Being in Florida, the most dreaded natural disaster are hurricanes. Although hurricanes can be predicted early on, once it impacts land, the devastation that awaits cannot be foreseen. Despite what most people may believe, it is not the wind or flying objects that cause the most damage; it is the water, floods, and continuous rain during that season that produces not only the most damage to properties but the most deaths. Just two inches of water can cause a vehicle to drift away; powerful isn’t it? As a result of the extensive damage that water can create, claims for property damage during the peak season of hurricanes come in the thousands. With so many claims, many of them must get denied by the insurance companies because they don’t want to lose their profit. Just like criminal lawyers were created to prosecute and defend, public adjusters were invented to have a fair playing game against property insurance companies when the time came to file a claim.
Because it is the most common type of property damage present throughout the whole United States, water damage public adjusters are there to work alongside victims of these losses. Water damage can make your home inhabitable; it may destroy all of one’s belongings. The presence of water damage can leave underlying issues such as mold that can cause future health problems. Once an individual has suffered from water damage, it is critical that they contact an experienced water damage public adjuster that will be able to assess the full scope of their losses and even see if there are any underlying dangers present in their homes.
Categories of Water Damage Most Present Throughout Properties
Individuals who think about water damage within their properties may not see the whole picture. These individuals often believe just about roof leaks or flooding throughout their home, but that is not the case. Water/floods can affect multiple areas throughout a structure that can deteriorate the whole property itself. These are some types of water damage that are seen in cases of property damage claims:
- Pipes that are broken
- Leaky Roofs
- Backup in the sewage
- Broken washing machines
- Leaks in dishwashers
- Leaks in the toilet
- Loss of personal belongings
Water losses could be destructive and leave long-lasting effects in a person’s life, but the important thing is that it doesn’t take lives away. Sadly, every year, there are numerous individuals that become victims of water/floods, more specifically, drowning.
Common Ways that Water Damage Surfaces
Water damage in properties could occur due to a variety of circumstances. Some may be due to negligence, while others may be unstoppable like a natural disaster. These are some instances that could cause water damage in one’s home:
- Natural disasters; hurricanes, floods, water surge, non-stop rain, etc.
- Negligence; Sink being left on, windows of the home being left open when it is raining, broken roofs and broken appliances not being repaired, etc.
- Malicious acts; a home may be intentionally destroyed
Some water damage could be prevented, but others cannot. A disaster could strike at any moment, and the important thing is to secure one’s life before securing any property. A property could be replaced, but a life cannot be.
The Different Categories of Water Damage
When water is present in someone’s property, typically that damage will fall under a specific category. Those categories are used to determine what type of treatment and extent of damage was caused.
- Category #1: Category 1 in water damage is deemed to be “clean water,” meaning it does not pose a threat to anyone. Examples of this include, sink overflows, appliances like dishwaters that are broken, and more.
- Category #2: Category 2, also known as “gray water,” refers to water that may cause sickness because it has been contaminated. Some examples of this category include broken toilets, seepage, etc.
- Category #3: Category 3 is the worst type and most difficult to clean up. It is known as “black water.” It is often contaminated with extensive bacteria and can cause extreme health issues. Examples of this include sewage water leaking into homes or standing water that has become contaminated.
Determining which category an individual’s water losses fall under is essential to be able to acquire to correct treatment and repair of their homes. A skilled public adjuster that deals with water damage in Florida could analyze and determine the appropriate category that their client’s losses fall under.
What Water Damage Could do to Your Entire Home
Water damage that affects one area of your home may lead to multiple problems in the future; it becomes a domino effect. The water may cause foundation problems in your home that leads to it being uninhabitable due to the possible collapsing of the property. Or, your home may suffer severe water damage that is not noticed leading to your home being filled with mold, and that is especially dangerous for individuals suffering from respiratory problems such as asthma. In addition to the typical water damage, there is what is called “black water loss“(category3). Black water loss is coined as homes or businesses having contaminated water with chemical toxins or sewage debris that would need specific actions in order to ensure that no bacteria remains. With an experienced water public adjuster in Florida, they could address all of these issues. These are some ways that water damage could affect an entire property:
- Flooded Basements
- Roofs that leak water onto furniture
- Exterior water coming through walls or windows
- Flooded homes causing electrical problems and making the house extremely dangerous
- Water damage is so severe that it makes the structure of the home unstable
While many water damage issues may not cause the inhabitants to evacuate their homes, there are many water issues that could force these occupants to leave their homes in order to secure their health and lives. If a house is flooded with water, there may be electrical problems that could arise, and potentially electrocute an individual. For this reason, it is essential that any water damage is taken very seriously and that a professional is contacted before deciding to remain in the home.
