Many people use the terms “water damage” and “flood damage” interchangeably, but this is not at all accurate. When you have a serious water or flood damage event in your home, it is going to be critical for you to be able to accurately describe what is happening to both the insurance company and your water damage emergency crew.
So, what’s the difference?
- Water Damage: If your problem is caused by a burst pipe, a leaky ice maker water line, your dishwasher lines, your washing machine water lines or a faulty water heater, you are probably experiencing water damage. Water damage comes from clean water (that doesn’t contain sewage or hasn’t come into contact with the ground).
- Flood Damage: If you have gray or black water in your home, this means that it could contain contaminants and potentially dangerous bacteria. This can be the result of a sewage backup or from excess rain or a major storm causing flooding in your area. It can also be from a broken drainage pipe.
This distinction matters for several reasons. First, the cleanup crew will need to know what kind of personal protective gear and procedures they will need to follow during cleanup. A sewage backup must be handled much more carefully than a burst pipe in your wall. Your insurance company will also want to know exactly how the water ended up in your home, because different types of water and flood damage create different kinds of claims. Some flood damage is not covered by your insurance unless you have specific flood coverage. It is important to communicate the source and scope of your flood damage clearly.