This rain has caused one common phone call for our agency this spring, “I have water in the basement”. Whether it is a home, business or rental property, water has been finding its way into places it should not be; so what better topic to blog about today than water in your basement.
The first question we are asked is whether or not it is covered. This depends on a few factors. The two main factors are the source of where the water is coming from and the type of insurance policy you have. If water is coming into your basement through window wells or other opening in your basement (excluding drains), then that would be considered a flood loss which often is not covered by your normal insurance policy. In fact, even if you had a flood policy it normally doesn’t cover contents located in parts of a building that are underground, i.e. a basement. If the water is gathering in your basement because of a sump pump failure or a backed up drain or sewer than there could be coverage, as long as you meet the second factor which is having the type of policy that covers those things. Rental property policies have the most limiting coverage for water in the basement. The main coverage you need is called “Water Back up of Sewers and Drains” and many insurance companies don’t offer that on rental properties. Commercial building insurance policies have the “Water Back up of Sewers and Drains” endorsement as an optional coverage so it just depends if you purchased that option or not if you would have coverage. Homeowners polices more often than not have the “Water Back up of Sewers and Drains” included in their basic policy but if someone tried to skimp on the premium they may have taken that coverage out.
There are a few tips that we would like to let you know about as far as dealing with such a rainy spring. First, if you don’t go to your basement very often make sure that during this time of year you do take more frequent trips for inspection purposes. If you have a sump pump, check it regularly to make sure it is functioning properly. Also, make sure that drains are clear of anything that might cause blockage.
If you do have the bad luck of finding standing water in your basement make sure to give your insurance person a call. Whether it is covered or not they would have advice as to who to call for clean up. It is a good idea to try and clean the water up as soon as you can since mold can settle in after a few days. Also, if the basement is in a commercial building that stores chemicals of any kind it might be best to stay clear from the water. The water may have caused leaked chemicals to mix and could be harmful.
If you happen to be in the service area of the Metropolitan Sewer District of Greater Cincinnati you are one of the lucky few that could get free help with your water problem. Again, depending on the source of the water, they may take care of the water clean up at no cost to you. Their phone number is 513-352-4900 and their website is http://www.msdgc.org/.