Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

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Jason622
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Joined: Wed Mar 21, 2018 6:18 am

Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by Jason622 » Sat May 25, 2019 12:05 pm

I had my basement flooded because both sump pumps failed. Apparently, the back up wasn’t working for sometime per the plumber. Got 10 inches of water for that reason. Liberty mutual home insurance says they won’t pay for it because I apparently don’t have insurance for ‘sump pump failure’. Apparently, I had declined the option for “Water Back up”. I haven’t been able to find what they mean by ‘water back up’.
Basement was half finished. So, the carpet and sofa are damaged. Restoration company cut 2 ft of dry wall. Repairing process is ongoing.
Do you think I should keep fighting with the insurance? What would it take it for them to cover the loss? Thank you everyone.

milo minderbinder
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by milo minderbinder » Sat May 25, 2019 12:09 pm

You have to opt in to sump pump coverage. Even if you do it only covers up to $5,000 or at least it did in my case. Sorry, but it doesn't sound like you have much of an argument.

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ResearchMed
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by ResearchMed » Sat May 25, 2019 12:13 pm

Jason622 wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 12:05 pm
I had my basement flooded because both sump pumps failed. Apparently, the back up wasn’t working for sometime per the plumber. Got 10 inches of water for that reason. Liberty mutual home insurance says they won’t pay for it because I apparently don’t have insurance for ‘sump pump failure’. Apparently, I had declined the option for “Water Back up”. I haven’t been able to find what they mean by ‘water back up’.
Basement was half finished. So, the carpet and sofa are damaged. Restoration company cut 2 ft of dry wall. Repairing process is ongoing.
Do you think I should keep fighting with the insurance? What would it take it for them to cover the loss? Thank you everyone.
Do you have flood insurance?
Won't that pay for the water "coming up from the ground" (or however it is worded)? But it won't pay for furnishings, unfortunately.

Read your regular policy carefully. If you can't find any wording that you might focus on, then you probably won't have a valid claim. Do you have an insurance broker? We've had them go to bat for us on occasion - and helpfully so.

This reminds me to have both of our sump pumps checked!
We (no longer quite so) recently had a completely separate backup sump pump put into a separate little pit. Previously, the backup and regular were a combined unit. We began feeling less and less comfortable about that.

Good luck.

RM
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abc132
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by abc132 » Sat May 25, 2019 12:20 pm

One of the nice things about having a good insurance agent is that agent will be motivated to make sure you have the protection you want/need. I had a basement flood because the sump pump could not keep up - the water came up through the sump pump well, and the service and help from American Family Insurance couldn't have been any better. I do believe that if water comes in through my basement walls instead of the sump pump, the damage would not have been covered.

My advice is to get an agent that can help you with this type of thing in advance. They should be aware of all flooding issues in your area, and let you know what type of damage will and will not be covered. If you have one, use them to answer your questions.

If you didn't have the right coverage, I think you are out of luck unless you have some record of a correspondence where the coverage you received was somehow different or misleading compared to the coverage you requested.

rich126
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by rich126 » Sat May 25, 2019 2:48 pm

Sorry. Water is a frustrating thing. I've had issues in the past.

That is one reason why I would never finish a basement, eventually most of them have water issues. I live on the side of a hill and if the water gets to the side of the house it will easily flow down the hill. I've had issues with the back of the house where the power went out for an extended period during a 5"+ inch rainfall and had some puddles in the basement. In another case the gutters on the highest portion of the roof were clogged and the water cascaded over the gutters and conveniently (sarcasm here) into the window well and it started to fill up and leak slightly into the basement for a small puddle.

Good luck.

Topic Author
Jason622
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by Jason622 » Sat May 25, 2019 3:36 pm

Because it was my first home that I bought 3 years ago, I guess it was my naivety that I didn’t look at my policy carefully. I did decline ‘Water Back up’ policy. I guess I was trying to see if I can find a loophole, if any, in the policy. I wondered if I hammered them for definition of “Water back up”, I would get anything related to sump pump covered. Thank you for the responses.

sport
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by sport » Sat May 25, 2019 3:41 pm

My house is built on a slab, so I don't have a basement. However, if I were to have a sewer backup problem, it would be on the main floor of the house, and could cause a lot of damage. So, I have additional coverage on my HO policy for water backup, even though such an event is unlikely, and the extra coverage is somewhat expensive.

HomeStretch
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by HomeStretch » Sat May 25, 2019 4:16 pm

I have optional water backup coverage as my insurer won’t cover sump pump or septic backup-related issues without the coverage.

