Evaluating Water Damage After A Fire: Home Insurance Considerations

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Water damage describes the various possible losses caused by water intrusion where it can attack materials or systems with destructive processes such as wood rot, mold growth, bacterial growth, steel rusting, swelling of composite wood, delamination of materials such as plywood, short circuit of devices electricity, etc.

Evaluating Water Damage After A Fire: Home Insurance Considerations

Evaluating Water Damage After A Fire: Home Insurance Considerations

Damage can be very slow and small like water spots that can damage surfaces, or it can be immediate and catastrophic like burst pipes and flooding. However quickly it occurs, water damage is a major contributor to property loss.

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The insurance policy may or may not cover the costs associated with water damage and the water damage restoration process. Although a common cause of residential water damage is often sump pump failure, many homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the associated costs without add-ons that add to the policy’s monthly premium. Often this additional verb is similar to “Sewer and Drainage Coverage”.

In the United States, individuals affected by widespread flooding may have the ability to apply for government and FEMA grants through the Individual Assistance program.

On a larger scale, businesses, cities and communities can apply to FEMA’s Public Assistance program for funds to help after a major flood. For example, the city of Fond du Lac Wisconsin received a $1.2 million FEMA grant after a flood in June 2008. The program allowed the city to buy water-damaged properties, demolish structures and turn the former land into public space.

Water damage can be caused by different sources such as dishwasher hoses, washing machine overflows, dishwasher leaks, broken/leaking pipes, flood water, groundwater seepage, building facade failures (leaking roofs, windows, doors, siding , etc.) and clogged toilets. According to Vironmtal Protection Agcy, 13.7% of all water used in homes today can be attributed to leaking pipes.

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On average, about 10,000 gallons of water a year are wasted by leaks for every US home. A small 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water a day.

According to Claims Magazine in August 2000, burst water pipes are second only to hurricanes in terms of the number of homes damaged and the amount of claims (an average of $50,000 per insurance claim

Experts recommend that homeowners inspect and replace worn plumbing and hose connections to all household appliances that use water at least once a year. These include washing machines, dishwashers, kitchen sinks and bathroom toilets, refrigerator ice makers, water softeners and humidifiers. Several US companies offer whole-house leak protection systems using flow-based technology. Some insurance companies offer policyholders a reduced rate for installing a whole-home leak protection system.

Evaluating Water Damage After A Fire: Home Insurance Considerations

As far as insurance coverage goes, damage caused by surface water intrusion into a residence is considered flood damage and is usually excluded from coverage under traditional homeowner’s insurance. Surface water is water that separates the residence from the ground surface due to stagnation or insufficient drainage and causes loss to the residence. Protection for surface water intrusion

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Category 1 Water – Refers to water sources that do not pose a major threat to humans and are classified as “clean water”. Examples are a broken water supply line, an overflowing tub or sink or appliance damage involving the water supply line.

Category 2 Water – Refers to a source of water that contains significant levels of chemical, biological or physical contaminants and causes discomfort or illness when consumed or exposed to. Known as “grey water”. This type carries microorganisms and micro-organism nutrients. Examples are toilet bowls with urine (no faeces), sump pump failure, seepage due to hydrostatic failure and water discharge from a dishwasher or washing machine.

Category 3 Water – Known as “black water” and very unsanitary. This water contains unsanitary agt, harmful bacteria and fungi, causing severe discomfort or illness. Category type 3 is a contaminated water source that affects the indoor vironmt. This category includes sources of water from sewage, sea water, rising water from rivers or streams, storm surges, surface water or stagnant water. Category 2 Water or Gray Water that is not immediately removed from the structure and or remains stagnant can be reclassified as Category 3 Water. Toilet backflow originating from outside the toilet trap is considered black water pollution regardless of visible color or consistency.

The water damage class is determined by the rate of possible evaporation based on the type of material affected, or wet, in the flooded room or space. Determining the class of water damage is an important first step, and will determine the amount and type of equipment used to dry out the structure.

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Class 1 – Slow Evaporation Rate. Affects only part of the room. The material has low permeability/porosity. Minimal moisture is absorbed by the material. **IICRC s500 2016 update adds that class 1 is indicated when <5% of the total square footage of the room (ceiling+walls+floor) is affected **

Class 2 – Fast Evaporation Rate. Water affects the tire room carpets and cushions. May have damaged the wall, but no more than 24 inches. **IICRC s500 2016 update adds that class 2 is indicated when 5% to 40% of the total square footage of the room (ceiling+walls+floor) is affected **

Class 3 – Fastest Evaporation Rate. Water gerally comes from above, affecting the tire area; walls, ceilings, insulation, carpets, cushions, etc. **IICRC s500 2016 update adds that class 3 is indicated when >40% of the total square footage of the room (ceiling+walls+floor) is affected **

Evaluating Water Damage After A Fire: Home Insurance Considerations

Class 4 – Special Drying Situations. Involving materials with very low permeability/porosity, such as hardwood floors, concrete, crawl spaces, gypsum, plaster, etc. Thorough drying requires a very low specific humidity to achieve drying.

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Water damage restoration can be done by the property management team, building maintenance staff, or by the homeowner themselves; however, contacting a certified professional water damage restoration specialist is often considered the safest way to restore a water damaged property. Certified professional water damage restoration specialists use psychrometrics to monitor the drying process.

Although there are no government regulations in the United States that dictate procedures, two certifying bodies, the Institute for Inspection Cleaning and Restoration Certification (IICRC) and the RIA, recommend standards of care. The currt IICRC standard is ANSI/IICRC S500-2021.

Fire and Water Restoration Companies are regulated by the appropriate state Department of Consumer Affairs – usually the state contractor licensing board. In California, all Fire and Water Restoration companies must register with the California Contractors State Licensing Board.

Water damage restoration is often preceded by a loss assessment and assessment of the affected material. Damaged areas are examined with water flow equipment such as probes and other infrared tools to determine the cause of the damage and possible areas affected. Emergency mitigation services are the first order of business. Controlling water sources, removal of non-salvageable materials, water extraction and pre-cleaning of affected materials are part of the mitigation process. Remedial services will be provided to the property to dry the structure, stabilize building materials, clean any affected or cross-contaminated areas, and deodorize all affected areas and materials. After the work is completed, water damage equipment including dehumidifiers, air scrubbers, dehumidifiers, wood floor drying systems, and subfloor drying equipment are left in the residence. The goal of the drying process is to stabilize the moisture content of the affected material below 15%, the generally accepted threshold for microbial amplification. Industry standards state that the drying vdor should return at regular intervals, preferably every twenty-four hours, to monitor the equipment, temperature, humidity, and moisture content of the affected walls and co. According to the Red Cross, 80% of Americans don’t I didn’t realize that small house fires are the single most common disaster in the United States. A house fire can cause extensive damage throughout the home, inside and out.

Homeowners Insurance And Water Damage

So, how does a house burn down? There are many risks around the home that people may take for granted. Whether you are dealing with a small stove fire, electrical fire, dryer fire, or maybe even an outdoor grill fire; there are many things that can start a fire and different types of fire.

Even in a room that never burns, high heat can melt plastic, cause your paint to blister, cause severe stress on your glass windows and more. Appliances, equipment and personal belongings that are still standing may be damaged beyond repair.

After you’ve had a house fire, there are so many different things you deal with that it can be hard to know what to do next. Are there things you need to do for insurance? Is it safe

Evaluating Water Damage After A Fire: Home Insurance Considerations

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