Homeowners insurance covers water damage that is sudden and accidental (i.e., burst pipes, leaky roof, faulty appliances, etc.). However, homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover flood damage from acts of God. If you live in a flood-prone area, you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy to protect your home and belongings.
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.
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. Simply put, 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.
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. These include:
- 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 causes 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 can repair it. Your homeowner’s policy will cover this damage from rain.
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. These include:
- Flood Damage: One of the most significant exclusions in your homeowner’s insurance is flood damage. Whether 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.
Understanding Flood Insurance
Flood insurance coverage is separate from your homeowner’s insurance coverage. 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 think, “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. Over 20% of flood insurance claims come from homes outside high-risk flood areas.
So, if your home is in a flood-prone area, flood insurance isn’t just important—it’s essential. The lifeboat 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.
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 immediately 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.
Does home insurance cover plumbing?
Yes, home insurance generally covers leaks from sudden and accidental plumbing issues.
Does homeowners insurance cover leaking dishwasher?
Homeowner’s insurance may cover damage caused by a leaking dishwasher, depending on the policy and circumstances. Review your insurance policy or contact your insurance provider to confirm coverage details.
Related Reading: Is Water Damage Repairable? A Guide to the Repair Process