The Three Categories Of Water Damage Used By Damage Contractors And Insurance Companies

Posted on: 18 January 2022


Water intrusion claims are one of the most common loss claims homeowner's insurance companies receive each year from their customers. So, as a homeowner, it is important you understand how a future water damage claim will be classified and your property reclaimed.

Sources of Residential Water Intrusions

The source of the water intrusion can be from:

  • regional flooding
  • broken plumbing
  • appliance failures
  • groundwater seepage

Also, leaking roofs are a frequent cause of water damage in residential homes.

Damage Caused by Residential Water Intrusions

Water intrusion into areas not designed to be wet causes many different kinds of damage, including mold and bacterial growth, delaminating and swelling of natural wood products, and rusting and corrosion of metals. In addition, flooding water will also damage drywall and carpets beyond reclamation.

The Three Categories of Water Damage

When it comes to water damage losses, there are three categories recognized by all insurance companies and damage contractors. They are:

  • Category 1: Clean Water Damage
  • Category 2: Grey Water Damage
  • Category 3: Black Water Damage

To help you better understand each of these categories here's some information about each:

Category 1: Clean Water Damage

As the name implies, Category 1 damage refers to water intrusions of clean water, such as broken water pipes, flooding from a broken appliance such as a water heater or washing machine, and an overflowing bathtub.

The Category 1 emergency water intrusion restoration process is a lot easier and straightforward than those of Category 2 or 3. 

The steps of a Category 1 intrusion restoration are:

  1. stop the water flow
  2. survey the damage
  3. make a written plan
  4. drying everything out
  5. clean all of the dry items
  6. replace anything damaged beyond repair

Category 2: Greywater Damage

Category 2 refers to damage caused by greywater. Greywater is water that contains a significant amount of biological or chemical contaminants potentially harmful to people and pets.

Examples of greywater include basement or crawlspace water intrusions, urine-only toilet water, and dishwasher or washing machine discharge water.

The process of emergency water intrusion restoration for a Category 2 loss is the same as for Category 1 but the cleaning step also includes disinfection and mold treatment after items are dry.

Category 3: Blackwater Damage

Finally, Category 3 blackwater damage has been contaminated by water that is grossly unsanitary for humans and pets. 

Blackwater contains bacteria, viruses, and fungal spores that can make everyone very sick.

Examples of blackwater include:

  • toilet water with feces in it
  • raw sewage from a septic tank backup
  • storm surge water
  • floodwaters

Category 2 and 3 both have the same emergency water intrusion restoration steps, but Category 3 claims will require a lot more sanitizing than Category 2 claims due to the additional risk of illness.

For more information on emergency water intrusion restoration, contact a company near you.