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leak in the basement

Protecting Your Home From Leaks: Will Home Insurance Help?

When you find a leak in your basement or foundation, you want to know that you’re protected. Will your insurance provider cover the necessary repairs?

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Homeowner’s insurance is a tough topic to juggle, given its many complexities. If your home starts to leak, though, will you be able to rely on the protection you have to cover the cost of potential repairs?

The Causes Behind Basement Leaks

Many homeowners believe that it’s a single rainstorm or natural disaster that can cause a home to start leaking. Admittedly, this can be the case. However, it’s far more likely that the leak you may have found in your basement formed as a result of long-term, excessive stress.

Think of it this way: if your basement hasn’t been waterproofed, rainwater and snow run-off will be able to come into contact with your building materials at any point. As a result, your basement’s building blocks will both have more opportunity to erode and to physically react to that runoff’s cooler temperature. See, rainwater makes it more difficult for you to heat or cool your basement, regardless of whether it’s inside or outside your home. When rainwater starts to come into contact with your structural supports, it changes the temperature of those supports’ molecules. As a result, those supports’ molecules will rapidly constrict or expand, depending on their initial temperature.

When a material’s expanding and contracting more frequently than it should, it can start to crack. A crack means more potential for a leak, which means more exposure to water, and that means a greater risk of damage in your home.

This type of stress is known as “hydrostatic stress.” It isn’t, however, the only reason your basement may start to leak. Other reasons may include:

  • Unstable foundation
  • Poor grading
  • Leaking pipes
  • Clogged drains

What Basement Leaks Will Home Insurance Cover?

The good news is that if you have homeowner’s insurance, your policy should be able to help you pay for repairs if or when your basement starts to leak. That said, insurance companies are selective about what they’re willing to cover. More often than not, your insurance provider will be able to provide you with financial support if your basement starts to leak for any of the following reasons:

  • Leaking water heaters
  • Broken or burst pipes
  • Piping problems
  • Large appliance malfunctions

It’s worth noting that most insurance companies will recommend that you work within the bounds of an appliance warranty if it’s an appliance that’s caused your leak. This way, you can have that appliance replaced while also repairing any damage that’s been done to your home. That said, if your appliance is no longer covered by your warranty, your insurance may cover the cost of a replacement as well as the damage that’s been done to your home.

What Leaks Won’t Home Insurance Cover?

Most of the time, homeowner’s insurance covers leaks that are caused by appliances or problems with the home itself. When it comes to environmental or weather-related leaks, however, most insurance policies may not be able to provide you with the protection you need.

If you live in the D.C. area, be aware that your insurance provider could leave you on the hook for the following:

  • Environmental Leaks 

If your home has suffered flood damage due to a natural disaster, basic homeowner’s insurance could likely leave the cost of repairs to you. Most of their reasoning for this is based on the unpredictability of natural disasters. You may want to consider investing in either more comprehensive coverage or disaster coverage if you live in an area you think may compromise your home’s structural integrity.

  • Weather-Related Leaks 

Come late winter, spring, and fall, D.C. sees more than its fair share of rain. Unfortunately, if that rainwater gets up close and personal with your basement, you may have to deal with the aforementioned hydrostatic pressure – and the leaks that come with it. Because these leaks will have formed naturally, your homeowner’s insurance likely may not cover the cost of repairs.

  • Seepage

It’s not just rain that can cause your home to leak. If your area’s gone without rain for a while, the soil molecules around your home can start to shrink. When it does finally rain, these molecules won’t be able to absorb as much water as they normally would. As a result, you may see unexpected seepage in your basement. Again, because this is seen as a natural leak, many insurance companies might not accept claims filed to deal with seepage repair expenses.

Whether you’re covered for repairs or not, don’t let your concerns about cost keep you from reaching out to the professional basement repair contractors working in the D.C. area. After a free inspection and repair quote, you’ll have a better idea of what leak you’re working with and how you can go about managing repairs.

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