Homeowners insurance is essential for protecting your home and finances, but it can also be complicated. This is especially true for homeowners insurance water damage coverage. Whether or not an insurer will cover a water damage claim largely depends on what caused the damage, as you’ll see below.
When does homeowners insurance cover water damage?
Homeowners insurance water damage claims caused by a sudden, unexpected event typically fall under the policy’s water damage coverage.
Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from a broken pipe?
When a pipe breaks or bursts suddenly, this is usually covered by a policy’s plumbing insurance coverage as it’s considered an unforeseen accident.
Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from rain?
A homeowners insurance policy usually covers rain damage as long as the damage was due to a covered peril, like a tornado ripping off a house roof and allowing water inside.
Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from water line breaks?
Water line breaks may be covered if they happen suddenly and not as a result of age or regular wear and tear. Water main breaks usually aren’t covered as they are the municipality’s responsibility to fix. Homeowners may be required to pay to fix the supply line that connects their home to the water main and this may be covered by their homeowners insurance.
Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from frozen pipes?
If a frozen pipe bursts unexpectedly, insurance companies typically compensate the homeowner. The exception is if the homeowner did something to cause the pipes to freeze, like turning the heat off in the home when going on vacation.
Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from sump pump failure?
A basic homeowners insurance policy often doesn’t cover sump pump failure, but many insurers offer endorsements that allow customers to add this coverage if they’re interested in it.
When homeowners insurance does not cover water damage
Homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover damage due to flooding or incidents arising due to a lack of maintenance.
Is water damage from flood covered by insurance?
Flood damage is a special case when it comes to homeowners insurance water damage coverage. While unexpected, it’s listed as an exception in homeowners policies. Those interested in this type of coverage will have to purchase a special flood insurance policy. This may even be required for homeowners that live in areas prone to flooding. You might sometimes see this referred to as hurricane insurance, though there actually isn’t such a thing as a hurricane insurance policy.
Does insurance cover water damage from leaking plumbing?
If a pipe is leaking due to a lack of proper maintenance, homeowners insurance usually won’t cover it. It’s up to the homeowner to take care of this issue before it causes water damage.
Does insurance cover water damage from a leaking roof?
Homeowners insurance coverage for roofs typically doesn’t extend to water damage caused by an old, leaking roof. That’s why homeowners should replace their roof before it begins to leak.
Does insurance cover water damage from a leaking water heater?
A leaking water heater is another example of an unresolved maintenance issue that homeowners insurance wouldn’t cover.
Does insurance cover water damage from a leaking toilet?
Leaking toilets aren’t covered because the homeowner should address the issue before it causes any serious water damage to the home.
Does insurance cover water damage from water seepage in basements?
Water seepage in basements is also considered a maintenance issue. Homeowners should seek professional help at the first sign of basement water damage to get the problem fixed promptly.
Filing a water damage insurance claim
Here’s what homeowners need to know before they file an insurance claim for water damage.
Should you file a water damage insurance claim?
There are two questions homeowners should ask themselves before filing a water damage insurance claim. The first is, “Is the water damage covered under my homeowners insurance policy?” The above information should give you some guidance on this, but you can always reach out to your insurer to ask if you’re unsure. If it’s not covered, there’s no point in wasting time by filing a claim.
The second question homeowners should ask is, “Will it cost me less than my homeowners insurance deductible to repair the damage?” If so, it makes more sense to pay for the repairs out of pocket than to risk a premium rate hike. If you’re not familiar with what homeowners insurance premiums or deductibles are, check out our homeowners insurance coverage overview.
How to file a water damage claim
Here are the basic steps to follow when filing a homeowners insurance water damage claim:
- Contact the insurance provider to notify it of the situation.
- Take photos or a video to document the damage. You’ll often find mold coverage in homeowners insurance policies, so it’s important to document damage to personal property as well as the home itself.
- Make any necessary emergency repairs. If the home is structurally weakened due to water damage, the homeowner may have to take immediate action to prevent further damage. Some homeowners insurance policies require homeowners to act quickly to prevent further damage.
- Submit proof of the damage to the insurer. Many insurers enable customers to upload proof of the damage through an online account. An insurance adjuster will also visit the property to make an assessment on behalf of the insurance provider.
- Follow up as necessary. It can take time to process a claim. Homeowners who have any questions should contact their insurer.
What to do if your claim is denied
When a homeowners insurance water damage claim is denied, the homeowner should take the following steps:
- Verify that the claim should be covered by reviewing the policy terms.
- Contact the insurer and ask for clarification if it’s unclear why it denied the claim.
- Appeal the claim. This usually has to be done within a year or two of the loss. Contact the insurer to learn how to file an appeal.
- Contact your state department of insurance. Homeowners who aren’t getting anywhere with their insurer can lodge a complaint with their state department of insurance and get advice on next steps.
How to prevent water damage in your home
Homeowners can take the following steps to prevent water damage claims in the first place:
- Be proactive about maintenance. Periodically check your home for leaking pipes or other maintenance issues and take care of them before they lead to water damage.
- Clean gutters and downspouts once or twice a year. Clean gutters help water drain away from the home.
- Insulate pipes in winter. This can help prevent freezing pipes.
View more information: https://www.fool.com/the-ascent/insurance/homeowners/does-homeowners-insurance-cover-water-damage/