After a bunch of backup claims due to a multi-day electrical outage in our neighborhood, some neighbors reported their insurers were requiring them to have a multi-day battery back-up or whole house generator as a condition of coverage.

crre
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by crre » Sat May 25, 2019 7:36 pm

Jason622 wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 3:36 pm
I guess I was trying to see if I can find a loophole, if any, in the policy. I wondered if I hammered them for definition of “Water back up”, I would get anything related to sump pump covered.
it can't hurt to try. in my experience insurance will almost always deny a claim if they have even a semi-plausible reason to do so.

user5027
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by user5027 » Sat May 25, 2019 8:16 pm

ResearchMed wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 12:13 pm

Do you have flood insurance?
Won't that pay for the water "coming up from the ground" (or however it is worded)? But it won't pay for furnishings, unfortunately.
Flood insurance will not pay for any finishes or contents in a basement. It will pay for mechanical equipment (furnace, hot water heater, etc.). I believe it will pay for studs and drywall but not paint or flooring/carpeting. It will pay for a dumpster/disposal.

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RickBoglehead
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by RickBoglehead » Sat May 25, 2019 8:23 pm

Jason622 wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 3:36 pm
Because it was my first home that I bought 3 years ago, I guess it was my naivety that I didn’t look at my policy carefully. I did decline ‘Water Back up’ policy. I guess I was trying to see if I can find a loophole, if any, in the policy. I wondered if I hammered them for definition of “Water back up”, I would get anything related to sump pump covered. Thank you for the responses.
Nope.

We had pipe burst, discovered end of April. Several hundred thousand gallons of water into 2 rooms, then crawlspace. Working through things now, fully covered.
Avid user of forums on variety of interests-financial, home brewing, F-150, PHEV, home repair, etc. Enjoy learning & passing on knowledge. It's PRINCIPAL, not PRINCIPLE. I ADVISE you to seek ADVICE.

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burt
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by burt » Sun May 26, 2019 7:11 am

rich126 wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 2:48 pm
In another case the gutters on the highest portion of the roof were clogged and the water cascaded over the gutters and conveniently (sarcasm here) into the window well and it started to fill up and leak slightly into the basement for a small puddle.
I had the exact same problem last year. Clogged gutter with water into window well.
That reminds me, I've got to find someone to clean the gutters.

IngognitoUSA
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by IngognitoUSA » Sun May 26, 2019 7:27 am

Installed a Backup power system that uses pressure of municipal water supply to run sump pump. No issues even after a multi day power failure. Highly recommend.

lazydavid
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Re: Basement flooded, insurance not wanting pay

Post by lazydavid » Mon May 27, 2019 2:59 pm

rich126 wrote:
Sat May 25, 2019 2:48 pm
That is one reason why I would never finish a basement, eventually most of them have water issues. I live on the side of a hill and if the water gets to the side of the house it will easily flow down the hill. I've had issues with the back of the house where the power went out for an extended period during a 5"+ inch rainfall and had some puddles in the basement. In another case the gutters on the highest portion of the roof were clogged and the water cascaded over the gutters and conveniently (sarcasm here) into the window well and it started to fill up and leak slightly into the basement for a small puddle.
All of these issues are very solvable. Here is how we dealt with each:

Hill drainage: Our house is at a lower elevation than both of our neighbors, but about 5' below the neighbor on one side, with a relatively steep hill. During the rainy season, there was almost always several inches of standing water here over a 7' wide span leading right up to the foundation. our sump pump outlet was on this side of the house, which only made things worse, as it was constantly re-pumping the same exact water out of the basement, over and over and over again. Our landscaper installed a PVC pipe running the length of the yard, with a drain grate towards the back of the house, and 4 additional inlets along its length for the 3 gutter downspounts on this side of the house, as well as the sump pump. The pipe runs down to a pop-up drain about 2' above the sidewalk in the front yard, so the water drains across the sidewalk, down the driveway apron and right into the storm sewer. This completely eliminated the standing water on the side of the house, and cut our sump pump run time by 80% or so.

Power outage: We installed dual DC sump pumps that can run on an AGM deep-cycle battery when the power is out. Based on a 5-hr power outage we had during a massive rainstorm--1" per hour, with 18" of total accumulation over a 24-hour period--The estimate I got from the controller was that we could run with no power for about 28 hours (total) with that level of constant inflow. Additionally, we have a portable generator large enough to run the entire house, protected from the elements in its own ventilated shed. We would need to refuel it about every 6-8 hours in an extended outage.

Gutters: Our oversize 6" downspouts rarely clog completely. At a previous house, we installed perforated caps on the gutters which worked fantastically well for keeping leaves out of the gutters completely, and we may consider doing the same here at some point.

Water in window wells: It's not so much the water that's a problem here, as it is the debris. The drains in the bottoms of window wells generally work fine as long as they're not completely covered with leaves and other crap. We installed plexiglass covers over our window wells, which allow very little water and no debris into them.

Puddles on floor (regardless of cause): 100% of the finished space in our basement is porcelain tile. puddles are not an issue at all.

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