Prevention is Key
Water damage is the most common type of home damage and accounts for about 25 percent of all insurance claims. While a typical homeowners’ insurance policy will cover water damage caused by defects inside the home, flooding caused by an outside source—say a rising river or overflowing storm drain—must be dealt with by a separate flood insurance policy. Homeowners are always encouraged to have separate flood insurance in areas where there is the potential of flooding.
Prevention and maintenance can drastically reduce the possibility of water intrusion in a home. Periodically inspect for leaks, cracks, or water stains in bathrooms and kitchens. Keep gutters clean to make sure water flows away from the home and is not impeded by debris. Check that outside walls and foundations have not developed any cracks where water could seep in. Locate and label the shut-off valves to the water supply for the home before being faced with an emergency. Also, create an “emergency file,” with copies of critical documents, including your insurance policy and agent’s contact information, an inventory of your possessions with photos and any other documentation, and receipts for any major purchases. Store these copies in a waterproof container in the home, and place the originals in a safe-deposit box or other secure off-site location.