Types of Property Damage Claims - Summit Cover

November 28, 2023

Property damage claims are a common occurrence in the realm of insurance. From natural disasters to everyday mishaps, it can arise in various forms, leading individuals and businesses to file claims to recover losses. Understanding the diverse types of property damage claims is essential for policyholders and insurers to navigate the complexities involved. This comprehensive guide will discuss different types of property damage claims and shed light on their unique characteristics.

1. Natural Disasters

Natural disasters can be among the most catastrophic events to affect us here on the East Coast, leaving behind irreparable destruction ranging from hurricanes and earthquakes to floods and wildfires that impact homes, businesses and entire communities alike. It is one of the significant types of property damage claims.

  • Hurricanes and Tropical Storms: Coastal areas experience the full impact of hurricanes and tropics, bringing heavy rains, storm surges, hails, tornadoes, and wind destruction to buildings, infrastructures and personal items.
  • Earthquakes: While not as common in certain regions, earthquakes have extensive devastation attributed to ground shaking. Structural deficiencies in buildings can cause their collapse or compromise of integrity, resulting in the loss of life.
  • Floods: Flooding can harm properties through heavy rainfall, overflowing rivers or storm surges and cause extensive water damage to structures, electrical systems and personal belongings. 
  • Wildfires: Wildfires significantly threaten properties in wooded or dry regions. These fires spread rapidly, engulfing homes and landscapes in flames. Even properties not directly impacted by flames can suffer smoke damage or destruction due to heat exposure. 
  • Tornadoes: Tornadoes are characterised by intense rotating winds that can cause catastrophic destruction within a narrow path. Homes and businesses in their trajectory may experience partial or total destruction. 

Before reading further, check out our blog post on Commercial Property Insurance Canada!

2. Water Damage

Water damage is a common and potentially destructive occurrence that can affect properties in numerous ways. Whether stemming from burst pipes, floods, leaks, or plumbing issues, it poses significant challenges to homeowners and businesses.

  • Burst Pipes and Plumbing Problems: Burst pipes due to freezing temperatures, corrosion, or high water pressure can cause immediate and extensive destruction due to water. Plumbing issues like leaks, broken fixtures, or faulty appliances can lead to it, gradually compromising structural integrity and fostering mould growth.
  • Floods: Floods can result from heavy rainfall, storm surges, overflowing rivers, or sewer backups. Water inundation into properties can cause harm to foundations, walls, flooring, and personal belongings. 
  • Roof Leaks: Roof leaks, whether due to ageing, missing shingles, or storm damage, can allow water infiltration into properties. Over time, this can lead to structural issues and compromised insulation, impacting the property's integrity.
  • Appliance Malfunctions: Malfunctioning appliances such as washing machines, dishwashers or water heaters can lead to water leakage or overflows, resulting in localised problems if noticed immediately. If left undetected, it costs homeowners time and money to remedy the situation.

3. Fire and Smoke Damage

Other types of property damage claims include Fire and smoke damage. It can have devastating repercussions for property owners, leading to destruction, health risks and emotional trauma. Understanding its nature and what steps must be taken for effective recovery is imperative for successful outcomes.

  • Fire Damage: A blaze can arise from various sources, such as kitchen accidents, electrical faults, candles or heating systems malfunctions and natural disasters, with catastrophic results including structural compromise and loss of personal possessions for property occupied at that time. Quick action must be taken immediately to limit further destruction of properties by flames.
  • Smoke Damage: Smoke can linger and cause extensive harm even after extinguishing flames. Smoke particles can penetrate surfaces, leaving behind solid odours, staining walls and furniture, and posing health risks due to inhalation. 

Also, read our blog post on Commercial and Realty Insurance Canada!

4. Vandalism and Malicious Acts

Vandalism and malicious acts can be disturbing experiences for property owners, with deliberate damage caused to assets on both residential and commercial properties ranging from graffiti vandalism, destruction to property or intentional defacement of assets by third parties. Such incidents have serious ramifications which impact both these sectors significantly.

