Believe it or not, there are three types of water. The first type is “clean” water from rain, condensation, leaky pipes, and so on. It’s relatively harmless to clean it up yourself. But if you decide to seek outside help, it costs around $3.75 per square foot for basic water damage cleanup (replacements not included). The second type is gray water, slightly dirty water from dishwashers, washing machines, clean toilets, and so on. And it may have some contaminants. But you can clean it up yourself if you remove it carefully and with proper safety gear to protect yourself. Professional water damage cleanup cost rises to $4.50 per square foot.


"Using truck-mounted vacuums with 2,000 horsepower, and dehumidifiers, we can extract moisture from furniture, hardwood, tile, even Sheetrock," Kent says. Even electronics like TVs and laptops may still operate after a thorough drying. "In fact, when carpet gets wet, people think it's ruined, but it actually ends up stronger than when it was made," Kent says.

To prevent water damage, you should replace your washing machine supply hose at least once every five years. Also, resist the temptation to overload your washing machine. Constantly stuffing too many clothes into your washing machine could loosen gaskets and valves or cause cracks. Take good care of your washing machine and your washing machine will take good care of you.

If temperatures tend to freeze in your area, be sure to protect your pipes. Insulate both hot and cold water pipes using heat tape or pipe sleeves available in your home improvement store. If you have water supply lines in your garage, keep the garage door closed as often as possible. Open kitchen and bathroom cabinet doors to allow warmer air to circulate. If you plan to spend some time away from your home, leave the heat on and set your thermostat to at least 55 degrees. You can’t control the weather, but you can put up a good fight to save your pipes.
For instance, it will be less expensive to restore a basement with an inch of clean water from a burst pipe than to tackle a fix caused by three feet of sewage backup. An inch of clean water would start at around $500 to $1500 to pump out and thoroughly dry it. However, the price of basement drainage repairs can increase up to $10,000 or more depending on the size of the space and the extent of the damage. Budget more when your space has been hit from contaminated sources, like a river flood.

If you have a replacement cost policy, most insurance companies pay claims with two checks. The insurance company will give you the first check after the adjuster has reviewed your damage. This check will be for the estimated cost of repairs, minus depreciation and your deductible. A deductible is the amount of the claim that you're responsible for paying yourself. Review your policy or ask your agent or adjuster if you don't know how much your deductible is.


Water damage is one of the most common causes of home insurance claims. According to ISO, Water damage claims are the second largest frequent insurance claim, following wind and hail damage. The percentage of claims due to water damage is also increasing, while other causes of damage have stayed fairly consistent or even decreased. It's no wonder people have a lot of questions about water damage and what is covered on home insurance, and why things, like "gradual damage" are not covered. Things get even more complicated when we look at the exceptions.
Water damage can originate by different sources such as a broken dishwasher hose, a washing machine overflow, a dishwasher leakage, broken/leaking pipes, flood waters and clogged toilets. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, 13.7% of all water used in the home today can be attributed to plumbing leaks.[3] On average that is approximately 10,000 gallons of water per year wasted by leaks for each US home. A tiny, 1/8-inch crack in a pipe can release up to 250 gallons of water a day.[4] According to Claims Magazine in August 2000, broken water pipes ranked second to hurricanes in terms of both the number of homes damaged and the amount of claims (on average $50,000 per insurance claim[citation needed]) costs in the US.[5] Experts suggest that homeowners inspect and replace worn pipe fittings and hose connections to all household appliances that use water at least once a year. This includes washing machines, dishwashers, kitchen sinks and bathroom lavatories, refrigerator icemakers, water softeners and humidifiers. A few US companies offer whole-house leak protection systems utilizing flow-based technologies. A number of insurance companies offer policy holders reduced rates for installing a whole-house leak protection system.
×