Basement Water Disaster-Update

Discussion in 'Budget Board' started by smokeyblue, Apr 29, 2013.

  1. smokeyblue

    smokeyblue DIS Veteran

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    I have a natural spring that runs through a drain system in my basement. It drains to a sump pit and is sucked up and pushed out to the municipal sewer. My sump pump died and the drain backed up and water started coming out. This morning there was 14-18 inches water in the entire basement.

    I have an endorsement on my insurance that states "We pay up to $2,500 for direct physical loss to covered property caused by water which backs up through sewers or drains." The only thing that is listed that nullifies the endorsement is negligence.

    So I called the insurance claim person and started to explain what happened. She said, oh, your the 3rd call today, everyone has water leaking into their basements. It's not covered. So I told her explicitly that the water was not leaking or seeping in the basement, that I had had an inspection 2 years ago and an appriasal 2 weeks ago and neither came up with any water issues. I explained the drainage system and exactly what happened. She talked with the manager and they are going to send an adjuster.

    So, I'm out a water heater, possibly a washer and dryer (they told me to wait a week to try them out) and a whole bunch of clothing. I'm hoping that they inturrpert this the way I do. The way I look at it is that it's water and it became backed up through a drain. Anyone with a similar problem dealt with their insurance? How did it go?

    Also, our monthly "dump day" is Wednesday. I would love to get rid of these clothes and other ruined items then if I could. Do I have to wait for the adjuster to come or would an itemized description and pictures work? I set everything out in lots, like all t-shirts, all pants, all cami's and tank tops and srubs and took pictures. The lighter coloered peices show significant discoloring.
     
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  3. BellePrincessBelle

    BellePrincessBelle <font color=green>Nothing says Thanksgiving like s

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    That's a tough one because but for the fact that your sump pump broke(could be considered negligence for not making sure it was in working order) you would not have flooded, however it is ground water & ground water is almost never covered. I feel your pain.
     
  4. Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina

    Gina-Gina-Bo-Bina DIS Veteran

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    We had a basement flood in our previous home after a complete sump pump failure. Now, I have no idea if your American insurance laws are different than ours here in the Great White North, but because it was not seepage that caused the flood, our insurance covered the repairs to the house and the replacement of all items which were destroyed or damaged.

    We didn't have as much water in the basement as you have, but we still had to replace the drywall in all rooms to ensure that mold did not begin to grow. It was a big, expensive job that took many weeks to rectify.

    We had to not touch anything until the site was evaluated by an adjuster. I would hold tight on moving or disposing of anything until the insurance company has had an opportunity to carry out their own assessment. Still take pictures (so you have them after the fact) but I would leave the basement as-is for the adjuster to see himself (or herself).

    We installed a battery back-up sump pump after that disaster, and it was the best $800 we ever spent. :thumbsup2 Knowing that the battery operated unit would kick in in the event that the hardwired unit failed or lost power was peace of mind that you couldn't put a price on.
     
  5. msmayor

    msmayor Finding my beach...

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    I know of almost no standard homeowner's policy that will cover water in a basement unless some major object plows a hole in your house on a rainy day and water gets in your basement.

    We have a basement with an extensive french drain system and two sump pumps. One of our sumps failed a few years ago and we were covered, but ONLY because we had a specific sump pump rider on our policy.

    We pay less than $30/year for this coverage and it is worth every penny.
     
  6. smokeyblue

    smokeyblue DIS Veteran

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    I guess that's what's confusing about my policy. My old policy had specific language about failed sump pumps not being covered unless you had the rider. This policy has absolutely no mention of sump pumps in any way shape or form. I'm hoping the drain back up endorsement will cover it.
     
  7. taitai

    taitai DIS Veteran

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    Did you have a battery back up on your sump pump? If that failed as well, you might be lucky in terms of getting it covered. However, not having one could be seen as negligence. Good luck.
     
  8. pocomom

    pocomom Brr.....

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    the sump pump failed in our house within weeks of moving in.. foot of water in the basement did mostly sentimental damage- that is where my kids baby books and other things I didn't have a place for yet were being stored. I don't have advice, although we did get a back-up sump pump, but just wanted to say I know it's awful and I'm sorry you are having to deal with it:hug:!
     
  9. kathie859

    kathie859 DIS Veteran

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    Yikes, OP!! What a bummer!!!

    My DS had a sump pump failure a few years ago and it was covered by her insurance co. It seeped into a carpeted, finished living area so the damage and repairs were extensive.

    I would NOT discard anything until an adjuster had a chance to see the damage first hand. At the very least, I'd take lots and lots of pictures.

    Good luck!
     
