Water Damage

Is Water Damage Covered by Insurance? Answered

Explore the intricacies of homeowners insurance as it relates to water damage. Learn what's covered, what's not, and how to protect your home from potential water-related disasters.

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Hubert Miles

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Imagine waking up to the unfortunate sight of a flooded basement or the sound of a burst pipe in your kitchen, causing water damage that can quickly transform your once peaceful home into a chaotic mess.

As a responsible homeowner, gaining a comprehensive understanding of the intricacies of your insurance policy is crucial. One pressing question arises: Is water damage covered by insurance?

Homeowners insurance covers water damage that is sudden and accidental (i.e., burst pipes, leaky roof, faulty appliances, etc.). However, standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover flood damage. A separate flood insurance policy is essential to protect your home and belongings if you live in a flood-prone area.

Understanding your homeowner’s insurance policy is not just about knowing your coverage limits or how to file a claim. It’s about securing peace of mind. It’s about knowing your house is protected, even when disaster strikes.

Is water damage covered by insurance - a two page paper of homeowners insurance

Understanding Homeowners Insurance

Think of homeowners insurance as your financial safety net. It’s there to catch you when unexpected disasters strike your home. But what exactly is homeowners insurance, and what does it cover? Let’s break it down.

Homeowners insurance is a type of property insurance that covers losses and damages to your house and assets in your home. It provides liability coverage against accidents in the home or on the property. In simple terms, it’s your financial defense against unexpected disasters that damage your home or belongings.

Now, let’s delve into the types of coverage provided by homeowners insurance:

  • Dwelling Coverage pays for repairing or rebuilding your home if it’s damaged or destroyed by a fire, hail, or lightning.
  • Personal Property Coverage helps repair or replace furniture, appliances, and clothing items if they’re damaged or destroyed by a covered risk.
  • Liability Protection covers the costs if you, your family members, or even your pets cause damage to other people or their property.
  • Additional Living Expenses (ALE) cover the extra costs you incur for living away from home while it’s being repaired or rebuilt due to a disaster making your home uninhabitable.


Every policy is different. Take the time to read yours carefully and discuss any questions or concerns with your insurance provider. With the right knowledge and preparation, you ensure that your home remains your safe haven, no matter what life throws your way.

woman with burst water pipe calling for help

Does Home Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Your homeowner’s insurance acts as your financial umbrella when water damage hits. But it’s important to know that not all water damage is covered. The key factor that determines coverage is the origin of the damage.

When does Insurance cover water damage?

Homeowner’s insurance covers water damage caused by a sudden and accidental event, which damage is unexpected and not caused by a lack of maintenance.

Let’s look at some examples of water damage typically covered:

  • Burst Pipes: Imagine you’re enjoying a peaceful evening at home when a pipe suddenly bursts, causing water to flood your kitchen.
  • Leaky Roof: A storm rolls in, and the heavy rain cause a roof leak, damaging your ceiling and walls. Your homeowner’s insurance policy would typically cover the costs to repair the water leak damage to your home but will not cover the cost to repair or replace the roof itself.
  • Faulty Appliances: Your dishwasher malfunctions and overflows, causing water damage to your kitchen floor. Your homeowner’s insurance would likely cover the damage to your floor but not the repair or replacement of the dishwasher itself.
  • Vandalism: If a vandal breaks a window in your home and it rains before you’re able to repair it. This damage from rain will be covered by your homeowners policy.

Related reading: 10 Water Damage Insurance Claim Tips You Should Follow

When is water damage not covered by insurance?

Your homeowner’s insurance typically doesn’t cover water damage that results from a lack of maintenance or negligence. If you’ve been ignoring that leaky pipe under your sink and it causes damage, your insurance is unlikely to cover the costs.

Let’s explore some common water damage scenarios not covered by insurance:

  • Flood Damage: One of the most significant exclusions in your homeowner’s insurance is flood damage. Whether it’s from a river overflowing its banks or a heavy downpour that saturates the ground and seeps into your basement, flood damage is not covered. For this, you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy.
  • Unresolved Maintenance Issues: Remember that leaky pipe you’ve been meaning to fix? If it causes water damage, your insurance won’t cover it.
  • Water Backup from an Outside Sewer or Drain: If water backs up into your home through an outside sewer or drain, your homeowner’s insurance won’t cover the damage. Additional coverages, such as water backup coverage to your policy, incur additional costs.
  • Poor Maintenance of Appliances: If your old, poorly maintained washing machine leaks and causes water damage, your insurance won’t cover the damage.
  • Intentional Acts: If you intentionally cause water damage to your home (though we can’t imagine why you would), your insurance won’t cover it.
water damage in household due to flooding

Understanding Flood Insurance

Flood insurance is a unique type of coverage that’s separate from your homeowners insurance coverage for a reason. Flooding causes extensive, costly damage, a risk that not all homes face.

