Search phrases such as “water damage” and “flood damage” are often used interchangeably by homeowners and other non-industry professionals. However, in this short article I want to highlight 2 key factors your insurance company is likely to use when determining coverage.
Water damage like flood damage is a very broad term & includes any situation where water or moisture causes damage to tangible goods or property. Both water damage & flood damage can originate from acts of nature or system failures within dwellings and other properties, such as vehicles. For example, leaving your window open during heavy rains can cause water damage to your window seal. In the same way, a hole in your roof may cause water damage, but not necessarily cause enough water damage to be classified as a flood.
The amount of water in an effected space is the first key factor in classifying a project as a water damage or flood. Every flood is a water damage, but not every water damage is a flood. In general, if there is enough standing water to saturate the entire floor area of a room, that room is flooded. If standing water covers only a section of a room, that room has a water damage, but is not flooded.
For most insurance carriers, the major distinction between a water damage and a flood damage is the source of the loss. In other words, is the source of the flood a natural disaster or is the source a system failure, such as a failed sump pump or busted pipe. If the flood water source is a water intrusion originating outside of the property, your insurance company is likely to consider that a flood. This point is important to understand because flood coverage like mold coverage, is not typically included in most home/business owners’ insurance policies.
Within the damage restoration industry, water damage is defined as any water that causes the unusefulness, or future use or value of any property to become impaired by water. Water damage restoration is defined as the act or process of restoring & is not complete until property brought back to a pre-loss condition. Therefore, a flood is simply a larger water damage, but for insurance purposes, floods are water intrusions originating on the outside of a structure and intrude indoors.