Water damage is one of the many risks to homeowners and commercial businesses that can occur no matter how vigilant you may be. You might be able to spot a leaky tap or contain an overflowing toilet to reduce the extent of damage dealt. Still, external factors such as extreme weather conditions can pose an unavoidable threat.
Spotting early signs of water disturbance in either the walls or the ceilings of your property and taking immediate action can help reduce the severity of the damage. Still, some sources of water are difficult to spot until significant deterioration is done. Water damage can lead to mold and mildew growth. Once the water has permeated a considerable area of your property, proper restoration works will be required, sometimes extending to an entire renovation of the affected space.
The good news is that most homeowners insurance policies will cover some, if not all, of the restoration costs for water damage. However, it’s essential to understand that water damage and flood damage are not the same thing.
Water damage vs flood damage
Generally, water damage refers to damage before water comes into contact with the ground, such as through a leaky pipe, a faulty home appliance, or severe weather that damages your roof or windows and allows water in.
Flooding is caused when two or more acres of normally dry land, or two or more properties, have a partial or complete inundation due to the overflow of inland or tidal waters, rapid accumulation of surface waters, mudflow, or the collapse of land along a body of water. Flood water comes from natural sources and affects more than just your property.
For example, if you and your neighbor experience water inside your properties due to heavy rains, it will likely be classed as flood damage. But if only your property suffers, it will probably be a water damage claim.
The sudden and accidental discharge of water into the home is often covered by homeowners insurance, encompassing most water damage scenarios. Flood damage is not usually covered. It’s important to carefully review your insurance policy to know exactly what is and isn’t covered before making a claim. Individual flood insurance policies are advised if you reside in an area susceptible to flooding.
The average cost to repair flood damage
How long is a piece of string?
It’s impossible to give an exact figure for the average flood restoration cost. A range of factors will impact the total cost of the works, from the type of water to the extent of the damage and which area of your home is affected. For all of the financial figures mentioned throughout this section, be aware that every instance of water damage could see a higher or lower price than stated, depending on the circumstances of the problem.
It’s estimated that the average cost of water damage repairs in the United States is between $1,300 and $6,000. Minor water damage can be less expensive, and large floods can reach tens of thousands of dollars depending on the extent of the damage and the property value.
Three categories distinguish how complex (and, in turn, costly) the damage will likely be to repair and restore:
- Category one – Damage is caused by clean water that hasn’t been contaminated with chemicals or biohazardous materials, such as from an overflowing tap or a leak from certain appliances. Restoration for category one is the most straightforward and inexpensive, often only requiring drying out of the affected area.
- Category two – The damage is caused by ‘gray water,’ which has been contaminated by a low-risk substance, such as food particles or laundry detergent. More care must be taken when restoring category two water damage due to the additional risk from the contamination.
- Category three – The most difficult and costly to repair and restore, category three damage refers to ‘black water’ that has come into contact with sewage or groundwater, potentially posing severe health risks. Not only will all affected areas need to be dried out, but everything the water has come into contact with will likely need to be replaced, including flooring, furniture, and other belongings.
In the flood restoration industry, there are four classifications for the extent of water damage:
- Class one – The most minor, where one area of one room has a small amount of water damage.
- Class two – When the floorspan of an entire room is affected by water damage, including low levels of standing water.
- Class three – This refers to when every part of a room is damaged, including the walls, ceiling, and flooring (and sometimes subflooring).
- Class four – Reserved for prolonged flooding caused by high water or extreme weather, such as hurricanes. Water will most likely have penetrated the structural materials of the property.
The combination of the category and class of the water damage and the location within the property will determine the restoration cost. The above figures are intended as a guide, as every scenario will differ.
Smaller rooms may have experienced class three water damage, but restoration costs will likely be lower due to the limited space area. Larger areas, such as a basement, will probably see higher restoration costs due to having a more extensive affected area. Rooms on higher floors may also see more significant costs due to the risk of the water leaking further down and disrupting the rooms below.
Every water damage case is different, so it’s essential to consult an expert as soon as possible after noticing any signs of water penetration within your property. They can provide a rough quote based on your explanation of the problem and any images.
Speak with your insurance provider to determine whether the problem is covered, then call out a flood restoration expert to start returning your home to its original, dry condition.