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Insurance company may rightfully deny claim for gradual damage

Perhaps one of the most frustrating things that can happen to a homeowner is to come home to find inches of water on the floor. Depending on where in the house the water is flowing or rising, the homeowner may also have damage to furniture, walls and personal items, some of which may be irreplaceable. It is in these times that a New York homeowner typically contacts his or her insurance company to file a claim for the damages. However, many in this situation may not fully understand the damage their policies cover.

Unfortunately, waiting until water has already damaged one's home is not the best time to discover the limitations on one's insurance policy. For example, some policies may not cover gradual damage, which is damage that has built up over time because of undetected issues behind the walls, within the ceiling or under the floors. A long-standing issue that compounds over time may result in a denied insurance claim.

Gradual water damage can come from many sources. Leaking plumbing may affect unseen areas, and the homeowner may not notice until the damage becomes visible. Left unchecked, plumbing or sewage issues can cause deterioration in the walls or foundation. It may also result in mold or corrosion, and water damage can create dangerous electrical issues.

Insurance claims are typically meant to cover damage that occurs suddenly and unexpectedly. Therefore, a claim for gradual damage caused by water issues may be denied even if the New York homeowner does not know the damage is occurring until it became visible. There are exceptions to this, and homeowners who are unsure of the extent of their coverage would do well to ask questions of their insurance company to clarify any uncertainties. This may save the homeowner from the trouble of bringing legal action against the insurance company for a claim that is rightfully denied.

Source: thebalance.com, "Making a Water Damage Claim? What's Covered or Not", Mila Araujo, Accessed on Dec. 9, 2017

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