Homeowner’s Insurance and Water Damage

Water Damage-The Long & Short of it…

What Is Covered?

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy will likely cover water damage if it’s an accidental discharge or overflow of water from  a plumbing, heating, air conditioning or automatic sprinkler system or from within a household appliance (HO3 Special Form).  For example, a burst water pipe or water heater and the resulting damage to the walls and flooring may be covered under a standard homeowner’s policy.  Water damage from a sink, tub or dishwasher that overflows, may be covered as long as it is sudden and accidental.  Coverage may come into question, however, if there is a certain amount of mold which indicates the damage has been occurring over a period of time.  So “sudden and accidental” is key, which is why proper home maintenance is very important to avoid any surprises.

 What Is Not Covered?

Speaking of surprises, homeowner’s insurance does not cover ALL types of water damage losses.  Many homeowner’s are surprised when they file a water damage claim and it is not covered.  For example, water entering the home through leaks, cracks and seepage around the home are considered to be the responsibility of the owner and should be prevented through routine home maintenance. Which takes us to a misunderstood peril of flooding…

Floods: Flood damage is NOT covered by a homeowner’s policy.  No type of flood damage (inside or outside of the home), no matter the source of the water, is covered.  Flooding can occur from storms, saturated ground, overflowing or surging bodies of water such as rivers or ponds, etc.   Again, this is not covered under a standard homeowner’s policy, you would need to purchase a separate Flood insurance policy for this.

Rainstorms: Most insurers will not pay for roof leak repairs because this is considered to be a maintenance problem.  It would, however, cover the damage inside the home caused by the water damage.  If the damage to the roof was caused by wind, hail or something like a falling tree (which are covered perils) then the repairs to the roof leaks would be covered as well as the damage it had caused.

Water backup from an outside sewer or drain: You also will not typically be covered by a standard homeowner’s policy if water backs up into your home through an outside sewer or drain. You would need to  purchase additional sewer or back up coverage or endorsement that may help provide protection in case of such an event. 

**Please note: this is a basic overview of homeowner’s insurance coverage and exclusions.  This is not an authorization or guarantee of coverage.  Please review your homeowner’s policy for details.