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What Qualifies as Water Damage?

natural disasters

Water is an irresistible force of nature, capable of causing colossal damage to homes and everything that stands in its way. However, not all water damages are equal, and they vary from flood damage if you look at both damages from a remediation and insurance angle.

If there’s a heavy downpour and the ceiling or walls of your home are damaged, it’s different from a flood outside that affects your home’s flooring. The first instance qualifies for water damage, while the second doesn’t because it’s an external flooding situation, hence, flood damage.

Both scenarios are similar because water is the cause of the damage and a building is suffering its effects. Yet, they are different with separate insurance coverages.  

It’s not uncommon to find most homeowners mixing both terms up and wondering why their homeowner’s insurance isn’t covering the cost, among other confusing notions about both concepts.

Let’s look at what actually qualifies for water damage and clear up the confusion.

What Qualifies as a Water Damage? 

Water damage is a situation where water destroys a significant part of a home’s interior. It can happen in various ways and lead to varying degrees of destruction but provided the destruction is within the interiors of a home, it passes for water damage.

The damage can happen at once, like a tropical storm that wrecks the roof of your home, or gradually, in the form of water droplets appearing on the ceiling after heavy rainfalls. 

Water Damage Causes 

Several factors cause water damage. They include:

  • Failure of a sump pump
  • A burst pipe that fills the ceiling with water
  • A tropical storm that pulls off a section of your roof and damages your window or ruins your floor
  • Main sewer line clogging that backs up water into your home via various drains 
  • A heavy downpour that causes your roof to leak and allows water to damage the ceiling and walls

When water causes severe structural damage to your home in any of these ways, your homeowner’s insurance may not fully cover the cost. It’s best to review its provisions as regards mold removal services, water extraction, and other home damages. However, most insurance policies won’t incorporate the cost of water damage due to negligence.

Water Damage Categories

As mentioned, not all water damages are equal in the structural devastation they cause. Therefore, there are three categories of water damage, which are:

Category 1 

Category 1 water damage is the least type of destruction water can cause within a home’s interior. It’s often referred to as “Clean Water” because its effect is non-toxic and free of sewage and other impurities.

Typical examples of category 1 damage include leaks from water pipes, leakages with dishwashers, and water overflowing from sinks and bathtubs. Damages from category 1 are easy to fix by drying the excess moisture because they aren’t severe. 

Category 2 

Category 2, also known as “gray water,” is worse than category 1 in the extent of damage it creates and the toxicity of the water. Toilet bowls with urine, sump pump failure, sewage water from the main sewer line, and dirty water discharging from the toilet and washing machine all fall under this category.

There may be other impurities in the water spill, like toxic chemicals, physical contaminants, and bacteria, making it unhealthy for inhabitants or any technician to clean up without wearing protective gear. Hence, the situation calls for the services of water restoration companies.

Category 3 

This is the worst form of water damage, also known as “dark water.” The water is grossly polluted with various physical, chemical, and biological contaminants. Category 3 poses severe health risks to residents of a home if the water leakage persists without urgent restoration services.

Sources of category 3 water damage include water backing up from the main sewer line, a broken toilet bowl with feces, and rising water from a river or stream.

Difference Between Water Damage and Flood Damage 

While both damages have water in common as the culprit, they are not the same. Flood damage is a natural disaster. They are the results of the overflow of inland waters or water due to tidal movements, the gradual or instant surge of water accumulated from the ground’s surface, and any pool of water outside a building. Water damages, on the other hand, are caused by internal pipe leaks, clogged drains, or fixture damages within a home.

Additionally, most homeowners’ insurance covers water damage, not flood damage. You will need flood insurance to recover losses incurred by any flood situation, making it essential to have both insurances.

Preventing Water Damages 

Luckily, water damage is easier to prevent than flood damage, which is unpredictable and takes a lot of resources to prevent its occurrence. Yet, there’s nothing you can do about the sea water level rising or ocean encroachment if you live in a high-risk area.

Protecting your home from water damage is possible by doing the following:

  • Shutting off your home’s main water valve when you suspect a leak
  • Contracting with a plumber for regular inspection of your plumbing systems 
  • Paying regular attention to your tubs, sinks, and other plumbing fixtures
  • Always inspect your roof shingles for damage.

What to do in a Water Damage Situation 

Water damage, if left unattended, can lead to severe structural destruction in your home while endangering your health and that of your family. Water soaking up walls, sewer line clogs leading to water backups, and other water damage can make your home uninhabitable for some time until you initiate a water damage restoration process.

If you suspect water damage in your home, contact your insurance company and a restoration service company to begin an immediate restoration process.

Contact APlus Today for All Restoration Services 

APlus is a trusted and professional restoration services company for all water damage in Indianapolis, including mold remediation, sewage cleanup, fire damage restoration, the drying process, water extraction, and more. With over 37 years of experience in business, we can proudly guarantee 100% customer satisfaction across all our services. Your insurance claim will be processed smoothly because we are compliant with all insurance companies.

Contact us now at (317) 934-7123 or request a free quote and on-site damage assessment.

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