Dealing with a leaking basement is far from fun. If you have homeowner’s insurance on your side, however, it’s a little easier. While your insurance provider may not cover every leak that threatens your home, there are some that they’re more likely to honor than others.
Why Is Your Basement Leaking?
Before diving into the complexities of insurance, however, you may find yourself asking: why is the basement leaking in the first place?
Your basement can start leaking for all sorts of reasons. It’s rare, however, for one big event to crack open your structural supports. More often than not, several small events will come together to put stress on your supports. As that stress – called hydrostatic pressure – builds up, cracks can develop in your basement walls and foundation, letting additional water in.
What kind of events lead to a cracked or leaking basement? The most common ones include:
- Unstable foundation
- Poor grading
- Leaking pipes
- Clogged drains
When Can Home Insurance Help?
The good news is that there are some leaks that your homeowner’s insurance can help you fix, as long as you file a claim within a reasonable amount of time. The water damage claims that are most commonly approved by insurance providers detail leaks caused by:
- Leaking water heaters
- Broken or burst pipes
- Piping problems
- Large appliance malfunctions
Note, too, that most insurance providers are willing to go the extra mile when your home’s been damaged by a large appliance. To start, they’ll recommend that you reach out to the company that manufactured the appliance. If you’re still within warranty, you should be able to get help from the manufacturer while looking to replace your appliance.
If you’re outside of the warranty, however, your insurance provider may be able to step in. As long as they’ve chosen to honor your claim, you can receive financial compensation for home repairs involving water damage and a replacement appliance, be that in adequate funds to purchase a new one or a new one outright.
What Leaks Won’t Your Insurance Protect You From?
Unfortunately, your homeowner’s insurance may not be able to cover all instances of leaks in your home. Insurance providers typically prefer to work within predictable boundaries. This means you’ll need something like disaster coverage or a comprehensive plan to protect your home from leaks that aren’t caused by appliances or burst pipes.
While each insurance provider is different, you’ll find that claims regarding the following leak sources are often denied:
- Environmental leaks – As mentioned, insurance providers prefer to be able to cover events they can predict. If you live in Raleigh, NC, for example, and you have to ride out a hurricane, your basement leakage may not be covered unless you have disaster coverage lined up in advance.
- Weather-related leaks – In a similar vein, claims regarding leaks that have formed because of poor weather are also frequently denied. Why? Because even though North Carolina has its fair share of rainy weather, most insurance providers won’t be able to or won’t want to try and predict how much rain could cause your home to leak. Because of the unpredictable nature and natural source of the leak, you could be on your own when it comes to repairs.
- Seepage – Most insurance providers are also reluctant to help homeowners with seepage. How’s seepage different from a leak? Seepage does see water enter your home, but it often comes after a serious drought. Consider this: when your lawn goes without water for an extended period of time, the soil particles will reduce in size. When it does finally rain, those particles won’t be able to absorb as much water as they normally would. As such, homes that are usually watertight may see some seepage. However, because this seepage is natural and unpredictable, you may not be able to file a claim to help you pay for repairs.
Even if you think your claim may be denied, don’t hesitate to reach out to your insurance provider if you’re dealing with water damage in your home. It’s always better to ask for help than to try and tackle water damage repairs on your own. While you’re waiting to hear back, be sure to get in touch with the professional basement repair contractors operating in your area. They’ll be able to inspect your home and offer you a free quote on services.
Once you’ve heard back from your insurance provider, you’ll be able to better negotiate payment with your contractor. From there, it won’t be long before you can take back your home.