Water damage affects thousands of Floridians each year. According to Olympus Insurance; since 2010, the frequency and severity of water damage loss claims specifically those caused by broken or leaky pipes has increased by 46%. Such problems are often hidden and don’t come to light until the leak is discovered – by which time the damage can be extensive.
In the ‘90s, slow leaks caused by small cracks in pipes or hoses, or water damage caused by steam leaks or humidity over time, were generally not excluded from coverage. Today, however, in many cases insurance companies place restrictions and limits on their coverage of water damage claims caused over time periods exceeding 14 days. The language used in insurance policies is extremely important, which is why it is vital to read your potential policy carefully and ask your agent to explain any exclusions or restrictions. Language describing coverage for hidden water damage changed steadily over the past 25+ years.
Over the past 5 years, the restrictions on hidden water damage claims in Florida became even more defined. If mold is present or the leak can be proven to have been in existence for 14 days or more without a fix or resolution, many policies exclude the damage from coverage.
A way you can help avoid significant water damage is to use every tool at your disposal to help protect your home and conduct regular home inspects specifically to identify hidden damage. (Cavalry Public Adjusters provide this service FREE of charge).
Common Signs of Hidden Water Damage
- Peeling wallpaper or wavy, raised lines in paint – If water happens to leak behind a wall, it may result in raised, wavy lines or cause the wallpaper adhesive to peel.
- Baseboards/trim separating from the wall – Prolonged exposure to water may cause swelling, which may push the baseboard from their flush placement against the wall.
- Unusual swelling in manufactured wood furniture – Water may cause wood furniture to swell if spills are not cleaned up in a timely fashion.
- Areas of darkened grout on tile floors – If the grout in your bathroom tile is darker around the toilet, it’s likely that the toilet seal is leaking.
- Inexplicable moisture in carpet or other flooring – If a pipe ruptures in your concrete slab, it can slowly lead to warped floor boards, cracked tile or damp carpet if the right amount of water is soaked up by the under-padding.
- Blotches of condensation on ceilings or “sweating walls.” – A common sign that excessive moisture is festering behind the walls. This can be caused by a leak or a mixture of high humidity, poor ventilation and/or inadequate insulation.
- Mold in corners or on walls/ceilings – The presence of mold or mildew is a solid sign that the area has been exposed to water and the right amount of humidity for at least 48 hours.
- Watermarks or brownish, rusty stains on ceilings – Yes, those ceiling marks & stains commonly seen in office buildings are a sign of a previous or existing leak.
- Swollen door casing or door alignment – Are you suddenly having trouble closing or opening a door? A water leak may be at fault.
Be proactive when it comes to your home insurance, and find a policy that can help you protect your home and your finances in the case of hidden water damage. Call Cavalry Public Adjusters: 305-898-7562 for a FREE home inspection and review your policy. http://www.cavalrypublicadjusters.com firstname.lastname@example.org