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Homeowners insurance is a straightforward agreement that protects the structure of a home and personal property from dangers such as fire, wind damage, and burglary. But with regards to water damage to the home and belongings, some things have to be considered before you can get coverage from your insurance company.
Damage from water is not covered when it is caused by flooding or sewer line backup. However, homeowners insurance may provide coverage for water damage that is accidental and sudden, like when a pipe explodes in the middle of the night and floods the home. It can also cover water damage due to wind-driven rain, especially if a storm causes a hole in the foundation or roof.
Water damage caused by gradual deterioration or homeowner neglect is not covered by insurance, even if it originated within the home.
Figuring out whether water damage is covered by insurance or not is not always easy to do. That is why we prepared this guide to provide more information about it. Here are a few things you should know about homeowners insurance and water damage.
When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?
A regular homeowners insurance policy will cover water damage in a property if it is determined that the cause was unexpected and came from within the house. Certain perils related to weather that result in water damage could also be covered in a standard policy.
Homeowners insurance is intended to protect both the structure of a home and the personal property inside it from specific types of water damage. If you have to stay somewhere while the home is under repair, homeowners insurance loss-of-use coverage can reimburse for the extra living expenses you incur.
There are some instances when homeowners insurance can protect the home and personal property from water damage.
Water Damage Caused by Rain and Snow
Rain, snow, and ice dams that accumulate on the roof are often considered, as the weight of snow and windstorm damage usually fall within a homeowners policy. Water damage caused by wind-driven snow or rain, including roofs that collapse due to ice dams, may be covered. This will depend on if the damage was a result of a condition or event included in the policy.
However, if the insurance company determines that the water entered the property because of rotting, leaking, or corrosion to the siding, foundation, or roof, the insurance will not cover it. The policy will also not cover rain damage caused by damaged or leaking windows.
Water Damage Caused by a Burst Pipe
Most likely, your insurance policy will list this down as “overflow of water or steam” or “accidental discharge,” but water damage resulting from sudden blockages or bursts in the plumbing system can be covered. This includes outdoor sprinklers, fire sprinkler systems, water heaters, air conditioners, and other home circulatory systems.
Water discharge caused by appliances such as dishwashers and washing machines is also covered. However, it may exclude the repair or replacement of the appliance. Equipment breakdown coverage is needed for this scenario.
Water Damage Caused by a Separate Event
If water damage is caused by a separate but covered peril, the insurance company will most likely consider this a covered loss.
For instance, say your home catches fire, and the fire department that comes in caused water damage from their hoses. Your homeowners insurance can cover such damage, including the harm caused by the fire.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Ceiling Water Damage?
Dwelling coverage from homeowners insurance includes protection for home ceilings. If the ceiling is damaged by water, its coverage will depend on the source of the water damage.
For instance, if a pipe burst causes water to leak down through the ceiling, your homeowners insurance will reimburse you for repairs.
When Is Water Damage Not Covered in Homeowners Insurance?
Water damage that did not occur suddenly and is considered to have happened gradually will most likely not be covered by home insurance. Water that landed on the ground and flowed to the property is also not covered.
It is possible to include an endorsement to the insurance policy to cover specific types of water and residual damage such as rot or mold. Talk to your insurance company concerning what add-ons can be included in the policy.
Alternatively, you can also speak with an expert from ALLCHOICE Insurance who can walk you through the various coverage types available.
Floods, regardless of how they originated, are not included in standard homeowners insurance policies. This includes but is not limited to surging rivers, water seeping from the ground, and rainwater.
Water that comes from drains or sewage and finds its way to a home is not covered in standard homeowners insurance. However, many insurance agencies provide water backup coverage to supplement the gap in policies.
Poorly Maintained Plumbing
Water that leaks from old or poorly constructed piping and results in water damage can be considered as neglect by the homeowner. Most insurance companies will not cover this type of damage.
Water Damage Types Covered by Homeowners Insurance
|Type of Water Damage||Covered||Not Covered|
|Rain and Snow||X|
|Separate But Covered Event||X|
|Poorly Maintained Plumbing||X|
How to Get Insured for Water Damage
Insurance agencies do not provide standalone insurance policies for water damage. However, you can apply for an endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy to protect your property from specific types of water damage. Alternatively, you can secure a flood insurance policy.
- Water backup coverage. Also known as sewer backup or sump pump coverage, this type of coverage is a popular endorsement that residents can add to their policy to include protection against water damage resulting from a sump pump or sewer backup.
- Flood insurance. For those who live in high-risk flood areas, flood insurance is commonly provided by insurance companies especially if they are part of FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). You may also get private market flood insurance if standard flood insurance is not available.
Tips to Protect the Home from Water Damage
According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage was one of the main reasons for insurance claims by many homes between the years 2014 to 2018.
Water damage can be difficult to assess in terms of insurance coverage. What one agency views as immediate and sudden water damage, the next may perceive as having occurred over a period of time.
Water damage is simply one of the costliest expenses homeowners experience each year. That is why it is important to follow these precautions to ensure the home stays protected from damage caused by water.
- Check appliance hoses and bathroom plumbing regularly
- Turn off the water when you go on vacation
- Seal all the doors, windows, and the roof of the house
- Inspect gutters for issues
- Check irrigation systems
- Ensure that all belongings are stored properly
It is not easy to assess whether or not your homeowners insurance will cover the water damage to your home. That is why it is best to get help from professional insurance companies and always check the policy provided to know exactly what is included.
So to answer the question “Does homeowners insurance cover water damage?” Insurance companies will only provide coverage based on the type of water damage incurred.