Richardson Homeowners Waiting To Learn Who Will Pay For Flood Damage After Water Main Break

Water service is finally returning to normal for many people in Richardson after a water main break there last week.

The problems are just getting started for those homes damaged by the break.  

Homeowners say they’re still trying to get someone to take responsibility for the incident and find out who will pay for the thousands of dollars in repair to their homes.

It’s possible homeowners and flood insurance both may deny your claim in a situation like this.

By law the water district has protections in place to keep them from paying your private damages.

Melinda Hutchenrider’s home was Ground Zero for the water main break.

Her floors, walls, furniture were soaked for hours as the water kept pouring in. She called her insurance company for help.

"We get a call a day after saying we’re not even sending an agent, you’re not covered, this is not our issue," said Hutchenrider.

Homeowner’s policies don’t cover flooding. You need flood insurance for that, but even flood insurance has very specific coverage.

"Coverage is dependent on numerous factors related to the damage to the building, and how the flood occurred. We strongly urge policyholders to speak with their individual insurance company" said a spokesperson for FEMA.

Homeowners in Richardson say their agents have turned them down, and the water district hasn’t made them feel much better.

"She told us this has never happened, we don’t know what we’re going to do, you have a claim number but I can’t guarantee you today that we’re going to pay for anything," said Hutchenrider after a call with the districts third party claims representative.

NBC 5 Responds spoke to insurance industry experts, FEMA, even disaster cleanup crews who all say there is no clear way these or any homeowner could have protected themselves from this.

It’s a liability that’s outside of their home and laws on the books often protect public utilities and cities from being held accountable. 

Ultimately insurance companies, homeowners, and the water authority may have to hash this all out in court.

In the meantime, it's left in the hands of the families to handle.

"We don’t have that kind of money, we don’t have that kind of savings," said Hutchenrider.

The North Texas Municipal Water District said they're working with the district's insurance carrier on the next steps.

They released a statement saying in part:

"At this time, the appropriate process is for the involved insurance companies for homeowners and the District to review the claims for available coverage. We understand this process is frustrating and time consuming, and we are working to provide further information to homeowners as soon as possible"

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