Water damage is among the most common causes of people making claims on their home insurance. And although most homeowners insurance policies help cover water damage if the cause is accidental or sudden, there are a few instances where the coverage will not be available.
How homeowners insurance and water damage can be connected
Below are three scenarios in which homeowners insurance and water damage are connected:
1. The temperature drops below zero, and the water pipes freeze and burst. The floor is now covered in at least six inches of water. Is this covered?
Yes, a homeowners policy will cover water damage from burst pipes. But most policies won’t cover it if the house has been unoccupied with the heat turned off. In that case, the claim could be denied because normal upkeep would have prevented the accident.
2. A sewer backs up and floods the basement. Is the homeowner covered?
No. Standard home insurance does not cover sewer backups. Many policies specifically exclude sewer back-ups. Special endorsements can be purchased for sewers and drains.
3. Your washer overflows, and now the basement is flooded. Is it covered?
Yes, but it could depend on whether you failed to maintain the washer properly. In most cases, it will be determined that sudden, accidental damage to the appliance caused the flooding, and the claim will be paid.
What type of water damage is covered by home insurance?
Water damage is covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. The damage is covered as long as it was deemed to be sudden internal water damage. Insurance will not cover damage due to lack of maintenance or neglect. It will also not cover damages that resulted from a flood.
In addition to being sudden and internal, the damaging water may never have touched the outside ground. Water damage must be the result of one of the 16 perils covered by homeowners insurance. Here are some specific questions about water damage:
Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from rain?
Homeowners insurance will cover water damage from the rain in many cases, although not always. That’s because there is some gray area between “water damage” and “flooding.”
For example, an old roof starts leaking into your bedroom. Your insurance will probably pay for the damage to the interior but not for the roof. And if heavy rains cause water damage in your basement, that is considered to be flooding, which your standard homeowners policy does not cover.
Does insurance cover water leaks?
Water damage from leaky appliances or pipes must be “sudden and accidental” for it to be covered by insurance. For instance: A pipe bursts while you’re washing clothes. The washer is located in an upper floor room, and the leak causes damage to the second and first floors. The damage is covered.
Slower leaks might also be covered as long as they were reported as soon as someone noticed them. Don’t ignore ceiling water damage until it becomes serious. It will probably not be covered by insurance. Insurance adjusters can usually tell if water damage is fresh.
What about the mold that comes from water damage?
Mold will not be covered if it’s the result of lack of maintenance or neglect. If a pipe has been leaking for years and gone without repairs, any mold that grew as a result would not be covered.
However, mold could be covered by your home insurance when it comes from water damage that is related to a common peril. For example, if a burst pipe allowed mold to grow, homeowners insurance will cover some or all of the cost to remove it since the mold would be considered an extension of “water damage.”
Make sure your homeowners insurance covers water damage
Call or visit the insurance professionals at NSI Insurance Group. Let us find a homeowners policy that gives you the best possible protection from water damage. NSI Insurance Group is an independent insurance agency in Miami, Florida, representing some of the finest and most reputable insurance companies around.