Flooding – Cause and Origin

Hangout with Steve Kaldis- BC Preferred Restoration
Cause and Origin are words you might hear from your insurance company if you ever have a flood. What do they mean, what are they asking for?

Mark: Hi. We’re here today with Steve Kaldis. Jason Knox was scheduled. Jason’s away dealing with a flood for a customer so we’ve got Steve Kaldis the owner of BC Preferred Restoration. How’re you doing today Steve?
Steve: I’m good, thanks Mark
Mark: So, BC Preferred Restoration, you can reach them at bcpreferredrestoration.ca and today we’re going to talk about flooding – these words cause and origin. What is that about Steve?

Steve: From the insurance point of view it’s something that’s going to be covered. They need to know what caused it and where does the problem originate. These are really, really important factors and most of the time, we don’t want to have a situation where the cause was due to negligence or something that was dripping and the homeowner was aware of it and it had been allowed to drip for a very long time. You kind of ignored it because you thought it would go away or it’s not a big deal and the next thing you know, you find out that it had been leaking behind the wall. Now your whole house has mold and so something of that nature would most probably not be covered by the insurance company.

If however, the cause was due to an unexpected, sudden and accidental crack in your pipes for example, then that would certainly be covered. So cause is one of the most important determining factors that determines liability and whether you’re going to be able to get help from the insurance company for your flood or water damage or if that’s something that you’re going to have to shell out hundreds or thousands of dollars to fix on your own.

Origin is tied to that. There are certain exclusions nowadays to do with foundation cracks that happen over time and that really could be argued that it’s a maintenance issue. Things like maintaining your drain tiles and making sure that there’s adequate damp proofing. So if water damage were to come through your foundation wall due to a slab leak then water damage that had that as an origin again would most likely be excluded; unless you’ve had certain types of upgrades to your policy called the weather guard – different companies call it different things but it’s an additional coverage that a home owner could ask for to cover them for all these types of things.

Mark: I guess a lot of that is about knowing where your house is, what’s the kind of common problems in the area; is there construction nearby, are they tearing all the trees off the hillside above you. There’s a million ways that you could have all sorts of problems. I know when we had a flood, one of the things the insurance company wanted to see a Plumbers Report. Does BC Preferred Restoration do this kind of work? Providing a Plumbers Report?
Steve: Absolutely and this is where we help. We help the homeowner to gather this paperwork and amass the paper trail so that it can help them. The Plumbers Report is really important especially when your plumber is there and it’s fresh in his mind. Plumbers always get busy and it’s a lot easier to get them to write you a quick report when it’s either fresh in his mind or before he’s gone away on holidays .

We had a situation about a couple months ago where the plumber worked in the home and then he accepted a job up in the Fort McMurray area and he was out of town for six months and unreachable. Everything was hinging on his report and unfortunately the homeowner didn’t think to ask him for one, not knowing that it’s important and it caused their entire renovation project to be delayed.

Mark: So what if I don’t know any plumbers. Can BC Preferred Restoration recommend a plumber?
Steve: Absolutely, we work very closely with a number of reputable plumbing companies. We have relationships with a lot of different professionals in plumbing and in renovations and in flooring, painting, electrical and because we have been working such a long time we do know who’s good and who would not be recommended or invited back to the job. That’s a big advantage to the homeowner to go through a company like BC Preferred where we have professionals that we’ve vetted. That’s often the biggest challenge because everybody sounds great until you first meet them and the people conversely that might not sound so great are really amazing craftsmen. It’s really tricky and the average homeowner unfortunately is under a big deficit when their trying to make this decision as opposed to people like us that manage and oversee hundreds of projects a year. Again we know the track record and it only takes one job or two jobs to know a professionals quality and how they work.

Mark: So, I remember that my adjuster, when we had the flood was saying that the cost to correct any plumbing problem was not covered by insurance. Is that the normal thing?
Steve: Yes it is, that is the norm. Let’s say, your water line is broken and you need to break up your cement, dig down to the pipe to repair it, the actual repair is not covered. However, the cost of having broken up the cement and to replace the cement may be covered. Although we have had successful coverage on parts of the job that really are the most expensive, like 80% of the cost is getting to that pipe, and breaking up the cement and replacing it, the actual cutting of the copper line and splicing it is maybe a ten minute fix. Again, it has to do with knowing the rules, it has to do with having the right relationships with the insurance professionals and this is again another big reason why people come to us for our help and our guidance and our expertise to guide them through this whole process that can be very daunting and complex.
Mark: So just to digress for a second, I mean, our situation what we had, we put in hardwood floors on the main level of the house and when they were shooting the nails in, the original contractors, plumbers had not followed the code and had installed the water line too close, and so the nail penetrated when they were putting the floor in, so a few days later we got this big sopping ceiling down in the basement and a massive mess. So I guess in that case because they hadn’t followed code the insurance covered it all but is that normal? I guess that gets into all kinds of slicing and dicing as to what’s going to be covered and what isn’t and that’s where guys like you who really now this and have done hundreds or thousands of jobs, can talk to the insurance company and really help.
Steve: Yeah, it’s an interesting point, very often things are not black and white. Very often, everything is shades and is a matter of interpretation and perception. Whenever there’s clear cut negligence of a professional, very often the insurance will cover it and then they will, what they call seek subrogation from the other persons insurance coverage. They actually pass the bill to that other professionals liability insurance due to faulty workmanship. Whenever that happens there’s a good chance the homeowner will be protected as opposed to if the homeowner had tried to do it himself you’ll still get – doesn’t mean you have an automatic exclusion but, you know the two cases could be seen differently. The adjusters are human beings and as human beings we are subject to discretion.

Mark: So, I guess if there’s, I know there’s a plumbing problem and I don’t correct it, what happens then? I guess liability wise in terms of the insurance and that it causes the flood and all that sort of stuff – what’s covered and what isn’t.
Steve: Mark, again it depends upon who you told, have you’ve been communicating that something needs to be fixed and whether you chose to negligently ignore it or was it an issue of you were aware there was a problem. But you as a lay person wasn’t fully informed or aware of the potential magnitude – that it can cause this result… so again it depends on how this information gets presented.

If this information gets presented in a way that shows negligence or omission on your part then somebody could make a case that you should not be covered. If its presented in such a way that we knew there was a problem and that you fully intended to fix it in good time but didn’t get a chance, you see the different presentation of the same example, right? At BC Preferred we strive to present the situation to help the customer, our customers in the best light as possible. Again we don’t bend the truth, we don’t bend the facts, we don’t manufacture them but utilizing the same facts, you know, one can present a certain fact in a certain way that helps the homeowner and helps our customers in the best possible light.
Mark: We’ve been talking to Steve Kaldis from bcpreferredrestoration.ca. You can reach them at 604-295-8646. If you’ve got any type of  flooding problems, these are the guys to talk to, they will get you looked after, get you back to living in your home and enjoying things and get your home safe, get rid of all the mold and water problems. Thanks a lot Steve.
Steve: It was a pleasure Mark. Thank you very much.