Flooded Floors? Will Homeowners Insurance Help?
Had water damage to your flooring? A lot of homeowners face water damage every year.
Water damage can happen for a number of reasons – too many to list here. But not all water damage is the same. Depending on the cause, your homeowner’s insurance may or may not cover the damage.
And while we aren’t the experts on whether or not your insurance will cover the damage, we have discovered that many homeowners start the replacing process without realizing what is covered – and more importantly, what isn’t.
In theory, insurance should compensate for like flooring. That means whatever you have in place before the flood occurred is what will be replaced after the flood. You’re entitled to the same type of flooring that you had in place, or something of equivalent value. This is how many insurance policies work – but not all. That’s why it’s important to understand your policy before it comes into play.
Most insurance companies will provide you with a report of what you are entitled to. An inspector will assess the damage and take samples of what is in place, use that for final analysis, and then compensate for the same sort of quality. For example, if you had an inexpensive laminate, you will be compensated for today’s costs of an inexpensive laminate. You might not be able to find the exact color, style, or materials. But you will be able to replace it with something equivalent to what is in place.
Then if you choose to upgrade, you would get an allowance for what materials are in place, and you would be required to pick up the difference.
In most cases, the estimate is forwarded to your insurance company where they use national rates for their estimates. It may or may not be based on your geographic region, depending on the company. But in general, if they see a legitimate estimate from a reputable company and the price is justified, they will cover the cost. Likewise, if there are additional items that come up during installation – if the subfloor is damaged after the original flooring is ripped out – they will usually replace this as well. (Again, you’ll have to work with your insurance company to find out the details.)
Keep in mind that it’s not always just the flooring that will be covered.
Furniture – Furniture often needs to be moved to install the flooring. Some homeowners choose to do this themselves. But if it requires help to have it moved, it’s often covered as a part of the estimate.
Baseboards – Often baseboards need to be refinished or painted, especially when putting in different types of flooring. Your homeowner’s insurance may cover the costs, depending on the circumstances.
Hotel – If you have extensive flooding, it may require a hotel stay to complete your flooring, especially if adding new hardwoods throughout. If it blocks basic living – bathrooms, bedrooms, kitchen – your insurance company will often pay.
Have additional questions? We can often provide you with answers based on our experience. But keep in mind, a call to your insurance agent can help you discover the best way to handle your flood.