Water damage insurance is by no means standard. Whereas damage from a burst pipe or broken toilet is covered under most standard home insurance policies, you probably need a special endorsement to be covered for water that enters your house through the walls or floors of your basement. In insurance, this is called ground water coverage.
Ground water damage can be covered in one of two ways:
Note that many insurance companies do not offer this coverage at all. If you’re not sure that you have ground water coverage, make sure to ask.
Ground water insurance covers damage caused when water gets into your home through cracks or pores in the concrete of the home’s foundation. This most often happens:
Current building codes require your basement to be waterproofed when the home is built, but waterproofing measures are seldom perfect, and cracks can develop in the concrete over time.
If you can see water stains coming down your basement walls, that usually means the problem is groundwater.
Like any insurance coverage, ground water coverage only applies if the damage was sudden and not easily predictable.
Your ground water coverage will pay to fix any damage caused by the water, but won’t pay to fix the foundation, which is considered maintenance, and is the homeowner’s responsibility.
Some water claims can be the result of tree roots damaging the section of pipe or drain between your house and the curb. Ground water insurance will cover damage to your home if this water gets in, but it won’t pay to fix the pipe or drain. The city is responsible for the pipes that run under the road, but not those under your property. For under $100 a year, most insurers will add service line coverage that protects plumbing, electrical and other buried wires that connect your home to city infrastructure.
The fact is that any home can be at risk for damage from ground water getting into the basement. The level of risk depends on a number of factors:
To keep your risk to a minimum, there are a few common sense steps you can take.
Water coverage for your home is not a simple thing. There are a number of different coverages, and they are bundled in different ways by different insurance companies. A licensed insurance broker can help you assess your risk for different types of water claims and come up with the right combination of coverage and pricing to meet your unique needs. Give us a call today.