McQuiston: The Recent Rains

By ALLEN MCQUISTON
The Jemez Agency

Here and in Santa Fe we have experienced some high rain volume recently. Several areas in Santa Fe reported standing water 3 feet deep. Which brings me to the not to pleasant question and answer portion of rain water: Am I covered when the rain water seeps into my house?

Rain that exceeds the capacity of storm sewers, sump systems, bodies of water, and the ground’s ability to absorb and hold water can cause big problems for your home, resulting in significant water damage and monetary costs.

Most homeowner’s policies contain an exclusion for water damage. This exclusion will typically eliminate coverage for water damage resulting from flood or surface water, which backs up through a sewer or drain or overflows from a sump system, and water, which is below the ground and exerts pressure on or seeps through a building, sidewalk, driveway, foundation, swimming pool, or other structure.    

In layman’s terms, if water enters your home at or below ground level, it probably is not covered.

Once this uninvited water enters your home, it has the potential to damage everything it comes in contact with such as flooring, walls, insulation, framing, appliances, and your home’s furnishings.  If not addressed, this water can lead to mold growth and wet rot.

The key to minimizing water damage is to call a reputable water remediation company that can immediately begin to extract water from your home and begin the drying process.

Often times you can purchase an endorsement to your homeowner’s policy that will provide coverage for water losses resulting from a back-up of a sewer or drain or overflow from a sump system.

Having such an endorsement on your policy can provide a great deal of financial protection in the event of heavy rains that over-tax the sewer system or when your sump pump can’t keep up with the amount of water around your home’s foundation.

A water back-up and sump discharge or overflow endorsement can also provide coverage for those occurrences of water damage in the event a sump pump quits working or you experience a power failure rendering your pump useless.

However, water that “seeps” into your home, gets in through a faulty  threshold, or some other way not addressed above would not be covered.

On top of the back-up endorsements, flood insurance is often available through the National Flood Insurance Program for those who  wish to cover the once in a lifetime flood.

However, most people do not buy flood insurance because of the cost and the low likelihood of a big enough storm to cause damage. The recent storms may cause more than a few people to rethink this option.

For more information on flood insurance, please contact your local agent or visit www.fema.gov/business/nfip/.

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