April Showers Bring… Water Claims

Our family is a baseball family.  We have two sons that play on different levels and teams, so that means our calendar is usually pretty busy with games.  I coached baseball for many years and also ran the entire Boys Division in my community for a few years.  There is one thing that I can tell you happens over the next 2-3 months a lot- it rains.  Lots and lots of rain.

Rain is not only bad for outdoor activities, it is also really bad for Homeowners.

Water can really put your sump pump to the test.  Have you tested your sump pump lately?  Many people haven’t tested their sump pump in years.  Some people don’t even know where their sump pump is located!  It is a good idea to test your sump pump by pouring a 5-gallon bucket of water down your crock and see if your sump pump is working properly.  It is also a good idea to get a battery back-up for your sump pump.  Fun fact– your sump pump won’t work if the power is out.  You can get a battery back-up system at your local hardware store or Home Depot/Menard’s/Lowe’s store.

Another fun fact:  water back-up claims are the most frequent Homeowner’s Insurance claims in Wisconsin.  Water Back-Up coverage is an optional coverage on most Homeowner’s Insurance policies.  That means that you need to elect to add the coverage.  This is not a good time to go cheap and skip this coverage because “you never had water in your basement” or “you live on a hill”.  Do you know what most people tell us when they have a claim?  They tell us that “this has never happened to me before”.

There are different levels of coverage for Water Back-Up.  Typically, the lowest amount of coverage is $5,000 and it goes up from there.  If you have an unfinished basement and really don’t store any personal belongings down there, you may be able to get away with $5,000.  If you have carpeting, drywall, and other personal belongings in your basement, then I would recommend that you have more than $5,000 of coverage.

The cost of a typical Water Back-Up claim due to a failed sump pump ranges from $4,000-$20,000.  The cost depends on how much water, mold, and personal belongings you have in your basement.  It is very important to get rid of the water immediately because mold forms and grows quickly, which creates a health hazard for your household.

Adding Water Back-Up coverage to your Homeowner’s policy ranges from $60-$200 per year, depending on the amount of coverage that you get.  This is a small cost in comparison to the cost of removing the water, mold, and replacing personal items (such as carpeting, drywall, furniture, and boxes of personal belongings).

Trust me-  the day that you find water in your basement (possibly poopy water even, because it backed up through your sewers/drains)- and you are actually hauling ruined mattresses up to the curb… deciding whether to demo an entire wall or just cut a flood wall (1/4 panel) into the wall… finding your great-grandmother’s antique table has mold on it…. and finding that box of your children’s childhood pictures that was still in cardboard and is now wet and waterlogged… you will either be mad as h$!! that you didn’t spend the extra $5 – $20 / month on the extra coverage or you will be greatful that a professional has been called in by the insurance company to help you mitigate the damage and get you back to normal quickly with as little money coming out of your pocket as possible.

It pays to be prepared for a typical rainy Spring in Wisconsin.  Test your sump pump monthly.  Get a battery back-up for your sump pump at your local hardware store.  And make sure that you have some level of Water Back-Up coverage on your Homeowner’s Insurance policy.  Yes, even if you live at the top of a hill.  It can save you thousands of dollars in the future.

P.S. Special shout out to Restoration1- Water Damage Experts.  David Michalski and his team who took care of our customer in this photo to the right.  If you are in need of Water-Fire-Smoke-Mold restoration- you can reach David at 414-400-2700 or dmichalski@restoration1.com.

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