What Is Considered Water Damage?
Picture this: Your home endured a particularly heavy rain due to a tropical storm over the weekend and your roof and walls are damaged. If that wasn’t bad enough, your friend who lives 40 minutes away had water accumulate outside of his home, which made its way inside and caused indoor flooding.
While both problems are similar, they will not be dealt with in the same way.
If this surprises you, you are not alone. A lot of home- and business owners are shocked to discover that water and flood damage are two different types of problems. They are classified under different sets of insurance.
If your friend has homeowner’s insurance but not flood insurance, he will be out of luck when it comes to getting his insurance company to pay. Flood insurance does not encompass water damage, and homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage. That’s why most home and business owners must have both, especially when their properties are located in high-risk areas.
To clear up any confusion, we’ve created this guide on water damage. Read on to learn more about what it is and isn’t as well as ways you can prevent it from occurring in the first place!
What Is Considered Water Damage?
Water damage, though not well-understood, is certainly not uncommon. According to statistics from the attorneys at Arguello Hope & Associates, PLLC, 4 in 10 homeowners have experienced some sort of loss from this issue. The same source reported that more than 90% of it is preventable, however.
So, what is exactly considered water damage? In general, this problem can be defined as water that destroys the interior of your home. It can be caused by:
- Rain that gets through your roof and damages your ceiling and walls
- A hailstorm that breaks your windows and gets your floors wet
- A burst pipe that saturates your ceiling
- An overflowing toilet that soaks your bathroom floors
If your home has this kind of damage, you are likely wondering if your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover it. You need to review your individual policy for the specifics of your situation. In general, accidental events will be covered. However, any destruction caused by the negligence of repairs will usually not be covered.
What Is The Difference Between Water Damage And Flood Damage?
Although the general root of the two problems is similar, water and flood damage are not the same thing.
According to the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA), a flood meets any of the following conditions:
- An overflow of tidal or inland waters
- Rapid or otherwise unusual accumulation of surface waters from any source
A flood can also be defined as the resulting subsidence or collapse of a piece of land along a lake or another body of water.
In general, water damage occurs before water comes into contact with the ground. On the other hand, flood damage occurs because of excessive pooling on the outside of a building.
The destruction caused by a flood also usually affects two or more properties, whereas water damage usually happens to a single property.
While these generalizations ring true, you should not take them at face value. Always review your individual homeowner’s and flood insurance policies to get the coverage you’re entitled to.
What Are The Categories Of Water Damage?
Not all water damage is the same in terms of the degree of destruction. There are three different categories you should be aware of:
Category 1 is the least severe type of damage. It’s referred to as “clean” because it is free of toxins and sewage. It doesn’t pose any kind of health threat to humans.
Category 1 damage includes water from broken supply lines and pipes, as well as bathtubs and sinks that have overflowed. It can also result from various issues and leaks with dishwashers, washers, and other home appliances.
In most cases, items affected by Category 1 damage can be easily dried without long-term effects on homeowners’ health or properties.
Category 2, or “gray,” water damage is more severe than Category 1. It includes dirty water that comes from:
- Sump pump backups
- Washing machines
This category poses some health risks to humans, but they are not nearly as severe as the ones in Category 3.
Contaminated Category 2 liquid usually contains significant levels of chemicals, bacteria, and/or mold.
With this kind of destruction, the restoration technician who tends to your home will need to wear some kind of PPE, or personal protective equipment.
Category 3 is the most severe type of water damage. It’s described as “black” contamination, and it can present major consequences to human health.
It is incredibly unsanitary and contains toxins and disease-causing organisms. Liquid in Category 3 most often comes from a broken toilet bowl containing feces or sewer backflow.
This category also includes rising floodwaters with animal feces, lawn fertilizers, and tetanus and other diseases.
How to Prevent Water Damage
Flood damage is tricky to avoid, as it is almost always caused by natural disasters. You would need to take big measures to protect your home from flooding. These measures, like elevating and sealing your building, are costly and require a lot of time and resources to complete.
However, there are some simple tips you can follow to prevent water damage in your home:
- Inspect showers, tubs, and appliances regularly
- Know the location of your home’s main water shut-off valve and use it when necessary
- Check plumbing and heating pipes
- Inspect your roof for damaged shingles
- Install gutter guards and clean your gutters at least twice a year
Even mild cases of water damage can develop into something much more serious if they are not handled properly. Don’t risk waiting to get them addressed. Contact the experts at All Dry USA for professional help. We will evaluate your situation, fix the issue at hand, and help you file an insurance claim if applicable.
The restoration process doesn’t have to be confusing, and we do everything we can to make it as seamless as possible. Get in touch today!