Insights on Insurance: Water damage coverage
Here it is, another July morning with street after street in Euclid (as well as our neighbors to the east) lined with household goods, destroyed by wet basements and water backups. Seven years ago in 2006, we experienced seven inches of rain in about five hours. This year’s storm produced 4 inches of rain in one hour, with totals ranging from 4 – 7 inches. The result is the same: discouragement, frustration, anger, and personal loss.
Many people called their insurance company or agent to inquire if they had coverage for their loss. Some were happy to learn that their policies had the water backup endorsement, while others were quite disappointed, to say the least, when they learned they did not have the proper water backup endorsement. Perhaps now is a good time to find out exactly how you are covered. These ‘hundred year floods’ are occurring much more frequently than one in a hundred years!
Most homeowner insurance policies exclude water damage caused by backed up sewers, drains, and failed sump pumps. This exclusion can be ‘bought back’ via a water backup endorsement. The endorsement generally can be "basic" which would cover clean-up, water extraction, drying, and repairing damage to the home itself: walls, flooring, and appliances, such as, furnace, hot water tank, washer, and dryer, or it could be a "broad" endorsement which would extend to cover loss to personal articles, such as furniture, area rugs, along with the normal "stuff" that people keep in their basements.
In any event, it would be wise to always remember that a basement is a basement and will always be vulnerable to water issues, either coming from inside or outside. Storing items on shelves or in water proof tubs is a good way to protect one’s ‘stuff’. Also, a call to your agent to discuss your coverages and options would be an excellent plan of attack before the next time we get soaked.
Past Chairman/Treasurer, Euclid Chamber of Commerce; President, Board of Trustees, Euclid Public Library; Agency Principal, Nationwide Insurance Company; Euclid Resident