  10. PatMcDuck

    PatMcDuck DIS Veteran

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    We have had our share of sump pump floods here. Even if the sump pump is working, we get long blackouts here, yes, Sandy was 8 days, but even before that, we get 2-4 day losses of electricity. We have a generator now, always ready to get the sump pump up in those cases. Also, sometimes the sump pump discharge thing slips off the hose thing inside the hole and you flood too.

    One wonderful little item that has saved us a few times is a LEAK FROG. that sucker screams like a banshee when the sump pump hold begins to over flow. they have them on Woot.com every few months, have tried other brands of alarms, but the Leak Frog is the best one we have found.

    Good luck with the insurance claim, we never had a claim, our water is from the high water table in the spring, and sometimes fall. Our last flood about month ago was from a failed sump pump....... it was over 15 years old though.
     
  11. smokeyblue

    smokeyblue DIS Veteran

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    Thanks for the advice and kind words. I think I unfairly called this a disaster. It could have been worse. The plumber was unable to install a new pump right away, the one they brought was defective and the only one they had. At that point all the stores were closed and all I could do was wait until morning. The water raised 6-8 inches higher and my gas hot water was done for at that point. The were so great to me, they gave me the hot water heater at cost with free installation.

    It's a bummer to lose a bunch of clothes, but they were honestly not my favorites and a lot of them are a size too small. There were a few items that I will miss though. It will suck if the washer and dryer are done for. Hopefully I'll find a darn good sale if they are toast!
     
  12. seashoreCM

    seashoreCM All around nice guy.

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    Do not turn on electrical or electronic equipment (washing machine, television, cell phone, etc.) that got soaked before it has a chance to dry out, which could take more than 10 days. Unplug it or take out the battery as applicable.

    In the OP's case, I would say that negligence is subject to interpretation and analysis of the specific facts. I do not consider sudden failure of what appears to be a perfectly normal sump pump to be due to negligence.
     
  13. mistysue

    mistysue DIS Veteran

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    Are you allowed to pump a drain into your sewer there?
    I know both the house I grew up in and where live now, that is against our sewer regulations so you may want to look into that. If it was that way when you moved in, a lot of people set up something like that not realizing it's not allowed. That could effect your claim.

    Besides that, around here a drain back up means the drain actually backs up. (as in comes backwards up into the house) That is not the same as water from inside the house not being sent into the drain. It sounds like the water didn't come from the drain, it came from a spring into the dirt by the house, then your pump didn't put it into the drain in the first place. The situation sucks and I really feel for you, just try to think through and know responses to those ones in case they get brought up.
     
  14. smokeyblue

    smokeyblue DIS Veteran

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    The insurance paid my claim! It was a bit iffy if they were going to pay or not, but their adjuster really made some huge omissions bordering on lying on his report which I could otherwise substantiate through the plumber and photos.
     
  15. bdcp

    bdcp DIS Veteran

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    I know someone whose basement flooded during TS Sandy and USAA paid their claim as a sump pump failure (power out) and not just a flood. Water was backing up from the sump pump into the basement initially before it started coming in everywhere. Gotta love USAA. We just had our roof replaced through USAA due to hail damage. We have a very large roof and the estimate was 18K.

    We put a battery back up on our sump pump about 7 years ago (changed the battery once so far). Nice to have that for temporary power outages. Won't do much good after a storm like Sandy and days without power. Marine batteries only last so long.
     
  16. seashoreCM

    seashoreCM All around nice guy.

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    If the backup sump pump uses a 12 volt battery you could hook up your car to the sump pump battery when the latter gets low on juice and leave the engine running for a few hours at a stretch. Just be sure that the car is outdoors and not too close to any window. The wires don't have to be as heavy as jumper cable wires; I would suggest 10 gauge wire up to 50 feet and 8 gauge wire up to 100 feet.
     
  17. CyndiLooWho

    CyndiLooWho DIS Veteran

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    Glad it ended up being covered. My folks never finished their basement b/c of periodic flooding when the electric would go out, killing the sump. Dad now has a battery backup sump, a small generator for longer outages (think ice storms), *and* he keeps a brand new one ready to install. They also have almost everything in the basement on shelves about 9" off the floor or in plastic bins, which will often float through the mess unless they are too heavy. They at least have the bonus of being 18" tall so the water won't get into them unless everything goes south in a huge hurry.
     
  18. smokeyblue

    smokeyblue DIS Veteran

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    I'm thinking about getting a portable pump in case the new one fails in the future. My dad thought they were over $400, but I've had other people tell me lately that the are only around $150. It was so crazy how fast my basement filled up. Within an hour my 1000 square foot basement was 4 inches deep.

    Luckily I don't have any problem with the power going out. In two years its only flickerd twice and has never gone out. It's probably because I'm 2 blocks from the board of light and power.
     

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