Basement Terminology Help

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  #1  
Old 05-30-18, 03:44 PM
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Basement Terminology Help

I need some help here...

Homeowner's insurance asks to specify "type of basement", and one choice is "walk-out". I'm seeing definitions of walk-out basement to be one where typically, you're on a slope, and can walk right out a door at ground level. And this seems to be synonymous with "daylight basement".


The insurance company's definition of Walk-out is:

A separate, built-in exterior entrance that gives access directly to the basement from the outside of the home. Entrances may be located within an attached garage. The foundation will include any steps and/or porches needed for access. Also called a "daylight basement."


So how about a "walk UP" basement, where the whole basement is below grade (no slope), and there is an exit door, but you need to walk up a set of stairs to get to ground level? Would this also be considered a "walk-out basement" according to the company's definition?
 
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Old 05-30-18, 04:45 PM
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I don't think so. Sounds like they want to know if there is a door to the outside... or a door to a garage that opens to ground level. Not up any stairs... unless those stairs lead directly outside or directly into the garage (not into the house upstairs ... that is taken for granted you have those stairs).
 
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Old 05-30-18, 09:58 PM
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So you think No, huh? Well, there is a door to the outside, but their definition gets kind of confusing when they talk about the stairs, and what they mean by "directly". The basement has "a separate, built-in exterior entrance that gives access directly to the basement from the outside of the home". From the backyard (not the patio), you walk down a set of about 12 steps to get to that door. The stairs are also outside, by the way - they get wet, and the drain at the bottom, just in front of the door, leads to the sump pump. So I can't really tell if that is considered a "walk-out basement" under their definition. If they simply want to know if there is a door from which to exit the basement, then I guess the answer would be Yes. But it's not what most people would call a walk-out basement apparently. By "directly", does it sound like they mean "without going down steps first"?
 
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Old 05-31-18, 05:53 AM
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I would think that meets the definition of a walk out basement. The fact that you can "walk out" of the basement to the outside, as opposed to crawling out a window or small opening.

What is this for? Is this an application? For getting a valuation on the cost of replacement?
 
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Old 05-31-18, 06:01 AM
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Is there a bedroom down there and are they looking for an approved egress?

Sounds like it's time to get your agent involved to help with the answer.

Bud
 
  #6  
Old 05-31-18, 06:20 AM
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That's what I was thinking, have your agent help in making the determination.
I've always considered a walk out basement to mean that at least a portion of the basement and where the door is would be at/near ground level.
 
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Old 05-31-18, 06:24 AM
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The insurance company's definition of Walk-out is:

A separate, built-in exterior entrance that gives access directly to the basement from the outside of the home.
What you describe meets this definition.
 
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Old 05-31-18, 11:03 PM
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Thanks for the input everybody. I was just looking over the specifics of my policy, and they ask the Walkout basement - Yes or No question, and I have it set to Yes, but then reading their definition closely, I started thinking maybe No?

I haven't looked at how a Yes or a No affects my coverage, if at all, but I'm generally hesitant to ask the insurance company anything, because you know, you just ask an innocent question, and suddenly you've officially filed a claim, or admitted you upgraded something, or told them you have a leaky roof or whatnot, so I thought I'd just get some feedback here first. So anyway, I guess I will have to ask directly to make sure what exactly they mean, and if I have it right.
 
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Old 05-31-18, 11:23 PM
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That is why we suggested you talk to your agent, they are NOT your insurance company
 
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Old 06-01-18, 10:59 AM
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I'll give you my opinion - I've always understood a walk out basement to be a basement that has part of the floor level with the outside. So basically not having to walk up steps to get out.

You have a below-ground basement, with steps (or in some basements, a Bilco door).

I have no idea which one is better or worse based on insurance premiums. If it were me, I wouldn't worry too much about it. They'll do an inspection, or at least a drive-by, and will adjust anything they disagree with anyway.
 
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Old 06-01-18, 09:41 PM
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OK, "agent" meant "real estate agent"? I was reading it as "insurance agent", as in the person I talk to when I call my insurance company.

It probably doesn't make a huge difference either way, I just found it odd that they are asking the question, but then don't provide a clear definition so people can easily answer.
 
  #12  
Old 07-25-18, 06:53 AM
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1. A sliding patio door with an approximately curb height (7 inch) threshold onto a small landing outside with one curb height paver or railroad tie or concrete step up to the lawn or garage floor.

2. A double hung sash approx. 2 foot wide window (sill about 3 feet above basement floor) opening onto the lawn.

3. A molded concrete stairway with 8 steps just outside a doorway at floor level in the basement foundation and covered with a bulkhead outside.

I would consider only #1 to make a walk out basement.

Many although not all zonings will permit any of the three to qualify as an egress for a bedroom in the basement.

I interpret this insurance company definition to include #1 or #3.

Since the insurance company wrote the definition, others' interpretations should carry considerable weight when it comes to claims; e.g. if the insurance company wanted to exclude a flight of 100 concrete steps up from a bomb shelter to a ground level bulkhead it should have stated something to that effect.
 

Last edited by AllanJ; 07-25-18 at 07:16 AM.
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