ARE BASEMENT LEAKS COVERED BY INSURANCE?
When your basement springs a leak or becomes flooded, you might be looking at costly repairs. Water damage is expensive and fixing the source of the water is too. There are a plethora of ways for water to enter your basement. Common reasons for a flooded basement include:
- Cracks in the wall or foundation
- Inadequate lot grading
- Unmaintained foundation
- Leaky pipes
- Overflowing bathtubs, toilets, and floor drains
This is only a small list; your basement gets very creative about the ways it lets water inside. The damage caused by these water intrusions can cost several hundred to many thousands of dollars. The floors, walls, fixtures, appliances, and possessions can all take a beating and add to the total cost of damage and repairs. It's an unfortunate fact that water damage is the second most common home insurance claim in the U.S. Far too many homeowners find themselves looking at a hefty bill when they least expect it.
SO, WHAT YOU NEED TO KNOW IS, ARE BASEMENT LEAKS COVERED BY INSURANCE?
Unfortunately, the answer isn't simple. There are far too many variables involved. But you can begin determining if your leak is covered by diagnosing the source of the leak. The good news is that a lot of basement leaks are covered by insurance. The bad news is that the worst leaks are often not covered. To determine if your basement leak is covered by insurance, diagnose the source of the leak.
ARE BASEMENT LEAKS COVERED BY INSURANCE: INTERNAL WATER SOURCES
Fortunately, basement floods from an internal source are almost always covered by home insurance.
- Broken appliances- If a basement washing machine or refrigerator is on the fritz or has a break in the water supply line, water can seep slowly over time, or flood the basement in what seems like an instant. Thankfully, home insurance considers this "sudden and accidental" almost always covering the cost of repairs. The typical reason it's not covered is when the insurance company can prove it broke because of lack of maintenance on your part.
- Leaky water heater- A leaky water heater is likewise covered, except where they can prove neglect. Keep an eye on your appliances and maintain them well and you ensure coverage.
- Burst pipes- Any burst pipe, even ones that froze and burst, is covered by home insurance. Pipes freeze when the temperature drops and the expansion of the water inside puts stress on the pipe and creates a burst situation, flooding your basement. You're covered every time if you maintain the home with heat during the temperature drop and if you turned off the water before leaving on vacation.
- Overflowing fixtures-Overflowing tubs and sinks are classified "sudden and accidental" saving you the headache of expensive repairs from the resulting floods.
ARE BASEMENT LEAKS COVERED BY INSURANCE: EXTERNAL WATER SOURCES
Homeowner's insurance is frustrating. It's there for you in a lot of ways, but sometimes absent when you need it most. External water sources are almost never covered by average home insurance. And even flood insurance doesn't cover every basement leak. If insurance classifies your water intrusion as groundwater, you can expect them not to cover it.
Despite what you might think, your insurance company isn't doing this out of the meanness of their hearts; there are two very logical explanations for the lack of coverage. Your home insurance company is trying to keep premiums as low and affordable as possible, and not covering groundwater leaks is the best way. The two main reasons, as listed by American Insurance are:
- "Current construction methods require the foundation to allow water to drain away from the home. Older homes may not have followed these methods or due to improper grading, the shifting of the soil or past severe water events, water may find a path to begin collecting underground next to the home. If the intrusion of water through foundations were covered by insurance, then a home owner would have no incentive to correct the problem. Covering these events would give rise to repeated claims after every periodic severe weather season.
- Over time, every foundation settles, cracks, and eventually deteriorates. This "wear & tear" may require a home owner to excavate around the foundation (and basement) to place drain tiles and patch/re-seal the foundation and basement concrete walls. Again, if this type of water loss was covered then a home owner would have no financial incentive to repair or improve their home."
This can seem discouraging, but it is also very matter of fact. If you have a new home, keep it maintained, and if you have an older home, it's time for some hardcore fixing. Homeownership comes with immense responsibility, and maintenance is the best form of protection against damage.
Basement leaks not covered by insurance include:
- Rising water from a storm of heavy rains-You will need adequate flood insurance to protect you against damage from any weather event. When you purchase flood insurance, make sure you find a policy that covers both dwelling and contents. Most flood insurance policies cover possessions but not the structure of the home.
- Sewage backup-Sewer system backups are not covered. But you can try DIY protection approaches like using a floor drain plug, standpipe, or overhead sewer.
- Groundwater seeping through cracks-Cracks in your wall or foundation can let groundwater in, and groundwater is never covered by typical home insurance.
ARE BASEMENT LEAKS COVERED BY INSURANCE: WHAT YOU CAN DO
If you find yourself wondering, are basement leaks covered by insurance, then you've probably already had a leak, or are genuinely worried about one in the future. You're not alone. Basements are built partially or entirely underground, making them immensely prone to leaks.
Do what you can to prevent internal leaks, but remember that should it still happened, they're covered by insurance. For external leaks, check your basement for entry points and call a certified basement waterproofing technician to assess the area. They can diagnose potential weak spots and give you an estimate for waterproofing your basement from groundwater.
More info? For more information about protecting your basement from water check out our other post: WATERPROOFING YOUR BASEMENT OR CRAWLSPACECall 877-957-5670 to schedule an appointment with an AdvantaClean basement waterproofing specialist today!