Does Insurance Cover Water Intrusion?
Based on conversations with some of our clients about whether a water intrusion damage is covered by insurance or not highlights that there seems to be a grey area to navigate. Generally, insurance policies are designed to cover sudden and accidental damage, so they may only cover damage that has been caused by a sudden and unforeseeable weather event as a direct effect of wind, hail, storm and flash flood. (If you live in a flood-prone area, it is best to check with your insurance provider to find out if your property is covered.)
This means that many insurance policies may not cover water damage as a result of water penetration by failing waterproofing that is caused over time due to normal rainfall because the damage should not be a result of a damage over time due to for example:
- Building deterioration
- Damage caused by seepage coming through cracks in the foundation or at the exterior of the building
- Poor repairs or evidence of lack of repairs to the building in general in addition to pipes, taps, roof, roof parts and electrical wiring.
If your property is managed by a body corporate, the body corporate is required to hold a property insurance and is responsible for all common areas and the structural elements of the building.
Find more information related to flood insurance here
HOW PROLONGED RAIN CAN AFFECT YOUR BUILDING
Water leaking into the basement after heavy rain is a common occurrence. Water always finds a way, so basement waterproofing and adequate drainage are especially needed in cases where groundwater is likely to build up in the soil and cause a rise in the water table closer to the surface.
Underground car parks, basements, lift pits and even buildings that are cut into a hillside (making them partially subterranean) are often subject to increased hydrostatic pressure during a heavy or prolonged rainstorm. The hydrostatic pressure from the rising water table and the lateral pressure from saturated soil are pushing the excess water into basements slabs, foundation and retaining walls making them susceptible to water ingress through cracks, porous building materials, holes, joints and/or inadequate waterproofing.
It is important to take note that even if the waterproofing system is in perfect condition, water can still enter the property through the cold joints around the perimeter of the slab due to the increased hydrostatic pressure. Water ingress in the floor to wall joint is commonly experienced during heavy rain due to the rising water table bringing the groundwater closer to the surface. This increases the hydrostatic pressure to the slab of your building and it can force water to pass through the construction joint between the floor and the wall, so that this joint effectively begins working as a highway passage for water.
We often see in Brisbane and Sydney areas that buildings that are cut into a hillside stand a greater risk of having the “hillside side” affected by hydrostatic and lateral pressure if adequate steps to redirect the water are not taken. Poor drainage may cause water to collect against a concrete foundation and retaining walls during heavy and persistent rain events and may build up the volume to cause problems attributable to lateral and hydrostatic pressure. Steps taken to direct water flow away from basements/foundations and eliminate pooling will reduce the chances of water build up around the building.
TIPS ON HOW TO KEEP WATER AWAY FROM THE BASEMENT STRUCTURE:
- Inspect the walls and floors. If cracks appear, repair or seal them immediately. Water has a way of finding a small entryway and then making it bigger over time.
- Install gutters and downspouts away from the foundation.
- Ensure that the ground has a graded fall that guides water away from the foundation.
- Drainage layer of gravel eliminates trapping water-laden soil against foundation walls.
- Drains below slabs that direct water to natural exit.
- Ensure that the interior basement waterproofing is intact to prevent water ingress. Wall to floor joints in infill slabs and retaining walls often act at basement leakage points. This can cost-effectively be remediated with a targeted high-pressure injection of resin into cracks and joints to create a deep waterproof seal, membrane repair/refurbishment or protective coating application.
AT WATERSTOP SOLUTIONS, WE SPECIALISE IN INTERIOR BASEMENT WATERPROOFING SYSTEMS
A wet basement can be treated by targeted high-pressure injection into the wall-floor joint and/or into vertical joints, such as between contiguous piles. The injected hydrophilic polyurethane liquid chases the water deep into cracks and forms a flexible watertight seal. This remedial waterproofing treatment can be followed by the application of an epoxy coating or a negative side membrane.
The waterproofing membrane systems we use create an effective barrier against waterborne salts. They are also resistant to atmospheric gases and comply with potable water safety standards.
The systems are supported by the manufacturer’s warranty for 10 years, which is extendable to a further 10 years with a maintenance application.
Our highly-skilled technicians frequently perform remedial high-pressure leak-sealing injection to stop water seeping into building structures. Whilst other remedial companies may average once a year (or at most once a month), our technicians perform quality high-pressure leak-sealing injection work several times per week.
Author: Waterstop Solutions
Brisbane office: (07) 3205 1899
Sydney office: (02) 9346 8308