Finding flood and water damage in your home is a devastating realization – particularly when extensive. But it’s more than just the emotional shock of seeing your home and belongings damaged. There’s also a significant financial impact too.
You are left wondering: how much does a water leak cost to fix? What about restoration? What will this do to your home value?
Water damage is amongst the top causes of home insurance claims. In fact, one in fifty insured homes files a water damage or freezing claim every year, according to the Insurance Information Institute.
Nor are such damages cheap. Filing a water damage insurance claim can often lead to costs of hundreds or even thousands of dollars. Claims must consider the size and scope of the task, as well as the cost of water removal, the cleanup cost, mitigation, ventilation, decontamination, and specifics, like slab leak repair costs.
During the process of making a claim, you need to assess the cost of the flood and water damage. Insurance companies may rely on water damage mitigation software, that works like a water damage repair cost calculator, and it can cover water mitigation, remediation, and restoration management. Some software will generate all the water damage restoration paperwork to get started with your claim. But what determines such costs? And why does the price go up or down?
As we’ve mentioned, the scale of the damage will naturally impact the repair costs. The longer the water damage has been occurring, and the material damaged can raise or lower the price. The location flooded will also impact your water damage insurance claim.
Replacing key structural elements or expensive fittings, like hardwood floors, will significantly raise the price of repairs. Slab leaks, for example, occur when a water pipe leaks under a concrete slab foundation. This has implications for the structural underpinnings of a house. Therefore, slab foundation leak repair costs can run to between $2,000 to $6,000, depending on materials and labor, in addition to a $150 to $400 initial inspection that covers slab leak detection cost. While drywall and stucco remediation cost for a 2x2 feet square patch should cost significantly less.
Other factors affecting the repair cost include the type of water damage – clean water, gray water, or black water – as that will determine if sewage cleanup is also needed.
You will also need to decide how you want to restore your home. Do you want to use new materials or restore your home to its original condition with older materials? Do you use wood or acrylic? Wallpaper or paint? Each decision will lead to the repair cost going up or down.
Most of your water damage insurance claims will be made under a traditional homeowners insurance policy. Such policies cover repairs for an unexpected and accidental water leak, like burst pipes or a broken dishwasher. Specific policies differ on the level and scope of their payouts. It may cover the cost to repair the damage. However, homeowners’ policies generally don’t cover:
You may also need a separate insurance policy for floods. Homeowners can purchase specific flood insurance policies via the National Flood Insurance Program. Be mindful of the deductible on your home policy. This is the amount you must pay before you receive a payout. The deductible can change depending on the type of water damage.
Typically, this should not be a challenge if your insurance policy covers water damage. If ever there is some challenges in claiming the right amount for the damage, and your insurer tries to refuse payment, as a water insurance claim tip, you can always hire an independent insurance adjuster to negotiate on your behalf.
On average, homeowners in the United Stated pay between $1,000 and $5,000 to restore and repair water damage in their homes. Due to the scale of the event, flooding typically causes substantially more damage and incurs much higher costs. For example, the standard cost of gray water extraction with drying and drywall and ceiling repairs in a bathroom is around $3,000. In comparison, the cost for black water extraction from a basement due to sewer backup can reach $20,000.
But not all costs are so high. A simple problem like an overflowing toilet may not even exceed your deductible, being as low as $150.
A good insurance deal offers comprehensive coverage at a reasonable price. Balancing these factors is part of the process. Is an outdoor source of water damage likely? How much are you willing to save for higher deductibles? Just remember, you don’t want to file a water damage insurance claim only to realize you’re not covered.
In contrast, a bad insurance deal is one with exceedingly high premiums and little to no coverage. Be sure to clarify any confusing terminology between water and flood damage. Has it been made clear exactly what is covered under the policy? For instance, will a slab leak repair cost count as an outside or inside problem? What standard of maintenance is needed to meet the policy requirements?
Some policies also emit leaking toilets and roofs from the coverage. Or distinguish between accidental, sudden or gradual water damage. Gradual water damage, for example, is not usually covered – you can check with your broker.
Notwithstanding natural disasters, if you find yourself with a bad insurance deal, if they just won’t pay out for a slab leak repair, you can always turn to the insurance commissioner to provide further clarification. And there are consumer advocacy groups available in most regions.
Performing regular maintenance on your home every fall and spring is critical to preventing serious damage. It can also bring down your premiums. Plus, proving you’ve done the necessary work should help at when filing a claim.
Make sure to fully inspect all documents and choose the best insurance policy for your property. You can also ask about any extra coverages that may be useful – like flooding policies if you live near a significant body of water.
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