Ultimately this will be up to your adjuster based on your situation and your coverage. At Service Team, we aren’t adjusters but we know a lot of them and work with them just about every day.
The simplest way to understand coverage is to look for “sudden” and “accidental” problems. If the loss is the result of damage over a long time it’s not sudden (even if you didn’t know about it). If the damage happened over night or a day that’s pretty fast and much more likely to be covered. Accidental is pretty clear too. A person can’t purposefully cause the damage or take action that could reasonably be expected to cause damage.
Let’s look at some common examples that we see:
- Forget and leave a faucet running and it overflows into the floor – generally covered
- An arctic blast causes a pipe to burst and floods 3 stories of your home – generally covered
- Turn off the heat to save money on a vacant property and that arctic blast causes the pipe to burst – you’re probably on your own.
- Ice maker line to the fridge leaks. This one can go either way, it depends how long it’s been leaking. If your floor collapses; it’s been leaking a very long time and may not be covered. If you see a puddle or your hardwoods start to buckle and you shut off the water you are more likely to have coverage.
- The toilet overflow is another tricky one. It’s generally pretty sudden and accidental and often covered. When we’ve seen people have issues is when the sewer line backs up. Your homeowner’s insurance may cover the damage but this is often an additional optional coverage that you have to purchase. Sewage back ups are expensive and because of the level of contamination they can pose a significant health risk. Check with your agent to be sure you have the coverage you need.
Read your policy. It details everything that is covered, and in some instances will also explain what isn’t.
When you think you might have an issue and need to file a claim, give us a call. We can help determine if you are likely to have coverage and we’ll also help you decide if it’s worth filing a claim based on the scope of damage, type of damage and your deductible. Service Team is here for you and can assist regardless of whether you file a claim or not.
Written by Ben McDonald, Service Team of Professionals in Winston-Salem, NC