Flood damage is the same as water damage, right?
When it comes to water vs flood damage, flood poses much high risks that can require insurance coverage and more out of pocket costs.
But what exactly constitutes water/flood damage? And what is the difference?
Causes of Water Damage
Water damage is a general category with many causes. Your home can incur water damage from a burst pipe, overflowing toilet, or many other sources inside your home.
Causes of Flood Damage
According to FEMA (the Federal Emergency Management Agency), flood damage is caused by:
- overflow of inland or tidal waters
- unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
- collapse or subsidence of land along the shores of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood
A flood is defined as a temporary situation where two or more acres of dry land, or two or more units of property, are covered in water from one of the above water sources.
Distinguishing Flood Damage from Water Damage
An easy way to distinguish water damage and flood damage apart is by answering a simple question…. Is your home the only one having any issues?
If the answer is yes, then you’re most likely dealing with water damage.
If the answer is no, and more than one home is having the same issue, then it is likely a result of flood damage.
What you need to know
At bare minimum, you need to know that your homeowner’s insurance policy will not cover any damage that is caused by ‘floods’, as defined by FEMA. That’s what Flood Insurance is for!
Then, what use is Homeowner’s Insurance relative to water damage?
In most states, standard homeowner’s insurance policies cover damages that result from a myriad of other avenues such as:
- Broken Pipes or Other Plumbing Problems – Water damage resulting from broken plumbing is typically covered under standard homeowner’s insurance policies.
- Clogged Air Conditioner (AC) Condensation Drain Lines – If your air conditioner happens to be located in the attic of your home, and the condensation drain line becomes clogged, it can potentially overflow thereby causing water damage to your home. Such damage is typically covered by your standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
- Water Damage resulting from Firefighting Efforts – The fire portion of your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover not only the fire damage but also any damage caused by water and/or chemicals used to extinguish the fire.
- Appliance Malfunctions – Water damage caused by malfunctioning appliances is typically covered by your standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
- Clogged Plumbing – Water damage resulting from clogged plumbing and back-ups are also usually covered by your standard homeowner’s insurance policy.
What’s NOT Covered?
Homeowner’s Insurance will not cover routine maintenance or problems that are believed to be the result of a lack of maintenance. For example, if the roof leak was caused due to your previously twenty-year old shingles are now forty years old, your insurance company may deny your claim, saying that you should have inspected the roof and replaced the old shingles.
Thank you for breaking down what is and isn’t covered in general homeowners insurance in regards to water damage. My AC broke and, as you described, the condensation overflowed and caused serious damage to our storage room wall before we even noticed. It’s great to know that insurance covers that, and we’ll definitely be sure to call a damage restoration company to take care of it once they’re cleared by the insurance company.
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