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Water, Water Everywhere!

Whether a single-family dwelling or part of a multi-family property, water can come in from a wide variety of sources. The source is key to determining both how to correct and who is responsible, and whether or not there is insurance coverage. So, let’s look at this one step at a time.

Heavy rains have caused lots of basement water issues. These either can be foundation leaks, clogged area way (stairwell) drains, or failed sump pumps. Water coming in through the foundation is covered ONLY by flood insurance. If you do not have flood insurance, you do not have water infiltration coverage for either the repair or for the cleanup or damage.

If those rains cause roof leaks, the damage may be covered by insurance but the roof repair (unless the storm caused the roof leak—like wind ripping off the shingles or a tree falling through) is not part of an insurance claim. Generally, roof repairs that are general maintenance are not covered by insurance.

Whether there is insurance coverage or not, the first step is to identify the source, then stop the leak (if possible) and dry out the property. Mold is rarely covered, so if you do not dry the interior within 48 hours, mold is likely to bloom. If there is insurance, you will be able to submit reasonable mitigation invoices for reimbursement after the claim is made.

In short, unless you have flood insurance, you do not have coverage for groundwater infiltration or damage. Your property insurance (master for condos) will cover roof leak damage and, under certain conditions, the repair of the roof. In condos, when the roof leaks and there is no insurance coverage, the association repairs the roof, and the unit owner repairs the unit.

Roof leaks cannot be addressed until the rain stops. No roof sealant will adhere to a wet surface. The best you can do is try to contain the water that comes through using buckets or trash cans. If there is a lot of water that threatens to collapse the ceiling, it may be wise to remove the drywall before it falls and causes damage to furniture.

Basement leaks are a whole other story. It could be surface water coming down the wall or the water table rising through the floor (hydrostatic pressure). Hydrostatic pressure can only be resolved by installing a sump pump to collect the water below the floor and discharge it away from the building. A sump pump system can be upwards of $100 per foot of the perimeter wall plus $500 for the pump installation.

Water coming from the surface can be challenging. We generally start with inexpensive fixes like cleaning gutters and downspouts and, if unsuccessful, progress to more costly options such as regrading soil or excavating and sealing the outside of the foundation.

Market Ready has extensive experience in investigating leak sources and giving guidance as to how best to address the leak source and repairs.

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