Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Wear and Tear?

  • Homeowner
  • /
  • Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Wear and Tear?

Your homeowners insurance policy protects you and your property from several forms of damage, but it isn’t all-encompassing. The damages usually must be sudden or accidental, with little you could’ve done to stop it.

Read on to learn why homeowners insurance doesn’t cover wear and tear and what you can do to combat wear and tear on your property.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Wear and Tear?

No, homeowners insurance never covers wear and tear. Homeowners insurance policies are normally designed to protect against sudden or accidental damage or acts of nature. Wear and tear occurs naturally over time and can be expedited by policyholder negligence.

Homeowners insurance financially protects you from several potential sources of damage, referred to in your policy as perils. Generally, perils are sudden or accidental, like burst pipes, vehicle damage, or break-ins. Many are also acts of nature, like tornadoes, hurricanes, or volcanic eruptions.

Wear and tear isn’t a covered peril in pretty much any policy. In fact, damage from wear and tear is often named explicitly as an exclusion. You may see a line in your policy describing damage from “wear and tear, marring, deterioration” as not covered.

Policies don’t cover damage from wear and tear because it’s often too vague to pinpoint and not the insurance company’s responsibility. The features and structures of your property aren’t everlasting. Siding fades, roofs age, pipes corrode, stucco chips, and so on.

Your insurance company won’t just pay for replacements, as nearly everything expires or deteriorates over time. It’s not your provider’s responsibility to replace old items, only damaged items.

Additionally, insurers expect policyholders to perform routine maintenance to upkeep their property. An object’s usable lifespan can deteriorate more quickly than expected if it’s neglected. An air conditioner, sump pump, septic tank, etc. can cause extensive property damage if not maintained.

If the damage was preventable with basic maintenance, your provider wouldn’t cover it. The damage should be unexpected to some extent; failing to maintain your home can lead to predictable, preventable damage that your carrier wants no part of.

Your insurer won’t cover something just because it’s reached the end of its lifespan, especially if policyholder negligence contributed. There has to be evidence of damage.

Wear and Tear vs. Damage

For homeowners insurance, wear and tear results from what could be considered a gradual, expected aging process, while property damage is the direct result of a covered peril. 

Wear and tear is typically a natural process. As we mentioned earlier, property fixtures and features have a finite lifespan. The older a house is, the more likely it will have issues relating to wear and tear. This is why many providers have stricter underwriting guidelines for older homes and often require inspections

Property damage, on the other hand, usually has an attributable cause. The issue occurs because of something else. For instance, you see your shed has been destroyed because a tree fell on it. Debris from a tornado crashed into your garage door. Your home has been burglarized, with items missing and windows smashed. A pipe bursts from an unexpected increase in water pressure. 

Covered property damage is usually unexpected, accidental, or unpreventable. Most of the time you don’t see it coming.

How to Prevent Damage From Becoming Uninsurable

If you do see an issue arising in your home, you should get on it as soon as possible. A small problem that seems inconvenient to fix at the moment of discovery can cause extensive damage that will cause even larger headaches to repair later.

Problems that stem from an initially covered instance of damage can become uninsurable if your carrier believes you could’ve done something to mitigate the issue. 

For instance, let’s say you find a minor pipe leak in your attic caused by the aftermath of a hail storm. You put off repairing it when you find it because you’re not in the mood. You forget about it until you stumble on it a month later. By this time, the leak has festered, and you’ve got mold and ceiling damage caused by the water. 

Your insurer may initially have covered the leak. But, after letting the damage grow by failing to take action, your carrier may not cover any part of the damage, claiming that you could’ve mitigated the issue had you acted sooner. You caused damage that isn’t the insurance company’s responsibility.

If you do suffer property damage, you should file a claim as soon as possible. Do your best to mitigate the damage without making any permanent repairs of your own. You don’t want to make emergency repairs incorrectly and exacerbate the issue. Do your best to limit and control what you can.

Wear and Tear Examples for Home Insurance

Examples of wear and tear that your homeowners insurance likely won’t cover include:

  • Roofs leaking or caving due to age
  • Siding warping or fading due to age
  • Paint peeling or chipping after many years
  • Pipes rusting over time
  • Outdated TVs, computers, and other electronics failing

While wear and tear is often a natural process, there are some actions you can take to upkeep your property and avoid preventable damage that your insurance company won’t cover:

  • Regularly inspect the exterior of your property
  • Clear gutters
  • Check plumbing and pipes 
  • Ensure your smoke detectors are working at all times
  • Check for mold and eliminate dark, damp spots in your home 

A smart homeowner should keep track of all maintenance and repairs they do. In this case, you know when, where, and why you repaired your home. This log could be very useful if you need to make an insurance claim, so you have an accurate record of your property’s condition in case your carrier has any questions.

Is There Any Homeowners Insurance That Covers Wear and Tear?

You’ll probably never find a homeowners insurance provider that covers wear and tear, but there are some policy add-ons available that cover some associated damages, like equipment breakdown coverage. Otherwise, you’re better off getting a home warranty plan.

Homeowners insurance that covers wear and tear in all its forms doesn’t exist. That’s just not what insurance is. But, some endorsements can get you added protection beyond standard coverage. One option that many carriers offer is equipment breakdown coverage. 

It covers the repair and replacement costs of an appliance or system that fails due to mechanical or electrical failure. Covered appliances include washers, dishwashers, water heaters, and more. While it’s not quite the same as wear and tear insurance, equipment breakdown coverage is about as close as you’ll come.

Otherwise, you should look for a home warranty plan. Home warranties cover HVAC systems for a larger range of breakdowns and don’t need outside damage from a covered peril to be activated. Warranties also don’t cover wear and tear explicitly, but they’ll cover a different range of issues than your home insurance.

It's Time to Switch Your Homeowners Insurance

We partner with the nation's top homeowners insurance companies so you can get a custom policy at an affordable price.

The editorial content on Clovered’s website is meant to be informational material and should not be considered legal advice.

Scroll back to Top