Water can cause quite a bit of damage to your home, and it’s considered to be one of the biggest threats to your property and belongings. That is why it’s vital for you to know what your home insurance covers and what expenses you can expect to be compensated for in case a disaster strikes.
You may have homeowners insurance, and you may assume that’s all you need. However, the reality is that this type of insurance only covers certain types of water damage, while others remain uncovered. Even with that said, water damage remains one of the most common and expensive homeowners insurance claims. According to statistics, about one out of every fifty homeowners files a water damage restoration claim, which comes to around 30% of all insurance claims.
The helpful insights below will discuss what kind of water damage is covered by a homeowners insurance policy. We will also take a look at how you can protect your home from water damage and what kind of insurance you need to cover most kinds of water damage-related claims.
What Type of Water Damage is Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
When it comes to water damage that has happened suddenly and by accident, such as a burst pipe, it is covered by most homeowners insurance policies. On the other hand, gradual damage, such as a leaking bathroom sink, may not be covered. Natural disaster-related damage caused by floods, hurricanes, and so on, may also not be covered by homeowners insurance. Generally, the types of water damage that are present in a homeowners insurance policy include:
- Damage from storms: when a heavy downpour occurs, combined with wind, and it leads to any kind of issues with your property.
- Damage after a fire: If the water that was used to extinguish the flames has caused any damage to your home, then the repair may be covered by homeowners insurance.
- Accidental leaks: If an appliance or plumbing system leaks – for example, a broken washing machine or a dishwasher.
- Burst pipes: Typically, that’s either a frozen pipe that bursts or a faulty one that gets damaged over time.
- Ice dams: Ice that builds up in the gutter and damages your property may be included in your coverage as long as the damage happened suddenly and was not due to a lack of care from your end.
As you can see, quite a few things are covered by a homeowners insurance policy, but some vital ones remain outside the coverage. For the ones listed here, you can make water damage restoration claims, and they should be honored by your insurer.
What Type of Water Damage Isn’t Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Unfortunately, some water-related issues aren’t covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. The list of such includes:
- Damage due to lack of maintenance: If you failed to repair a problem that you knew about, related to plumbing, or if you didn’t ensure the house was properly heated and that led to damage, then you can’t expect for the issues that arise to be covered by your policy.
- Damage from intentional acts: If you set your house on fire or you purposely kept the heat turned off in the cold winter months, and those acts caused damage, then the repairs won’t be covered by insurance.
- Damage from sump pump failure or related equipment: You can purchase special coverage for those types of damage, but it’s not included in the standard homeowners’ insurance.
- Flood damage: If your home gets damaged due to flooding from natural disasters such as tsunamis, storms, water from overflowing rivers, and more, then the repair costs won’t be covered by a homeowners insurance policy. If you live in a place where these types of natural disasters happen more often, then you should consider purchasing a dedicated flood insurance policy.
- The costs to repair the source of water damage: If your dishwasher or washing machine broke and caused water-related damage to your property, the insurance policy wouldn’t cover the costs of replacing or repairing the appliance.
How Can You Protect Your Home from Water Damage?
If you want to protect your home from water damage, the best option is to take some proactive measures. The first one is to have a maintenance routine that you strictly follow. The second is making sure everything that gets damaged is fixed quickly.
You need to keep in mind that your homeowner’s insurance covers mostly accidents and not maintenance issues. And so, if you have a problem that’s small, but might cause huge damage later on, it’s better to fix it as soon as you can.
Unfortunately, covering all types of water damage with one insurance policy is impossible. And the standard homeowner’s policy covers only a few types of water damage. All the other types are handled either with add–ons to your standard policy or by purchasing special coverage dedicated to particular damage (such as the flood damage insurance policy). If you are unsure about your coverage or want an independent evaluation, ask about our free policy review program.