- Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?
For the average Joe or Jane, water damage coverage within a homeowners insurance policy is often one of the trickiest subjects to understand. It’s also one of the costliest claims a homeowner can file.
Before we go into too much detail, let’s take a brief look at some of the most common water damage issues to see if you’re covered.
Water damage caused by floods? Nope, that’s never covered under your homeowners insurance policy. You’ll have to purchase separate flood insurance coverage.
Water damage caused by sewage backup? That’s only covered if you add an endorsement or rider to your policy. But it’s usually pretty easy to add if your home insurance company offers it.
Water damage caused by negligence on behalf of the homeowner? Nope, that’s never covered. You must be sure to check often for water damage so you can catch it quickly instead of allowing it to build up and cause more destruction.
Water damage caused by burst pipes? Yup, you’re likely covered for that if the burst pipe falls under the “sudden and accidental” category.
Sudden and accidental issues can be caused by things like a washing machine hose breaking, discharge of fire sprinkler systems and many more things.
Ok, so let’s get into the nitty gritty and take a look at some of the most common questions about homeowners insurance water damage coverage.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage from a Leaking Roof?
If the water damage was caused by a covered peril — like a hurricane, fallen tree or hail — your homeowners insurance should be able to cover repairs to the roof and anything that may have been damaged by the water.
If your roof is way out of date and you haven’t had it repaired or replaced in many, many years, you may be out of luck, though. Roofs don’t last forever, so you have to make sure they’re properly maintained, constructed and within their average lifespan.
If all of those categories aren’t met, you may not be covered because your home insurance company could look at the damage as negligence on your behalf.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage from a Broken Pipe?
If the broken or burst pipe was caused due to a plumbing malfunction or another sudden and unexpected incident, your homeowners insurance should kick in and help out with the damages.
If your washing machine pipes suddenly burst and cause damage to the walls and floor, you’re likely covered under your home insurance policy because it would be considered a sudden and unexpected occurrence.
However, if a pipe bursts due to negligence or lack of maintenance, home insurance won’t cover those issues. If a homeowner notices a minor leak in a pipe but fails to do anything about it, causing it to burst a few months down the line, insurance won’t kick in and pick up the tab.
The same can be said if sewage backup causes your toilet pipes to burst. This is oftentimes considered an act of negligence, which is not covered by your home insurance policy.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage from Rain?
Damage from rain can be an extra tricky situation and is one of the most common forms of water damage claims for home insurance companies.
Rain entering through your roof during a powerful storm may be covered because it could be considered sudden and accidental. But rain entering through the foundation of your home — derived from flooding — is not covered by your home insurance policy.
You’ll need to purchase separate flood insurance to ensure that your home is covered due to flood damage.
If heavy rains cause the sewage system to back up and flood your home, basic home insurance doesn’t cover this either. For those instances, you’ll need to add an insurance endorsement to your policy.
Water Damage Insurance Claim Tips
If the water damage is covered under your home insurance policy, then Coverage A, Coverage C and Coverage D of your home insurance policy will kick in to help cover costs associated with the water damage repair.
Coverage A accounts for the dwelling portion of your home, ensuring damage to your home gets repaired. This helps pay for repairs to any part of your home that sustained water damage.
Coverage C is your personal property protection, which accounts for all your personal belongings that may have been damaged or destroyed by water from the broken or burst pipe. If your couch, clothes or electronics were damaged or destroyed, this portion of your coverage will kick in to help replace them.
Coverage D will kick in if the sustained water damage is exponential and forces you to temporarily move out of your home. This coverage will take care of additional living expenses you incur while your home is being repaired, including fair rental value and temporary storage fees.
It’s always best to consult with your insurance agent when building out a policy to make sure your needs are covered.