Homeowners Insurance Claims for Water Damage, Theft and Vandalism

Most Florida homeowners policies cover water damage, theft and vandalism

It’s a good idea to periodically review your homeowners’ insurance coverage and see what types of property damage are covered. The policy will probably include a list of property damage types, called named perils. If your insurance does not have this coverage for water damage, theft and vandalism, you should be able to add them as named perils for little or no extra cost.

Not all water damage can be covered by homeowners insurance

Generally, your homeowners policy will cover water damage that starts in your house including damaged caused by:

  • Leaky or defective plumbing and overflows from sinks and tubs
  • Faulty appliances such as water heaters, dishwashers and clothing washers
  • Other covered property damage such as storm damage, cracked retaining walls, and rain water that damages a ceiling after a branch falls through a roof

Water damage that starts outside the home is usually not covered. This includes damage from:

  • Floods and rising waters or mud from rainfall or backed up storm drains
  • Water that comes into your house due to a sewer backup or sewage system problem

Generally, you need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy from the National Flood Insurance Program.

Your policy may cover theft that occurs inside or outside your home

Your homeowners policy should include theft in its coverage. Most policies cover your personal belongings if they are stolen from your home or property. Also typically covered are items that are stolen from you away from home, such as having your wallet stolen by a pickpocket or luggage taken from your car. Be sure to check if your policy covers the actual cash value or the replacement cost value for the stolen items. Policies usually do not cover or require special treatment for:

  • Stolen cash is usually only reimbursed up to a certain limit and may be subject to a deductible
  • Jewelry, art, antiques, collectibles or other items worth $5,000 or more may require a separate rider or floater policy that covers its appraised value
  • Cars and other vehicles are covered by automobile or vehicle insurance policies, not homeowners policies

Property damage due to vandalism is usually covered in homeowners policies

The FBI defines vandalism as “To willfully or maliciously destroy, injure, disfigure, or deface any public or private property, real or personal, without the consent of the owner or person having custody or control by cutting, tearing, breaking, marking, painting, drawing, covering with filth, or any other such means as may be specified by local law.” What’s key is that the damage to your property or its contents was intentional. This covers instances where your:

  • Outdoor lights, windows or doors are broken
  • Lawn is salted, garden dug up or trees and bushes are cut
  • Eggs, food or other objects are thrown at your house
  • Locks or plumbing have been damaged
  • Home or any part of it is set on fire

There are many other types of pranks and malicious criminal damage that can be covered.

Contact a lawyer for help settling water damage, vandalism and theft claims

According to Florida law, insurance companies must pay your claim within 90 days of submission. But sometimes this does not happen. An insurance claims lawyer can help you get the compensation you are entitled to when you have a claim for water damage, vandalism or theft. An experienced attorney can help ensure that you settle your claim quickly and fairly.

Experienced Florida Homeowners Insurance Claim Attorneys

You can depend on the lawyers at Johnson, & Williams, P.A. to skillfully advocate for you in claims settlement negotiation. Our lawyers help homeowners in Orlando, Winter Haven and Kissimmee who have water damage, vandalism and theft claims. We are ready to help you. Call us on (407) 245-1268 or contact us online.