Because of this, flood insurance is typically offered as a separate policy, allowing homeowners in flood-prone, high-risk areas to adequately protect their homes without impacting the insurance cost.

You might be thinking, “I don’t live near a body of water, so I don’t need flood insurance.” But flooding isn’t just caused by overflowing oceans, rivers, or lakes. It also occurs due to heavy rain, melting snow, or even new construction that changes the landscape of your area. In fact, over 20% of flood insurance claims come from homes outside of high-risk flood areas.

So, if your home is in a flood-prone area, flood insurance isn’t just important—it’s essential. It’s the lifeboat that keeps you afloat financially when there is an overflow of flow. Without it, you’ll be left to cover the costs of flood damage out of pocket, which is a significant financial burden.

Preventing Water Damage: Your Guide to a Dry and Happy Home

Water damage is a homeowner’s worst nightmare, but it doesn’t have to be. With a little foresight and regular proper maintenance, you significantly reduce your home’s water damage risk. Here are some practical tips to help you keep your home dry and damage-free:

Tip 1: Regularly Inspect Your Home

Make it a habit to check your home for potential water damage sources. Look for leaks in your roof, walls, and basement. Pay special attention to your kitchen and bathroom, where water use is high.

Tip 2: Maintain Your Appliances

Broken appliances are a source of different kinds of water damage if not properly maintained. Regularly check your washing machine, dishwasher, and water heater for leaks or signs of wear and tear.

Tip 3: Keep Your Gutters Clean

Blocked gutters cause water to overflow and seep into your home’s foundation, leading to water damage. Make sure to clean your gutters regularly, especially during the fall when leaves are likely to clog them.

Tip 4: Install Water Sensors

Consider installing water sensors in areas prone to leaks, like your kitchen, bathroom, or basement. These devices alert you to leaks before they cause significant damage.

Tip 5: Know Your Water Main

Know where your water main is and how to shut it off. In case of a major leak, shutting off your water main prevents further damage.

Tip 6: Insulate Your Pipes

During winter, uninsulated pipes freeze and burst, causing water damage. Insulate your pipes to prevent this from happening.

FAQs About Is Water Damage Covered by Insurance

Navigating the world of homeowners insurance and water damage is complex. To help you on this journey, let’s tackle some of the most frequently asked questions about water damage and insurance coverage.

Does home insurance cover mold from water damage?

A standard home insurance policy covers mold remediation if it directly results from a covered peril, such as a burst pipe. However, coverages are limited or excluded for mold resulting from ongoing maintenance issues or negligence.

Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from toilet overflow?

Yes, homeowners insurance typically covers water damage from a toilet overflow, but coverage specifics vary.

Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from leaking pipes?

Yes, homeowners insurance typically covers water damage from sudden and accidental leaks, like a burst pipe. However, it won’t cover damage from a leak you’ve ignored or failed to maintain.

Is water damage from a flood covered by homeowners insurance?

No, flood damage is not covered by standard homeowners insurance companies. For protection against damage from floods, you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy.

What should I do if I discover water damage in my home?

Stop the source of the water. Then, document the damage with photos or videos for your insurance claim. Contact your insurance provider as soon as possible to report the damage and start the claims process.

Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from a leaking roof?

If the leak is caused by a covered peril, like a storm or vandalism, your homeowner’s insurance will likely cover the water damage. However, it won’t be covered if the leak is due to wear and tear or lack of maintenance.

What’s the difference between water backup coverage and flood insurance?

Water backup coverage protects against water damage from a backed-up sewer or drain, while flood insurance covers damage from flooding due to weather or natural disasters.

Related Reading: Is Water Damage Repairable? A Guide to the Repair Process

Final Thoughts

As a homeowner, your home is more than just a structure. It’s a place of comfort, memories, and safety. Protecting it from water damage is more than just saving on repair costs—it’s about preserving the life you’ve built within its walls.

Keep up with regular maintenance. Understand your insurance coverage. And most importantly, don’t hesitate to ask questions and seek help when needed. Your home is your sanctuary, and with the right knowledge and preparation, you keep it safe and dry, no matter what comes your way.

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Hubert Miles

I've been conducting professional home inspections since 2002. I'm a licensed Home Inspector, Certified Professional Inspector (CPI), Certified Master Inspector (CMI), and FHA 203k Consultant. I started HomeInspectionInsider.com to help people better understand the home inspection process and answer questions about homeownership and home maintenance.
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