A lot of things can damage your home, with wind and hail topping the list. Water damage is one of the other most common reasons that people file a homeowner’s insurance claim. Pipes burst, water heaters leak, and you can even see water damage from flooding if a severe enough storm blows through.
Most homeowners assume that, if they pay their premiums and made good faith efforts at home maintenance, insurance will cover water damage. So, what should you do if your insurance company comes back with a brusk “water damage claim denied?”
Legit Reasons for Denial
There are several reasons why insurance companies may deny an insurance claim for water damage. Some of the reasons are legitimate and some are less so. We’ll start with the legit reason in this section.
One reason for the denial is most insurance companies exclude certain kinds of water damage. Almost all policies explicitly exclude flooding from the coverage, which is why many homeowners carry a specific flood insurance policy.
If your sewer backs up or your sump pump, there is a good chance that your policy doesn’t cover that either. If your home suffers damage from these sources, you’re probably on the hook for covering the repairs.
Gradual Water Damage
Insurance companies throw the term gradual water damage around a lot. As the homeowner, keeping your home in good repair is a prerequisite for coverage. If you allowed a leak to cause damage in your home for weeks or months without getting a repair, that’s your fault and not the insurance company’s problem.
At least, that’s the way they’ll put when denying your claim. Unfortunately, many insurance companies will just use that as an excuse not to pay.
Once the insurance denied a water damage claim, you should gather evidence. In fact, you should gather evidence in advance. Take a lot of pictures of the cause of the damage and the damage itself.
Get copies of your utility bills as well, as these often help prove that you didn’t ignore a leak for months. If your bills didn’t change, it likely means you didn’t ignore a leak.
Talk with a Lawyer
In the face of home insurance denying the claim for water damage, you’ll want help from a lawyer who handles this type of case. They’ll know what kinds of pressure they can bring to bear on the insurance company to get your claim covered. You can learn more here.
Water Damage Claim Denied? Take Action
If you get a water damage claim denied, it’s not necessarily the end of the story. Fighting over legitimately excluded problems like flooding or a sewage backup is probably a lost cause.
If your damage didn’t come from an excluded source, you can do something. Gather evidence in the form of pictures and utility bills. Then, speak with a lawyer who specializes in insurance claims.
Looking for more tips about managing home repairs and insurance claims? Check out the Home Improvement posts in our Lifestyle section.