If you're new to the Lone Star State, you are probably witnessing for the first time the identity crisis that is known from the panhandle to the southern coastal tip as Texas Weather.
If you are a long-term Texas resident, you know the drill. After a major weather event, we pick up and move on knowing there is always another storm to-be-named-later which will have us talking once again.
But, not without a few scars to show for it.
Things are much bigger in Texas, even unprecedented winter storms wreaking havoc on an electricity grid.
Prolonged freezing temperatures, lack of preparation, and unforeseen power outages have created a fair share of bursting exterior and interior pipes. Many Texans are wondering if they have enough insurance to cover the water damage.
Know Before the Flow
It's important to know what coverage you have before you have to suddenly run to the water main box and dig through the mud to turn the valve off.
If you have a sudden pipe burst that isn't due to a lack of maintenance, your home insurance policy is normally going to cover that unforeseen event.
The key here is sudden and accidental. Failure to take proper precautions such as letting your water drip and insulating exterior pipes may wind up keeping you from receiving a payout of a claim.
Also, failure to stop the water leakage after you detect it could also cause your insurance carrier to disallow your claim.
Both of the situations above fall into the category of what your insurance carrier will note as negligence, or failure to keep your home in a proper state of maintenance.
It's Not a Flood
While it may seem like the right description when your spouse posts "Our house is flooding" in Facebook after a burst pipe, it's critical that you do not use this term with your insurance carrier.
In this situation, you are dealing with water damage. Flooding is usually not covered by your standard home insurance policy. Calling water damage a flood will cause confusion with your insurance carrier and most likely help you wind up with an unpaid claim or delayed claim payment after sorting out the details of the event.
Do You Have Enough Coverage?
What we are seeing on a massive scale is a lot of homeowners caught unaware due to the freezing conditions. Will their insurance claims be paid? Possibly. The damage will have to be significant enough and cost more to fix than the deductible paid by the homeowner. An insurance adjustor will show up to inspect the damage and ask questions to determine if the damage was due to negligence or sudden and unexpected.
This is the normal routine for burst pipes.
That's only one scenario causing Texas claims for water damage to rank #2 behind windstorm/hail damage.
Seepage and leakage, sewer backup, foundation leaks, and flooding from the outside in are usually not standard covered items by your home insurance policy. At the same time, this doesn't mean this coverage can't be added to provide that extra insulation from water damage.
Texas homeowners know it's not if but when the gremlins come calling to cause something wrong within and around the structure of your home. Water continues to prove over and over, whether in fluid or frozen form, to cause extensive damage to homes across the state.
At Insurance For Texans, we can help you know more about your water coverage on your policy than you'll ever want to know. As an independent insurance agency located near Grapevine in the Dallas/Fort Worth area, we have access to a variety of carriers with policies that can provide basic coverage and extended coverage as necessary. It doesn't matter where you live in the state. We can help you.
Don't get caught again wondering if you have enough insurance coverage for water damage. We can help you answer that in the affirmative.
Stay covered, Texas. And stay warm, too.