  • Graffiti and Property Defacement: Graffiti vandalism involves individuals spray-painting walls, buildings or public spaces without authorisation - defacing property and creating feelings of insecurity in affected communities. Graffiti creates devalued surroundings by defacement.
  • Malicious Property Deliberate Damage and Destruction: Criminal acts often involve intentionally damaging or destroying property - breaking windows, damaging doors or harming landscapers in some way. Such destructive behaviour often has serious repercussions which compromise its value while jeopardising the safety of its occupants.

5. Theft and Burglary

One of the types of property damage claims includes Property theft. It can be devastatingly upsetting for its victims, leading to the loss of valuable possessions as well as feelings of violated privacy and indignity. Whether targeting homes, businesses or vehicles, these incidents have severe financial and emotional repercussions that impact individuals and companies.

  • Theft of Personal Belongings: Theft refers to any unlawful act involving taking property belonging to individuals and businesses without their authorisation and may occur anywhere, including homes, vehicles and public places.
  • Burglary and Home Invasions: Burglary refers to any unlawful act that involves breaking to commit theft or another type of offence on property owned by others with intent, while home invasions often leave behind stolen possessions, damaged property and emotional trauma for its inhabitants.

6. Impact Damage

"Impact damage" refers to any harm done to property and structures by physical collisions or forceful impacts from external sources, including forceful collisions between vehicles or external forces and structures or falling objects that cause collision damage and intentional acts that harm these assets in one way or another. These instances could range from minor accidental collisions between cars and structures to intentional acts causing property destruction resulting in property loss or harm.

  • Vehicle Collisions: Automobile accidents causing property collisions such as homes, fences and storefronts can produce devastating impact damage, depending on their speed and force of impact.
  • Falling Objects: Objects falling from heights, whether due to natural occurrences like tree branches during storms, can lead to impact damage. 
  • Intentional Acts or Vandalism: Deliberate actions, such as throwing objects or causing intentional property harm, can also result in it. Vandalism or malicious acts involving physical force may lead to property destruction requiring repairs or replacements.

7. Accidental Damage

Unexpected incidents that lead to harm or destruction to property, possessions, or structures are called accidental damage and are generally sudden and unintended - from household mishaps to unexpected accidents, they could occur for various reasons and are one of the major types of property damage claims.

  • Accidental Fires: Incidents such as kitchen accidents, electrical faults or mishandling of flammable material fall under accidental fires and require prompt attention and repairs as soon as they happen to avoid further property loss and repair costs.
  • Accidental Spills and Breakages: Unintentional spills of liquids, chemicals or substances can quickly ruin floors, furniture, carpets and other surfaces, causing irreparable harm. 
  • Pet-Related Damage: These incidents occur regularly within households where animals exist and could potentially result in the destruction of valuables in these cases.

Also, read our blog post on Builders Risks vs. Property Insurance!

Why Understanding the Types of Property Damage Claims is Important?

Understanding the types of property damage claims is vitally important for individuals and businesses to provide sufficient protection and timely resolution in case of harm to property. When facing damage to one's property, immediate steps need to be taken, including documenting any visible evidence, notifying insurance carriers immediately, securing it before further losses occur, etc.

Keeping accurate records, such as photographs, receipts, and documentation of repairs, can significantly speed up the claims process. Consulting with insurance professionals or adjusters for guidance will further expedite claims processing.

Final Thoughts

As discussed above, property damage claims cover an array of scenarios that require careful assessment and consideration. Knowledge of various types of property damage claims and understanding your insurance coverage is imperative in protecting assets and receiving adequate compensation in times of difficulty.

At SummitCover, we aim to equip clients with the knowledge and support they can rely on when filing their claims successfully. Our commitment to comprehensive coverage and personalised assistance gives you peace of mind while safeguarding what matters. Reach out today and learn about how Summit Insurance Solutions protects against various forms of property damage! Remember this to minimise the negative effect of property damage and speed up the recovery process!

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