Water-damaged ceiling © Cynthia Farmer/Shutterstock.com

Dear Insurance Adviser,
Our dishwasher has been leaking for quite some time. The boards supporting it have some rot, and the drywall on the basement ceiling has some mold. But until the basement ceiling bulged, we had no visible sign on the ceiling or on the kitchen floor that leaking was an issue. Our home insurance company is denying the claim because it says the leak has been ongoing. We have been with the insurer for more than 15 years, with no claims. Do I have grounds for dispute or appeal? Or am I wasting my time?
— Margaret

Dear Margaret,
I do think you have grounds for an appeal. Home insurance policies don’t cover damage from mold, seepage, wet rot or dry rot, etc. But most policies have an exception to the exclusion that covers such claims if the damage was hidden in walls, beneath floors or above the ceiling and could not have been discovered by the homeowner earlier.

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To determine whether you have coverage, you’ll have to see if the policy’s seepage exclusion contains this exception language.

A second condition for coverage is that the water damage must come from the household plumbing system, which includes appliances. A leaky dishwasher qualifies.

The one part of your home insurance claim that won’t be covered is the cost to repair the leaky dishwasher.

The easiest way to appeal this is to ask your agent to do it for you. He or she can help you figure out whether you have exception coverage and then talk to the claims people on your behalf.

Please keep me updated on how this turns out for you. Good luck!

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