What’s the Difference Between Water Damage & Flood Insurance?

Water damage isn't a problem anyone wants to have. Regardless of the cause, a homeowner frequently must 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. Even in the best of circumstances, dealing with water damage is stressful for the homeowner. It can also be costly, especially without the right kind of insurance coverage.

The Difference Between Water Damage and Flood Damage

  • Water Damage: Usually caused by water that originates from plumbing, such as a burst pipe, a flooded toilet, or an overflowed washing machine.
  • Flood Damage: Usually caused by water that originates from storms or heavy rain events.

Many people think the terms water and flood damage can be used interchangeably. In reality, they are quite different from one another. In its simplest form, flood damage is usually caused by water that originates from storms or heavy rain events. Water damage is usually caused by water that originates from plumbing, such as a burst pipe, a flooded toilet, or an overflowed washing machine.

What Causes Water Damage?bathroom & plumbing

Homeowners often experience water damage as a result of a plumbing issue. Water damage also occurs when a toilet or washing machine backs up, a pipe or hot water heater bursts, or a bathtub overflows. Although not common in the warmer climate of Austin and Central Texas, it can also happen as a result of pipes freezing 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. Water damage or flooding on a second or attic can have even more devastating consequences. When the upper levels of a home flood, the other levels of the home are likely to experience water damage.

What about Water Damage from Storms or Rain?

What's the Difference Between Water Damage & Flood Insurance? 1

Water damage can also occur as a result of mother nature. Heavy rains can cause water damage without causing flood damage. If the roof of the home is damaged and rainwater leaks into the house, it is typically considered water damage, not flood damage. This is something that confuses many people and it’s easy to understand why. The key difference is the event which caused the damage, in this case, a storm.

Water Damage as a Result of Fire

Water damage is also present when you experience a fire. When a fire breaks out in the home, homeowners must deal with both the damage from the fire and from water damage that happens when the fire is put out. In this case, it’s common that water damage will occur in portions of the home not damaged by the fire. This is especially true if there was a fire on a second or third floor or an attic. The water trickles down to everything near the section of the home affected by the fire.

What Causes Flood Damage?

Defining what constitutes flood damage is a bit more complex. Generally speaking, flood damage is water damage to the home as a direct result of a flooding event. In other words, it must rain enough to create either a flooding event or a flash flood. The 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 This Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance?

It's common for people to believe their homeowner’s insurance will cover flood damage. Homeowner’s insurance does not cover flood damage. While your policy usually covers water damage, it will not pay for expenses related to a flood. 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 flood damage, a homeowner must have a separate flood insurance rider. In some cases, it’s necessary to obtain a separate flood policy.

Water Damage Insurance

Water damage insurance is routinely included in a homeowner's policy. In fact, it’s one of the primary reasons people have insurance in the first place. The truth is, almost everyone will experience water damage at some point in their life. 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 assess this type of damage. Neglecting to stop and fix water damage quickly can result in additional damage to the home. Leaving your home wet or damp for a long period of time can also cause the growth of mold spores, which can eventually be harmful when inhaled. Even if it looks like water damage is negligible, there may be water or moisture in your behind walls or under floors. If you have water damage occurs, it's vital to have a professional assess the situation using moisture meters and professional equipment.

Flood Damage Insurance

Flood damage and insurance to cover it is a bit more complex. Depending on the location of the home and your insurer, it may be possible to add a rider to your existing homeowner's policy to cover flood damage. In this case, the homeowner needs to pay attention to any clauses or exclusions in the policy. It's imperative that you understand what is covered and what isn't. If you're not sure, ask your insurance agent or company. It’s also imperative to understand the amount of coverage provided and the deductible required for both water and flood damage. Deductibles for floods are frequently different than amounts listed for other types of damage or loss. If your home is in or near a flood plain, you may have trouble finding affordable flood insurance.

Water & Flood Damage Restoration

It is crucial to choose an experienced water damage company that has certification in water damage and water damage restoration. Total Restoration of Texas provides five-star water damage restoration and drying services in Austin and Central Texas. We are sure to check in walls, crawl spaces, and places where water damage can hide for weeks or months it is noticed. As far as the flood restoration process is concerned, the process isn’t that different from water damage restoration. The big difference here is that unless the homeowner has flood insurance, they may be working out of pocket to pay for repairs.

Does Everyone Need Flood Insurance?

People often get in the habit of thinking they don’t need flood insurance, especially if they live in an area where flooding is unlikely. They also tend to believe flood may not impact them when their home sits at the top of a rather hill or it is built up several feet off the ground. You may go a lifetime and never experience flood damage. However, any home can flood during extreme weather events. 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 and less costly it will be to buy a flood insurance policy.

Is Flood Insurance Affordable?

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 mortgage is paid off, it’s imperative to learn whether or not the house sits in a flood plain before putting in an offer on it. If the home is in an area that is prone to flooding, you will want to consider the cost of flood insurance prior to making an offer on the home.

Time Frame for Water Damage Repair and Restoration

Even when water 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 water damage restoration company who works directly with your insurance company. The sooner you contact a restoration company and the more quickly 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 more than mere peace of mind. It ensures that when damage does occur you are covered.

Total Restoration of Texas can be at most Austin-area locations in under 1-hour. We have emergency service available 24-hours a day, 7-days a week.

Water damage? Let us handle the mess.

Drop us a line today or call for a free quote!

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

  • Austin
  • Bee Cave
  • Buda
  • Cedar Park
  • Georgetown
  • Kyle
  • Lakeway
  • Leander
  • Lockhart
  • New Braunfels
  • Pflugerville
  • Rollingwood
  • Round Rock
  • San Marcos
  • Sunset Valley
  • West Lake Hills