Water Damage vs Flood Damage: What’s the Difference?

Water damage isn't a problem anyone wants to have. Regardless of the cause, a homeowner often has to repair or replace everything water touches. This may include structural components of the home as well as personal possessions. Depending on the degree of water damage, it may be possible to restore some items. In other cases, it simply isn’t feasible. Even in the best of circumstances, dealing with water damage is stressful for the homeowner. It can also be extremely expensive, especially without the right kind of insurance.

The Difference Between Water Damage and Flood Damage

Most people have a tendency to think that the two terms can be used interchangeably. In reality, they are very different from one another. Water damage includes any type of damage occurring to the home as a direct result of exposure to an excessive amount of water. Flood damage, on the other hand, occurs when the home and its contents are damaged because of a flooding event.

Drywall Removal after Bathroom Flood

What Causes Water Damage?

One of the more common reasons homeowners experience water damage involves various plumbing or pipe issues. Water damage can occur when a toilet or sink backs up, a pipe or hot water heater bursts, or a bathtub overflows. Although less common in warmer Central Texas, it can also happen as the result of pipes that freeze and break during cold weather. Depending on the location of the break and how long the pipe is broken before someone finds it, the resulting water damage can be severe. Any water damage experienced on an upper floor of the home can have even more devastating consequences. When the second floor floods, the lower levels of the home are likely to experience water damage.

Can Water Damage Happen from Other Causes?

Water damage doesn’t always occur because of plumbing problems within the home. Water damage often occurs as a result of events in nature. Heavy rains can cause water damage without causing flood damage. If the roof of the home is damaged and rainwater gets into the house, it is typically considered water damage, not flood damage. This is something that confuses a lot of people and it’s easy to understand why. The key difference is the event which caused the damage, in this case, a storm. Unless that storm resulted in a flood, the damage to the home is then considered water damage.

Water Damage as a Result of Fire

Water damage is frequently present when you experience a fire. If a fire breaks out in the home, homeowners must deal with damage from the fire and water damage that occurs when the fire is put out. In this case, it’s highly likely that significant water damage will occur in portions of the home that were not damaged by the fire. This is especially true if there was a fire on an upper floor, as the water ends up trickling down onto everything under the section of the home damaged by fire.

What Causes Flood Damage?

Things can get interesting when it comes to defining exactly what constitutes flood damage. Generally speaking, it involves water damage to the home as a direct result of a flooding event. In other words, it has to rain enough to create either an aerial flooding event or a flash flood. That water then has to enter the home and cause damage for it to be considered flood damage. Typically, this happens when a storm occurs that produces heavy rainfall in a short period of time. However, it can also happen when a dam or levee breaks, effectively sending a cascade of water into the surrounding community

Isn’t It All Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance?

Anyone who has ever made the mistake of believing that regular homeowner’s insurance would cover flood damage has been in for an unpleasant surprise. Homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage. While it does typically cover water damage, it will not pay for expenses related to flood repair. Again, it’s imperative to remember as far as insurance is concerned, flood repair and water damage repair are two entirely different things. In order to have coverage for damages in a flood, the homeowner must have a separate flood insurance rider. In some cases, it’s necessary to obtain a separate policy.

Water Damage Insurance

Water damage insurance routinely exists most homeowner's policies. In fact, it’s one of the primary reasons people have insurance in the first place, along with fire damage. The truth is, almost everyone will experience water damage at one point or another. Depending on the severity of the damage and how long it takes to discover and control the source of the water, the situation may be minor. It’s always best to leave the decision up to the professionals who routinely repair this type of damage. Neglecting to take care of water damage promptly can result in additional damage to the home. It may also cause the growth of mold spores, which can be extremely harmful when inhaled. Even if it looks like the damage is negligible, there may be a lot going on that can’t be seen. That’s why it’s so important to seek professional water damage repair.

Flood Damage Insurance

Things get a bit more complicated where flood insurance is concerned. Depending on the exact location of the home and its construction, it may be possible to simply add a rider to the existing insurance policy that provides flood insurance. In this case, the homeowner needs to pay attention to any clauses that may be written into the policy or the rider. It’s also imperative to know the amount of coverage provided as well as the deductible that will be required, as these amounts are often different from the amounts listed for routine water damage. If the home is found to be in or near a flood plain, the homeowner may have trouble finding flood insurance. In this case, the insurance can often be prohibitively expensive, forcing many to forego this type of coverage.

Water Damage Restoration

It is crucial to choose a professional company that has experience in dealing with water damage and water damage restoration. Total Restoration of Texas is well versed in repairing and restoring sections of the home that the homeowner usually can't get to. This includes the inside the walls, crawl spaces and, places where water damage can hide for weeks or months before a problem is noticed.

Flood Damage Restoration

As far as the restoration process is concerned, the process isn’t much different from water damage restoration. Regardless of how the damage occurred, it’s still the same kind of physical damage. The big difference here is that unless the homeowner has valid flood insurance, there may not be any money provided by the insurance company to cover the cost of repairs.

Does Everyone Really Need Flood Insurance?

People sometimes get in the habit of thinking they don’t need flood insurance, especially if they live in an area where flooding is highly unlikely. They also tend to believe flood insurance doesn’t apply to them when they have a home that sits at the top of a rather large hill or is built up several feet off the ground. The truth is, you may go a lifetime and never experience flood damage to your home. However, any home can flood if the event in question is severe enough. The good news is that flood insurance is typically easy to shop for and purchase. The less likely a house is to flood, the easier it is to buy a policy. It also tends to cost far less to buy flood insurance for homes that aren't at risk of a flood.

Is Flood Insurance Affordable?

As previously mentioned, it all comes down to the location of the home. In some cases, it’s very affordable and in others, it can be quite costly. Since homeowners typically have to keep a flood insurance policy in force until the home is paid off, it’s imperative to learn whether or not the house sits in a flood plain before buying it. Otherwise, the homeowner may be in for an unpleasant surprise later on down the road.

Water Damage Repair and Restoration

Even when the amount of damage is significant, it’s possible to get the homeowner back inside the home in a relatively short amount of time. Once the damage has occurred, the homeowner contacts a reputable, local water damage restoration company who works with your insurance company. Once the wheels have been put into motion, the repair and restoration process can begin almost immediately. The faster the process is started, the less likely it is that additional damage will be significant.

No one likes the idea of having their home damaged, especially if the damage is severe enough to warrant living elsewhere until repairs are completed. That being said, having the right insurance provides much more than mere peace of mind. It ensures that when damage does occur, Total Restoration of Texas can be there in about an hour,  24-hours a day, 7-days a week. This could be the difference between saving the home and its contents or being forced to gut a room or section and start over.

Flooded? Let us handle the mess

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We restore flood-damaged homes and offices in these Austin-area communities:

  • Austin
  • Buda
  • Cedar Park
  • Georgetown
  • Kyle
  • Lakeway
  • Leander
  • Lockhart
  • New Braunfels
  • Pflugerville
  • Round Rock
  • San Marcos