98% of homes will suffer water damage at least once. And each year, one in 60 homes files a claim for ice or water damage. The average insurance claim for this type of damage was over $12,500, and the losses from these events total roughly $20 billion annually in the U.S.
These numbers do not include flood damage, which is considered different from water damage by insurers. Flooding from a natural source of water happens several times per year in many counties. Over the past 24 years, even the driest counties in Texas experienced over a dozen floods. The most populous counties had hundreds of flooding events, from Harris County's 134 floods to Bexar County's 215 floods. The average loss from flood damage in Texas during this period was $54,200.
Water does more than soak your possessions. It can:
Depending on the source of the water, it may even contaminate your home and possessions with raw sewage. As a result, you may need to start over with another home and new belongings.
Insurers divide water damage into three types, each requiring different types of insurance coverage.
These three categories are:
Water damage results from water originating on your property.
Common causes of water damage claims include:
Flood damage comes from a water source off your property and requires a separate flood insurance policy.
Common causes of flood damage include:
Sewage backup happens when you suffer a broken pipe or clog in your sewage system or sewer main line. You may need to add sewage backup insurance to your homeowner's policy if it's not already on it.
Some types of water damage claims you can make under your home insurance policy include:
If water damages a covered structure on your property, the insurance company should pay to repair it. For example, suppose water soaked your drywall and caused it to disintegrate. If you have a legitimate claim, the insurance company will pay the replacement cost of the drywall, minus any deductible.
However, water damage coverage does not necessarily pay to repair whatever damaged component that may be the source of the water. Therefore, you probably wouldn't be able to get insurance to pay for a new water heater if a water leak in the old appliance caused the water damage.
Within a few days after getting soaked, your drywall, wood frame, and flooring can show visible signs of mold and mildew growth. You can include the cost of mold removal in the claim under your homeowner's insurance policy.
Your personal property includes everything in your home that could get damaged by water, from electronic devices to photo albums. Just keep in mind that your insurance company does not pay for sentimental value; it only pays the actual cash value of your belongings.
If you have a commercial property insurance policy, you may have business interruption loss coverage. Business interruption claims can come from any source, from fire damage to flood damage — therefore, it does not have to come from damage caused by water to your business premises or equipment. If the insurance company determines your insurance policies cover the business interruption, you can get compensation up to the policy limits until you can reopen.
Water damage claims are complex insurance issues. Contact our experienced water damage claim lawyer for a free initial consultation to discuss your case.
Homeowners' and renters' policies cover sudden, accidental, and significant releases of water on the insured property.
"Sudden" means the water did not result from gradual leaks that could have been fixed. Instead, it must happen in a short timeframe that did not give you reasonable time to attempt a repair.
"Accidental" means the water was not the result of an intentional action. Thus, home insurance will probably cover damage if you accidentally break a sprinkler pipe while digging in your yard. However, it will not cover damage if you intentionally open the drain valve on your water heater so you can use the water to wash your basement floors.
"Significant" means enough water was released to damage the property. Just remember that even an inch of water can cause serious damage when mold develops.
Every claim is unique and will depend on your property's value and the extent of your damage.
To give you an idea of the kinds of costs you can recover, here are a few common successful claims:
To file your claim under your homeowners' or commercial property owners' insurance, you must:
After an adjuster investigates your claim, you will receive a settlement offer. However, insurance offers are almost always below your actual losses — after all, the primary goal of an insurer is to protect their bottom line, no matter how much it hurts you. The less money they have to pay out in claims, the more profit they retain. This is why it's so important to work with a reputable water damage attorney. Your lawyer will hold the insurer to its legal duties and fight for a fair outcome.
Our lawyers will negotiate for a better offer by presenting evidence and legal arguments. They'll also monitor the insurer for bad faith practices like refusing to negotiate or failing to conduct a good faith investigation. Ultimately, they will work with you to recover a fair insurance settlement based on the policy language.
Steps we take to help our clients include:
We take the burden of dealing with insurers off your shoulders and put it on ours.
We have experience handling water damage cases for homeowners and commercial property owners.
We understand the trauma of losing your belongings and work for a fair outcome.
We provide regular updates and make ourselves available to answer any questions.
We charge a contingency fee, so you don't pay unless we win or settle.
We work with you in the language you are most comfortable speaking.
Want to hear more about how we help and what we do? Don’t just take our word for it. Read our real client reviews and testimonials - and see videos from our real former clients.
Mr. Ochoa was able to help us after a hurricane get us more for our property damage. Also great friendly staff was able to answer all questions!!!
First time getting a lawyer for an accident, Omar Ochoa Lw firm was very helpful in providing clear instructions and information to help me battle my motor vehicle case. I would highly recommend.
I am highly recommending Omar Ochoa law firm. We had damage to our roof and were not satisfied with our insurance. Got recommended to Mr Ochoa he really did all he Could to help us get enough to repair our roof. Staff are also very friendly and helpful. This currently helps to feel welcome. Again I highly recommend if you are looking for help with roof repair and you were not satisfied with your insurance reimbursement
Omar Ochoa Law Firm represents clients throughout the state. We provide personalized services to help you recover from a water disaster, all while providing the resources of a large law firm.
Water damage can be devastating, and you should be able to expect an insurer to help you recover. Our team fights for fair settlements of property damage claims. Contact us for a free, no-obligation case review.
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Water damage typically falls under your homeowner's or commercial property owner's insurance policy. This coverage does not usually cover:
In Texas, the most significant of these is flood damage. Many homeowners don't realize this, and when they go to file a claim, they find out too late that they must have a separate flood policy. So make sure you check your policy to determine whether you bought flood coverage.
First, get to a safe place and take steps to prevent injury or death, like calling an electrician.
Next, remember that your policy probably requires the property owner to mitigate any damage from the water. So if a water pipe breaks, you probably need to shut off the water supply to the home and call a plumber.
Finally, you should document what happened and the resulting damage, then contact your insurer to begin a claim.
Flood damage typically comes from a natural source like rain. However, it can also come from manmade sources like a broken water main. An ordinary homeowner's insurance policy does not cover flood damage. Instead, you need a flood damage insurance policy.
First, take photos of everything. You should also make a list of everything that was damaged, then determine the replacement or repair cost of each item. You can do this with receipts or repair estimates. Finally, document any amounts you paid to mitigate the losses and get temporary housing.
Your insurance company will likely make a low offer and maybe even deny your claim. First, review the offer or rejection to ensure you understand the given justification. You can then review your policy to determine whether the insurer's reasoning was correct. If you think the insurer is wrong or cannot determine whether the insurance company made a fair decision, you should speak to a lawyer.