While it would be nice to be able to give a solid yes or no answer to this question, it's not that simple. There are a wide variety of factors that will influence an insurance company's stance on coverage in terms of basement leakage and waterproofing.
Typically, full waterproofing systems aren't covered by homeowners insurance.
Here's how it usually works:
- When you have a water event in your basement, the insurance company will usually pay for the clean up and inquire about the cause. If the cause was internal--like a broken pipe or appliance or even an overflowing sink or tub, the damage will fall under the policy. However, if the source of the water is external--like groundwater, a flooded stream, lake, pond, river, or even extensive storms, the damage is not likely to be covered by insurance.
- Even with flood insurance, there's no guarantee that a groundwater flood in the basement will be covered under the policy. The reason being, the insurance company will view this issue as having been caused by a lack of home maintenance, due to the entry points for groundwater most commonly being cracks and joints in foundation walls and floors.
How Insurance Policies View Groundwater Issues
Homeowners insurance can be frustrating to deal with, and even more frustrating to understand. However, there are reasons behind these seemingly arbitrary rules. American Insurance lists two such reasons:
- Current construction codes require the construction of the foundation to allow water to drain away from the home. Older homes may not have adhered to these methods or due to poor grading, instability of the soil or past severe water events, water may find a path to begin collecting underground alongside the home. If the intrusion of water through foundations were covered by insurance, then a homeowner would have no incentive to correct the problem. Covering these events would give rise to repeated claims after every periodic severe weather season.
- Over time, every foundation settles, cracks, and eventually deteriorates naturally. This "wear & tear" may require a homeowner to excavate around the foundation (and basement/crawl space) to place drain tile or other waterproofing material and patch/re-seal the foundation and basement concrete walls. Again, if this type of water loss was covered by homeowners insurance policies then a homeowner would have no financial incentive to repair or improve their home.
So, if there's a more natural cause to your basement leak, it seems like you'll be out of luck for coverage.
The best option is to protect the home as best you can from serious water damage before an event can occur. This may not be helpful to homeowners who have recently been overwhelmed with water in the home, but the good news is that homeowners insurance will usually cover the cost of initial clean up, and refer customers out to trusted waterproofing companies in order to resolve the issue from the source. Unfortunately, that's typically where insurance involvement ends when it comes to basement waterproofing.
How Basement Waterproofing Contractors Can Help
With issues such as groundwater seepage, there are many ways to protect the foundation and basement of a home, ranging from full systems consisting of sump pumps, drain tile, dehumidifiers and more, to partial systems for less severe water issues. Because every home is different, there isn't one correct way to protect the basement and foundation, and as such it's always recommended to reach out to the professionals for advice on how best to proceed for your home.
While homeowners insurance may not be the most helpful in situations like these, a good waterproofing contractor can be a blessing. Many companies, understanding the frustration of the lack of coverage for such issues have made it a complimentary service to help find loans and funding for such projects. That way, you're not left holding a bill that you can't handle without the help of insurance, and the home will be protected.
Many basement waterproofing companies offer free, no obligation estimates and consultations. Technicians will do a thorough inspection and find any possible entry for water and humidity, and formulate a step by step plan to protect the home from the damaging effects of groundwater.
If you've experienced a water event in the home, don't hesitate to reach out today, and get started making your home a safer and healthier place to be!