Water Damage in the Home… What is covered?

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Tools and toolbox lying on flood damaged floor

What kinds of water damage are covered by my homeowner’s insurance policy? 


Water damage that is considered “sudden and accidental” is usually covered (like a burst pipe). What is not covered is gradual damage. For instance, gradual water damage is not covered by a leaking bathroom sink that rotted out your subfloor. Another category that is not covered is flooding, as in a flood from a storm surge during a hurricane.

Flood insuranceWater damage this IS COVERED by homeowners insurance typically includes the following.

Burst pipes. This can include a frozen pipe that bursts. If you intentionally turned off the heat in your house (for example, when going on vacation), the burst pipe claim could be denied.

Accidental leaks are usually covered, such as leaking plumbing or an appliance leak, like a broken washing machine hose or dishwasher line.

After a fire, water damage occurs as water is used to extinguish the flames. This water can come from sprinkler systems or a hose from the fire department. This type of water damage is usually covered.

Water damage from a roof leak, such as from a storm or a tree that falls on your roof, is usually covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy. Keep in mind, if an accident (like a fallen tree) damages your roof, you’ll be required to fix the damage in a reasonable amount of time. Failure to do so could result in further water damage that won’t be covered.

Natural disasters flooding

Water damage from storms such as heavy rain or hail is also usually covered.

Water damage NOT COVERED by homeowners insurance typically includes:

Water damage due to lack of maintenance or negligence, such as not repairing a plumbing problem or failing to keep the heat on during freezing temperatures.

Damage from intentional acts, like setting fire to your home or purposely turning off the heat during the winter.

Water flood mold damaged house

Water damage from “earth movement” like an earthquake, landslide, or mudslide. For example, if your pipe burst because of an earthquake, the water damage most likely won’t be covered. If you want coverage for earthquake damage, you’ll need to buy a separate earthquake insurance policy.

Water damage due to floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis. Flood damage and tsunami damage are excluded from standard home insurance policies. If you want coverage for floods, you’ll need to buy a separate flood insurance policy.

Property damage water damage insurance

Water damage that backs up through a sewer or drain. (Unless you have purchased special coverage for this problem.)

Water damage from leaks from a swimming pool or other structures.

Water damage from seepage or leaks through a foundation.
The cost to repair or replace the source of the water damage, like fixing a broken dishwasher or washing machine.

property damage repair

Water damage from a sump pump failure or related equipment. You may want to consider sump and water backup coverage for those types of problems.

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