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What is the difference between water damage and flood damage?

The main difference between water damage and flood damage, for insurance purposes, is where the water came from.

Water damage is typically caused by:

  • broken pipes
  • overflowing bathtubs or toilets
  • broken toilets or washing machines
  • burst water mains
  • poor home maintenance

Flood damage, on the other hand, is caused by a flood, which is defined by the Federal Emergency Management Agency (FEMA) as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres and two or more properties of normally dry land.

Flood damage is caused by:

  • overflow of inland or tidal waters
  • mudflow
  • unusual runoff
  • land collapse

One of the easiest ways to distinguish between flood damage and water damage is that water damage typically comes into contact with the home before hitting the ground, and does not rise from the ground up.

For example, if heavy rain the breaks through the window and soaks the inside, it is probably water damage. On the other hand, if heavy rains soak the lawn and allow water to seep into the basement, it could be flood damage.

Additionally, if you have property damage but your neighbor does not, it is likely water damage instead of flood damage.

What to do if your water damage claim is denied

As you may already know, homeowners and commercial property insurance policies cover water damage but not flood damage.

If your homeowners insurance provider has denied your water damage claim, then it would be wise to meet with a lawyer who can review your policy and claim, and demand that you be compensated for your damage, if necessary.

Additionally, if your insurance provider is telling you that you have flood damage but you believe you have water damage, a lawyer can give you honest advice.

Insurance companies have teams of lawyers on their side who do everything they can to advocate for the insurer's best interests. You need an advocate who will advocate for yours.

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