team is here to help empower homeowners.

Should an unforeseen event of damage occur, you can rest assured that you and your family are prepared. Remember that United Public Adjusters & Appraisers is also available for assistance in documenting your damages, submitting a claim, negotiating with your insurance carrier, and bringing about the highest settlement your (updated) policies allow.

Contact our professionals today!


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