What Homeowners Need to Know About Water Damage

Danika Miller
Danika Miller
Staff Writer

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

The short answer? It depends. The kind of water damage will dictate whether your homeowners insurance will cover it. Typically, if the cause was sudden or accidental, like a burst pipe, your insurance can help. But if the water damage is a result of poor maintenance or regular wear and tear, your coverage might not apply. You’re responsible for maintenance as a homeowner, and if the appraiser can find evidence of neglect or deterioration, your claim could be denied.

What Water Damage Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover?

Your homeowners insurance policy will cover water damage from sudden accidents that you couldn’t have reasonably prevented. Dwelling coverage will help repair damage to the structure of your home, like carpeting, and personal property coverage will help with belongings that are damaged, like a computer.

Some covered scenarios include:

  • Plumbing mishaps (burst, frozen, faulty)
  • Water damage from extinguishing a fire
  • Leaking roof
  • Appliance overflow
  • Vandalism

What Water Damage Is Not Covered by My Homeowners Insurance?

While many types of damage are covered by your insurance policy, the cause of the damage may not be. If you have a leaky roof, your insurance won’t cover the cost to replace the roof, but it will cover the water damage that the leak caused on carpet and floors inside your home. Additionally, your home insurance will not cover water damage if the cause is wear and tear or lack of maintenance.

A major source of water damage that is not always covered is flooding, including flooding from natural causes like rain or river overflow. For that, you’ll need separate flood insurance coverage. But if your basement flooded because the pipes burst, then your insurer should cover that damage under a regular homeowners policy.

Some instances where you won’t be covered for water damage include:

  • Flooding from rain, river overflow, or tsunami
  • Outdoor and land water damage (lawn, driveway)
  • Sewer backups
  • Seepage

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Mold?

Mold can pretty seriously affect the health of both your family and your home’s structure. Your home insurance policy should cover mold if the mold grows as a result of covered water damage. For example, if an air-conditioning system overflow eventually leads to mold growth, your insurance will cover the removal because it is an extension of covered water damage. You can also purchase an additional endorsement for extra mold coverage.

How Do You Prevent Water Damage?

There are a few ways you can be proactive about potential water damage to your home — saving you money and the headache that can come with filing an insurance claim.

  • Disconnect hoses and maintain vegetation. Water left in a hose can freeze, back up, and cause your pipes to burst, while roots from trees and shrubs can wrap around your pipes and break them.
  • Clear gutters and downspouts. Clearing these water collectors of any debris will prevent backup and clogs.
  • Maintain appliances. Regularly checking for leaks and maintaining the condition of appliances like dishwashers and laundry machines will help prevent sudden leaks or overflows.
  • Install water detection devices. These small devices have sensors that can sound an alarm when they come into contact with moisture. They’re great for catching smaller leaks that you’re likely to miss.
  • Monitor the water bill. If you notice a sudden spike in your water bill, there’s a good chance you have an unattended leak — whether its hiding in the basement or in a pipe under your lawn.

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About the Authors

Danika Miller

Danika Miller Staff Writer

Danika Miller is a writer for Reviews.com. Over the last three years, she has covered Insurance and other topics. She holds a bachelor’s degree in creative and technical writing from Western Washington University.