Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Basement Leaks?
Discovering water seeping through the walls or pooling on your basement floor is distressing. You’re first thought might be, this is covered by homeowner’s insurance— right?
Unfortunately, a lot of the complexity of your homeowner’s insurance may get tangled up in legal-ese. Many home insurance providers can be reluctant to cover damage done by our area’s weather.
While your specific policy will vary based on your provider and the coverage you picked, it’s still worth exploring what kinds of leaks most home insurance providers are willing to cover and which ones will give them pause.
What Causes a Basement Leak?
Let’s start with the basics. Why do basement leaks appear in the first place?
Most basement leaks don’t appear out of nowhere. More often than not, when a leak does appear in your basement, it will be the result of several months or even years of ignored stress.
Some of the most common reasons leaks form in your home include:
Understanding the causes behind your wet basement problem is crucial to finding a permanent solution.
What Leaks Are Covered By Your Home Insurance?
The good news is that homeowner’s insurance will protect you, financially, from some of the leaks in your home. Insurance providers, however, have drawn boundaries when it comes to the kinds of leaks they’ll help you treat.
Generally, homeowners insurance covers sudden and accidental leaks that occur due to specific incidents like these:
- Leaking water heaters – If your water heater is overworked or has started to malfunction, don’t panic. More often than not, your insurance provider will be able to help you cover the cost of a new water heater. However, if your water heater is still under warranty, your provider is going to encourage you to reach out to the contractor who installed it before you file a claim.
- Broken or burst pipes – Homeowner’s insurance providers can get a little tricky when it comes to a broken pipe. The only time a provider will cover repairs and other costs when it comes to a broken pipe is when the heat’s been on and your home’s been cared for. If you’ve left the heat off in the cold and the weather’s caused your pipes to crack, you’ll be out of luck. However, if you feel your insurance provider isn’t giving you a fair shake when it comes to your coverage here, don’t be afraid to argue your case. It’s better to make it clear why your pipes have broken than to accept a dismissal out of hand.
- Piping problems – On a similar note, most home insurance providers should be able to provide you with the coverage you need to solve internal piping problems. If a drain’s been clogged or your original contractor installed your pipes incorrectly, get in touch with one of your provider’s representatives, and your claim should be honored.
- Large appliance malfunctions – Finally, if your refrigerator, washing machine or other water-based appliance starts to leak and flood your home, you need to reach out to your provider ASAP. Again, if the machine in question is under warranty, your provider will encourage you to seek a replacement through those means. However, you should still be able to file a claim regarding any damage done to your home and receive compensation for repairs.
If you’re unclear if a leak is covered or not, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to your provider.
What Leaks Aren’t Covered By Your Home Insurance?
Homeowners insurance typically does not cover basement leaks resulting from gradual or ongoing issues.
Unless you’ve worked it out with your provider ahead of time, claims regarding the following leaks will typically be denied:
- Flooding – Water entering as a result of external sources like heavy rains, rising rivers, or groundwater seepage usually aren’t covered without special protection plans.
- Poor Maintenance – Neglecting repairs like foundation or floor cracks that allow in water are not covered.
- Seepage– It’s not just the weather that can bring water into your home, though. If the soil around your home starts to shift or groundwater levels start to rise, water may begin to seep into your home through your foundation. Most insurance companies will require you to have an inspection performed to determine where the leak is coming from. If it’s found that the water has an external source, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to file a claim to cover repair costs.
- Sewer Backup or Sump Pump Failure– While special additional coverage may be an option, this type of damage is not typically covered.
What your insurance provider is able to cover when a leak appears in your home will depend entirely on your individual policy. It’s essential to consult with your insurance provider to fully understand the scope of coverage for basement leaks and consider additional policies if needed.
What is Flood Insurance?
For many, purchasing a separate flood insurance policy may provide added peace of mind. Flood insurance typically covers flooding caused by rising waters from heavy rains, overflowing rivers, or groundwater seepage. It may cover structural damage, as well as damage to personal belongings affected by the flood.
While the areas of Missouri, Kansas, Illinois, Arkansas, and Iowa aren’t known for heavy rainfall, flood zones incorporate a lot of different conditions, such as elevation and water table levels.
FEMA offers a helpful community flood zone map to help you better understand your risk of flooding. Add your address, and you’ll learn whether your home is in a high-risk flood area.
Insurance companies use this information to determine coverage and cost.
Secure Your Basement With the Right Insurance
When it comes to basement leaks, understanding what is and isn’t covered by your homeowner’s insurance can help you make informed decisions and better protect your home. While sudden and accidental leaks may be covered by your policy, gradual or ongoing issues, as well as certain external factors, are typically excluded.
By proactively maintaining your home, promptly addressing potential issues, and considering additional coverage options, you can minimize the risks associated with basement leaks and protect your valuable investment.
That’s where Foundation Recovery Systems comes in. We offer free inspections to educate you on the condition of your home and help you spot any vulnerabilities that may result in basement flooding. Scheduling is easy. Book your appointment online or give us a call.
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