If water makes its way in your basement or crawlspace, you need to take action fast. Particularly in basements or other heated spaces, water can cause mold, mildew, rot, and other damage very quickly if it is not promptly and properly removed.
Causes of water infiltration
Water can make its way into your home from a variety of sources, including but not limited to any of these common causes:
- Ruptured plumbing or sewer line;
- Groundwater making its way through a foundation or other entry point;
- This can result from pour drainage or a high groundwater table:
- Plugged downspout or storm water line;
- Diversion of water from neighboring property;
- Roof leak, window leak, or other entry point leading to water making its way down the wall to the lower level.
Effect of water infiltration
By the time you see a wet carpet, staining on the sheetrock, or other evidence of water infiltration in your basement or other habitable living space, you may already have water damage that requires tearing out portions of the house, to limit the spread of mold and ensure a comprehensive repair is done.
Even water in a crawlspace can cause damage to the habitable areas, because that moisture can transpire – migrate – into the habitable spaces above. Here is a good example:
The water in this crawlspace is 15” deep, due to pour drainage around and under the home:
As a result, the heated rooms above are like a greenhouse, with moisture showing on the inside of the windows:
Should you file a claim with your homeowner’s insurance?
Just as the water in your house needs to be addressed quickly, you also need to quickly decide whether to make a claim under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Here are some things to consider:
- Many policies exclude groundwater, seepage, and leakage. So if you’re going to make a claim, it is very important to understand how to present a claim in such a way to maximize the likelihood of coverage.
- A claim history, particularly one involving water, will go into the CLUE database shared by all insurers, and that may affect your future insurance premiums and even prevent or at least hamper someone from buying your house in the future, depending on which insurer they use.
- A significant delay in making your claim after the loss may give the insurer grounds for denying coverage based on “prejudice.”
- Your damages recoverable under your insurance policy may include not just repair costs but “loss of use” damages, which we explain in this short video:
- And if your personal property is damaged, you may be entitled to compensation as well. Look at this basement with several inches of water that damaged furniture and musical equipment.
Do Not Delay!
Given the many possible causes of water intrusion, the extensive damage including unseen conditions, and the intricacy and risks related to an insurance claim, it is almost always a good idea to contact legal counsel with experience handling insurance claims, and have them review your loss and your insurance policy immediately. They may urge you to hire an expert, or to have them meet with the adjuster, or to forego making a claim at all. Take fast action to protect your rights and minimize the risk of an unnecessary hike in your insurance premiums after a loss. Call 206.626.5444.