Don’t be left high and “wet”


By: Joel McKinnon

When purchasing homeowners insurance there is more to consider than just a price.  As an agent it is my JOB to inform you of all the coverage options available to you, and explain how those coverages can benefit you.  If you as the consumer only focus price, and do not take the time to understand what you are buying, it could leave you high and…..”wet.”

When purchasing homeowners insurance in Ohio,  it is important to understand there is a difference between flood insurance, and back up of sewer and drains. While floods are probably best known for causing extensive water damage to homes and businesses, they can also cause sewage from sanitary sewer lines to back up into houses through drain pipes.  Typically if water enters your home through the windows, doors, or walls (via cracks etc.) the damage caused by the water will not be covered.  Insurance companies consider this flooding, and this is excluded on the base homeowners policy.  The water can come from rain, rivers, creeks, streams, melting snow, excess surface water etc. regardless of where it comes from, the base homeowners policy will not cover the damage caused in these situations.  You would need a flood insurance policy in Ohio to protect your home.

This being said, most homeowners policies give you the option to add on Back up of Sewer and Drain coverage.  Sewer back-ups occur when massive volumes of water overload a drainage system. Once the wastewater rises above your basement drains, a back-flow into your home results.  Sewer back-ups can introduce mold, bacteria and sewage waste into your home, creating health risks and extensive damage.  Without Sewer and Drain coverage you will NOT have coverage to address the issue, and fix the problem.

After all of the heavy rain we have had the ground is soaked, rivers, creeks and streams are on the rise causing flooding, and excessive surface water.  It is important to know what your homeowners insurance policy will, and will not cover you for.  Typically basement flooding is not related to the sewer system. In many cases, soil settles adjacent to the home and, if it is not corrected it can lead to rainwater flowing towards the home and down the outside of the foundation wall. This is very common in older homes where cracks may have developed in the foundation or floor slab. The cement floor and basement walls of these structures may have deteriorated to the point that they are no longer waterproof. This frequently happens when the ground is saturated after repeated or heavy rain storms. The base homeowners policy typically WILL NOT cover these situations.

As I said it is important to understand what your coverages are, how they work, and what type of protection you will have when disaster strikes.  We tend to live in a world / society when every decision we make is driven by cost, and not by value.  If you have not reviewed your policy recently I would recommend pulling it out, reviewing it and setting up a time to meet with your agent.  Do not wait till disaster strikes to know if you are covered, find out before hand.  If you do not have an agent, or would like a second opinion give us a call!!!