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Is water damage liability required for compensation?

With El Nino making it more likely that California residents and businesses might experience water damage in homes and buildings, it's a good time to get your paperwork in order and understand how you might seek compensation if such damage occurs. One thing worth checking on is whether you have — or qualify for — flood insurance. Flood insurance can help cover any damages from storm water issues.

However, not every home or building qualifies for such insurance, and even if it does, should your policy pay for damages if they are someone else's fault? In some cases, if construction defects or building issues caused the flood or water damage to occur and the damage would not have otherwise occurred, even given the rain or storm, you might be able to seek compensation from the builder, contractor or other party.

When you hire a contractor to work on a building in an area that is prone to El Nino storms, heavy rains or flooding, it can be a good idea to ask some questions. Does the contractor have experience with these issues and a good track record of quality performance that doesn't leave buildings vulnerable to water damage? Questions about experience or quality are never out of place when dealing with contractors.

You might also want to ask whether the contractor has insurance that will cover liability for water damage. Such plans help cover the costs of water damage that occurs because of unintentional liability on the part of a contractor. For example, if a contractor builds something and misses an important coating or protective aspect, if water damage occurs, this type of insurance might cover your losses.

If you are dealing with water damage and can't get a contractor or insurance company to cover your losses, it might be time to take legal action. Working with a construction dispute attorney can help you seek compensation.

Source: Investopedia, "Water Damage Legal Liability Insurance," accessed Feb. 19, 2016

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