A difficult issue to repair in a home even if it has been detected. Unlike other issues i.e. Fire Damage, and Wind and Hail damage, Water damage is often unknown, overlooked and bandages are placed on the issue to provide a temporary fix to the problem. In most cases, the current homeowner catches an issue in the early stages they do not make an insurance claim and the problem goes undisclosed to future buyers.
When water damage occurs, it is a disastrous situation for any homeowner. Often the water subsides or is easily removed to reveal the structure standing and looking fine on the surface. On the other hand, if you peel back the layers of the home for example; flooring and drywall, you will find mold growing and bigger issues than the water itself. This calls for more remediation, and will in turn become a larger expense to fix all issues down the road.
What types of water damage is covered?
All homeowner’s insurance policies are different, making it extremely difficult to provide a clear idea on what your policy should and should not cover. Therefore, you should always read the fine print in the declarations pages for your policy before coming to any conclusion, as well as reaching out to your local agent/company to get an in-depth review and understanding of the policy that covers your client's home.
In general home insurance policies cover sudden water damage and are defined as an accidental and sudden discharge of water. For example: sudden water damage would be a toilet overflowing due to the handle getting stuck and the water ran for days while you were out of town. A common type of sudden water damage that is NOT covered is a flood. Flood insurance is never covered by homeowner’s insurance and an additional flood insurance policy must be purchased.
Encourage your clients not to blindly buy a home or purchase home insurance without digging into the contract and property. You never know what you will find; a moldy basement, or a problem that has a bandage over it. Always check prior insurance/claims/loss reports to verify history and choose an inspector that will closely look at the concerns you have.