Numbers on Water Damage
Claims on water damage have become among the most filed claims for property damage throughout the United States. The statistics below should highlight the severe problem of this nature:
- Second most common claim
- Loss from water damage has affected almost 40% of homeowners
- Prevention of water damage can occur in about 93% of cases
- A one-eight inch of a crack in a pipe is responsible for an estimated 250 gallons leak
- Water damage is the cause of 20% of insurance claims
- Water damage is the direct cause of billions of dollars in losses every year
Water Losses Frequently Asked Questions
- Question: Is it a flood loss when a flood surges in my home as a result of a water pipe that busted on the second floor?
Answer: The NFIP would not cover this loss because it is not considered to be a water loss.
- Question: Is it a flood loss when the water coming from the outside of my home is flooding and coming through?
Answer: Unless the definition of a flood is met by the NFIP, it would not be deemed as a flood loss.
- Question: Would water seeping through my walls be covered by my homeowner’s insurance policy?
Answer: Due to the fact that there may be exclusions for water that comes through walls, it may not be covered.
- Question: Is mopping and blowing out the water in a building sufficient to clean up the mess?
Answer: Definitely not. Water damage could present underlying problems that may not be seen by the eyes of those who are not experts in the field. It is best to consult with a knowledgeable public adjuster that could be able to determine the loss that is present specifically.
- Question: Would I have to pay out-of-pocket for replacement of repairs to my home if mold grew on the wet walls due to water damage even though I have limitation or mold exclusion?
Answer: Because the mold manifested as a result of the water damage, anything that manifests itself, as a result, would have to be removed. It would be considered a water loss because the mold was a consequence of the initial problem, which was the wet walls.
- Question: Building Property Coverage covers what specifically?
Answer: Every coverage is different, for this matter, it is important to speak with an expert public adjuster that would be able to define the specific coverage that the policyholder carries, but in general, these areas would be covered:
- The foundation and building that is insured
- The plumbing and electrical systems
- The water heaters, furnaces, and air conditioning
- Dishwashers, refrigerators, cooking stoves, and any other built-in appliance
- Carpeting that is permanently installed
- Window Blinds
- Cabinets, wallboards, bookcases, or paneling that has been permanently installed
- Up to 10% of coverage for detached garages
- A separate building property policy is needed for buildings that are detached other than garages
- The removal of debris
- Question: Under Personal Property coverage, what is typically covered?
Answer: Under this policy, there are multiple things covered including:
- Personal belongings like electronics, furniture, clothes, and more
- Mounted air conditioners
- Portable dishwashers, microwaves, and stoves
- Carpets that were not permanently installed
- Dryer and washer
- Food inside freezers and the freezer itself
- Up to $2,500 in valuable items like furs and artwork
- Question: How is value typically determined with flood damages?
Answer: When it comes to flood damages, there are two types of values placed: (1) Actual Cash Value (AVC) and Replacement Cost Value (RCV). Actual Cash value represents the value of the property at the moment that the loss occurred minus the physical depreciation value. Coming to determine the value of the property could be difficult because every year, property losses value, known as depreciation. For example, carpeting typically losses its value every year, up to 10 to 14%, but ACV is always used for personal property. (2) Replacement Cost Value (RCV) refers to any property cost that doesn’t have depreciation that needs to be replaced. In order to obtain this value, specific requirements must exist: must be single-home property, it has to be their primary residence ( they must live there a minimum of 80% of the time), and their coverage must cover at 80% of the loss.
Public Adjusters and Water Damage
As seen in this article, water damage could not only affect the property; it could change lives. A simple roof leak could cause ongoing issues. In addition, underlying matters could arise such as mold. It is crucial that any water loss that is experienced is made known to a water damage public adjuster in Florida. The correct steps and determining the category could only be determined by the expertise of a public adjuster. Their actions would help ensure that the effects of the water damage do not cause further harm.
Only their expertise can determine which category the water loss falls under and the correct steps to take in order to ensure that the damage is taken care of properly and that there are no possible consequences.
Do not wait and put yourself in harm’s way.