We often get calls from clients asking us “does homeowners insurance cover water leaks?”. It’s a great question and something that doesn’t warrant a simple yes or no answers. There are unique details and circumstances that will determine if insurance covers water damage. We’ll go over a few common questions and concerns and scenarios we often get asked. Hopefully it helps you.
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Does Homeowner Insurance Cover Water Damage?
Most home insurance policies will cover water damage so long as it’s sudden and accidental. Home insurance policies can help pay for damage caused by water. Damage to your personal belongings, damage to your drywall, damage to your flooring and many other things. You have two coverages on your home insurance policy that water damage would be covered under. Those two coverages are Dwelling Coverage and Personal Property Coverage. Check with your agent to make sure you have high enough limits to cover any water damage that may occur.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage From Rain?
Homeowners insurance covers damage from rain in most cases. As mentioned above, it must be sudden and accidental. Also, as we’ll discuss below, rainwater that enters your home from the outside ground (flood) would not be covered under a normal home insurance policy.
Things like rain entering your home because of a bad roof, broken window, etc would generally be covered.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Flooding?
No, flood damage to your home is not covered under a normal home insurance policy. To have coverage for flood you would need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy. Scroll down for more information on flood insurance.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage From Leaking Pipes?
You will generally have coverage under your home insurance policy for leaking pipes and damage that is caused by those leaking pipes, if the leak is sudden and accidental. If there is a small leak that you could taken care of month prior, but did nothing about it, then that leak would most likely not be covered by the insurance company.
Damage that occurs to your personal property or dwelling structure of your house (cabinets, walls, flooring, etc.) would all generally be covered so long as the leak that occurred and caused the damage was sudden and accidental.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Bathtub Overflow/Leaks?
Your bathtub leaking or overflowing (your 5 year old leaves the water running and walks away) is something that will generally be covered. Again, sudden and accidental is what’s important here; and in most cases, a bathtub leaking or overflowing is sudden and accidental.
Water Damage Covered By Home Insurance?
Does home insurance cover water damage? The following is a list of things that are generally covered by homeowners insurance. Of course all homeowners policies are different, so it’s important to check with your insurance company to make sure you are covered for these things.
- Rain Water Damage (or snow)
- Pipes Bursting
- Leaking Roof
- Overflow or an Appliance (bathtub, dishwasher, toilet, etc)
Water Damage That Would Not Be Covered
As with all home insurance policies, there are exclusions and things that are not covered. It’s important to know what those things are so that you can be prepared in the case these excluded things happen.
Water Damage from lack of maintenance
Home owners insurance is not a home warranty program. It also doesn’t take the place of common maintenance tasks that you should take care of yourself as a homeowner. As mentioned above, home insurance covers leaks that are sudden and accidental. If it occurs over time and could have been prevented by common maintenance, then it most likely will not be covered.
Fixing The Actual Source of The Water Leak
Let’s say your dishwasher breaks suddenly and causes damage to your wood floor and cabinets. Fixing the damage to your floor and cabinets would most likely be covered. However, your home insurance would not pay to fix your broken dishwasher.
Most normal homeowners insurance policies do not cover water damage that occurs from water entering your home from a backup of an outside sewer or drain. However, most all home insurance companies offer an endorsement that can be added onto your policy that would give you cover for such an event.
Many people have questions on this one. Flood does not mean water in your house from burst pipes or a bathtub overflowing. When we say flood we mean outside surface water entering your home. To get coverage for flood you would need to buy a separate flood policy. Also, if you are in a flood zone, your mortgage company will automatically require you to purchase flood insurance.
How To Get Insurance To Pay For Water Damage?
There is no magic trick or words to say to get your home insurance company to pay for water damage. It’s important to keep up on basic home maintenance and fix small things as they arise. This will prevent large incidents and accidents from occurring. It’s also important to quickly address and fix issues as they arise. Letting things linger can and will cause serious issues in the future, issues that the insurance company will not want to cover because they weren’t addressed immediately.
As always, it’s important to work with an independent insurance broker who knows your situation and needs. They can craft a policy specific to you and answer any questions you may have to make sure you’re covered the way you want to be covered. For a home insurance quote, click here to get started.