Extra Winter Causing Uninsured Water Damage

Late winter weather has lasted well into what would normally be spring. The extra snow, rain and mixed precipitation have caused water damage headaches for many home owners. Unfortunately, this type of water damage isn’t generally covered by home insurance. In fact, it’s rarely even possible to pay extra to get coverage for such losses.

While home insurance policies cover many types of water damage, they typically do not cover seepage of water that comes from runoff or from an elevated water table. Runoff has been the main culprit this spring, especially for people who live on hillsides where water comes from above. Adding to the problem has been the presence of frost in the ground which causes water to run rather than soak in.

The insurance industry’s rationale for the exclusion is that such losses are largely preventable. When these losses occur, it’s often because the home was built in a place where inevitable problems might have been foreseeable and precautions in design and construction were not taken to prevent water from seeping in. It’s also likely that this type of home will have recurring problems.

A crack in a basement wall or floor is often a factor. Even when people don’t build on a slope, rain and melting snow can saturate the ground near the foundation and get in through the breach.

People often ask if a separate flood insurance policy is the solution. Unfortunately, it is not. This type of damage usually doesn’t meet the flood insurance requirement that the loss be caused by the overflow of a body of water.

So what’s a home owner to do? We suggest getting the thoughts of landscaping and/or waterproofing contractors on how to solve the problem. Otherwise it’s likely the problem will happen every time similar wet conditions exist.