Late winter water problems bring home insurance into spotlight

Late winter water problems bring home insurance into spotlight

26 Mar , 2013  

Home insurance helps with certain types of water damage

The late winter months often bring with them the threat of water damage to homes from multiple angles, so being aware of what is covered by home insurance and what isn’t can be critical to the financial well-being of home owners.

A recent report from the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.) delved into this topic and offered up advice that can be helpful to both homeowners and renters.

Water damage resulting from heavy snows or even heavy rains in the late winter months can affect homes in many different ways.

“Even a small amount of water can cause serious damage to your home,” Jeanne M. Salvatore, senior vice president and consumer spokesperson at the I.I.I., said in a statement. “That is why it’s important to have the right type and amount of insurance, including flood insurance.”

According to the I.I.I., standard homeowners insurance policies (and standard renters policies) provide coverage for “water that comes from the top down”, which would include rainfall and snowfall.

However, water that “comes from the bottom up”, typically have to be covered by a separate flood insurance policy. Bottom-up examples include overflowing rivers and steams.

Sewer backups can also occur, but these events often must be covered in a rider, or additional policy, on top of the standard insurance policy.

Because many home insurance claims for water damage are the result of frozen and/or burst pipes, the I.I.I. offered advice on how to avoid such situations, including:

  • Insulate pipes, particularly ones leading outside.
  • Make sure you know how to access the water turn-off in the event of a burst pipe to limit damage.
  • Inspect pipes under sinks to ensure they are staying warm enough.
  • Maintain a constant trickle of water with little-used faucets when temperature drop very low.

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