Homeowners Insurance and Water Damage

Kathryn PaviaAll Blogs, Home Insurance

Here is a very common question in the insurance world-What type of water damage does my homeowners insurance policy cover? We here at Advisors Insurance Agency will help you understand just what is and isn’t covered under a standard policy.

Where did the water come from?

This is one of the first follow up questions regarding water damage and insurance coverage. Generally speaking, water that comes from above (a strong storm) is covered under a standard homeowners policy. Water that comes from the ground up (overflowing creek) is typically not covered, unless there is an additional flood insurance policy.

When determining whether or not the water damage is covered, you must consider another key factor. Did the damage result from neglect or poor maintenance or was it due to something sudden and accidental? Typically damage caused by neglect is not covered, while damage caused by a sudden and/or severe accident is covered.

Perils

According to the Insurance Information Institute, a peril is a “specific risk or cause of loss covered by an insurance policy, such as a fire, windstorm, flood, or theft.” You must check your homeowners policy to confirm what perils are listed and covered. Some perils are not covered in a standard policy and require a separate policy. For example, flooding is not covered in a standard homeowners policy. A separate flood insurance policy is required.

Specific Scenarios

Okay, let’s get down to it. Here are some examples of water damage and whether or not they are covered.

Roof Leaks

  • If the roof leak is caused by an unavoidable accident or event, such as a strong storm, then it is most likely covered.
  • If the roof leak resulted from an old, neglected roof, then this is most likely not covered under your policy.

Leaking plumbing

  • Was this water damage due to a burst pipe or sudden breakage of an appliance hose? Then, yes, your policy will typically cover this.
  • If the leak is due to poor maintenance resulting from an ongoing issue, then you may not be covered.

Sewer backup

Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover water camage caused by sewer and drain backups unless they are specifically listed as named perils. You can purchase an additional policy or rider to cover sewer backups.

Flood damage

A standard homeowners policy does not cover flood damage. However, if your home is in a known flood plain, your mortgage company may require you to purchase flood insurance. You can also purchase flood insurance through the federal government’s National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) or from a private insurance company. Keep in mind, there is typically a 30-day waiting period after purchasing flood insurance before your policy goes into effect.

Related Questions and Topics

Mold

  • The source of the mold will determine whether or not your policy covers the necessary clean-up.
  • Is the mold a result of high humidity, flooding, condensation, or a preventable leak? This may not be covered as it is seen as a maintenance issue for the property owner and therefore preventable.
  • If the mold resulted from a covered peril, such as a weather related burst pipe, then typically the insurance policy will cover the repairs and clean-up.

What if I can’t live in my home during the repairs?

Most homeowners insurance policies include coverage for additional living expenses. If you are unable to stay in your home while it is being repaired for a covered loss, this provides compensation for you to stay at a different location.

How do I file a water damage claim?

Contact our office in a timely manner to file a claim. You can also call your insurance carrier directly. It may be beneficial to take photographs of the damage. Also, in the event any emergent repairs are made, keep notes and receipts.

Additional Resources

Take a look at these blog articles on related topics.

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