Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?
Water damage is one of the most common—and costly—types of home insurance claims. It can result from several issues, including storms, broken pipes, and even appliance malfunctions. And while your homeowner’s insurance policy may cover some types of water damage, others it may not.
Use this guide to understand a little more about your homeowner’s insurance policy and what may or may not be covered. Armed with this knowledge, you can avoid footing the bill for water damage repairs and mold remediation and even prevent it from becoming an issue in the first place.
What Are the Types of Coverage Within a Homeowners Insurance Policy?
Water damage doesn’t discriminate. About one in 50 insured homes file water damage or freezing damage claim annually. Some of these water damage claims are covered by insurance, depending on each homeowner’s policy.
Generally speaking, homeowner’s insurance helps cover four things: liability coverage for injuries or damage to someone else’s property, dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, and coverage for other structures on your property.
We’ll focus on personal property coverage, dwelling coverage, and other structure coverage, as these are most relevant for water damage on residential properties.
Personal Property Coverage
Personal property coverage helps pay for the belongings inside your home in the event of a covered loss. It includes things like furniture, clothing, appliances, and electronics.
Generally speaking, personal property is covered no matter where the issue occurs—in your home, storage unit, or even in your car. If a pipe bursts and drenches your computer, your personal property coverage from your homeowner’s insurance may cover the costs to replace or repair the damage.
You’ll likely still have to pay a deductible first, and you may be limited in your coverage. Re-reading your policy can refresh your memory of the level of coverage your policy offers. If it’s unsatisfactory, you can speak with your insurance agent to adjust your plan.
Dwelling coverage helps cover the physical structure of your home, including walls, floors, ceilings, roofs, HVAC systems, and more.
Say a severe storm rolls through and tears off your roof, or a pipe freezes and bursts. Dwelling coverage from your homeowner’s insurance may help pay for repairs.
Other Structures Coverage
Other structures coverage helps pay for damage to structures on your property that are not attached to your home. These structures might include a detached garage, a gazebo, a shed, or a fence.
If you have this type of coverage and a severe storm blows your child’s treehouse into your neighbor’s yard, you may be able to file a claim to help cover the cost of treehouse repairs.
What Types of Water Damage Are Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
The different policies for dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, and other structures coverage under a homeowner’s insurance policy will likely help pay for some types of water damage. However, there are many instances where they will not.
First and foremost, any incidents or damage that occur due to your failure to keep the house up to code will be your responsibility, not the insurance company’s responsibility.
Another one of the most common exclusions to homeowners’ insurance policies is flooding. Insurers generally define a flood as an excess of water that affects two or more acres of dry land or affects two or more properties.
So, if a pipe bursts in your home and only impacts your property, it would likely be covered by your homeowner’s insurance policy. However, if that same burst pipe floods your neighbor’s yard and basement, it would likely be considered a flood and therefore, not covered.
Sewer and Drain Back-Up
Another common exclusion to homeowner’s insurance policies is a sewer or drain backup, which occurs when sewage or other water backs up through a home’s drains or toilets. It can be the result of anything from clogged sewers to heavy rain.
While some companies offer optional sewage and drain backup coverage, it is generally not included in a standard homeowners’ insurance policy.
Pipe and Plumbing Problems
Finally, faulty pipes and plumbing problems arising from improper inspections or regular maintenance will likely be damages you’ll have to pay for out of pocket.
Insurance companies don’t want to be responsible for incidents you could have prevented, so it’s in any homeowner’s best interest to keep the house updated and safe.
When Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Water Damage?
There are a few different scenarios where homeowners insurance will cover water damage.
- The first is when the water comes from inside the home, such as from a burst pipe, an overflowing bathtub, or a leaking refrigerator, known as accidental overflows of appliances and fixtures. Dwelling coverage or other structures coverage will typically cover these incidents.
- The second scenario is water damage caused by something outside of the home, such as weather events like a severe storm, rain, snow, or something like a falling tree or vandals. In these cases, personal property coverage will usually help cover repairs or replacement costs.
- A third scenario is when the water damage is caused by a failure in the home’s systems or structure, despite a well-maintained septic tank or plumbing. Homeowners’ insurance policies generally cover plumbing incidents.
- A fourth scenario is when a roof leak causes water damage. Roof leaks usually stem from severe weather conditions, such as high winds or hail, and dwelling coverage or other structures coverage will compensate for these. However, it usually only covers interior damage, not the leak itself.
Other possible scenarios usually covered by homeowner’s insurance include:
- Mold as a result of water damage
- Water damage from extinguishing a fire
Frequently Asked Questions
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage From Leaking Plumbing?
Yes, most policies will cover water damage caused by leaky plumbing unless it’s a case where the leak result from the homeowner’s failure to maintain the plumbing or the issue resulted from a pre-existing condition.
When Water Damage Disaster Strikes, Call All Dry USA
Contact your insurance company to start a claim if your home suffers water damage. Then, take steps to mitigate the damage by stopping the water source if possible and drying out the affected area. Finally, document the damage by taking photos or videos and keeping receipts for any repairs or replacements you make.
You can count on the experts at All Dry USA to fix up your home after a water damage crisis. We can help get your home back in tip-top shape, from water removal to remediation and renovations. Get in touch with our team of water damage professionals as soon as possible.