Does homeowners insurance cover water damage?

A couple stands while holding buckets underneath their ceiling to collect water leaking from their roof

Homeowners insurance is an important tool that helps you protect your home and your belongings against the unexpected. One type of damage where homeowners insurance coverage will vary is water damage. In this article, we’ll walk you through the types of water damage covered by homeowners insurance, as well as how to file a claim for water damage and ways you can prevent water damage in the first place.

What type of water damage is covered by homeowners insurance?

Many homeowners insurance policies will cover water damage, but only in certain cases. Knowing what type of water damage homeowners insurance covers can make the process easier if you do need to file a claim. Typically, your policy will cover water damage from:

  • Snow or rain
  • Burst pipes, frozen plumbing, faulty plumbing
  • Water damage from extinguishing a fire
  • A leaking roof
  • Accidental overflow of an appliance or fixture
  • Mold (only when it’s the result of covered water damage)

Whether or not a standard home insurance policy covers water damage will depend on whether the water damage was sudden or if the damage is from a lack of maintenance or neglect.

What type of water damage is not covered by homeowners insurance?

Home insurance will cover sudden or accidental water damage, but it typically won’t cover water damage from:

  • Flooding: Flood damage is typically excluded from standard home insurance policies and requires an additional policy for coverage. If the ground is saturated and water rises or seeps into your home, it’s considered a flood by insurers. 
  • Sewage backup: Water that flows in from sewage or drains typically won’t be covered under a standard home insurance policy, but most carriers offer water backup coverage you can purchase to supplement your standard policy.
  • Leaks from poorly maintained pipes: Water leaks from poorly maintained pipes would be considered neglect by the insurance carrier and won’t be covered by your homeowners insurance.

Tips to Protect Against Water Damage

One way to avoid needing to file a claim for water damage is to prevent it from happening in the first place. While it can be difficult to avoid sudden or accidental water damage, there are a few precautions you can take to make sure your home is protected from avoidable water damage, such as:

  • Inspect bathroom plumbing: Check your tub and sink faucets, as well as the pipes under your bathroom sink, for any signs of leaks.
  • Inspect gutters: Avoid letting debris or standing water accumulate in your gutters, and periodically check the corners, seams and downspouts for any signs of damage.
  • Inspect appliance hoses: Inspect the hoses for your dishwasher, washing machine and refrigerator for any cracks or signs of leaks. 
  • Shut off water when you’ll be gone for an extended period: Shutting off your water when you’re on vacation eliminates the chance of a water leak or burst pipe causing damage when you aren’t there to address it. 
  • Properly store your belongings: Store valuables and important documents in areas where they’ll be safe from water damage, such as the top shelf of a closet in a sealed plastic bin.

How to File a Claim After Water Damage

As soon as you discover sudden or accidental water damage, you’ll want to contact your home insurance carrier. You should take photos and videos of the damage, and arrange for an insurance adjuster to inspect the damage so they can determine what your insurance company could pay for the loss. 

If the damage could make your home unlivable, you’ll want to consider making the repairs early to prevent further damage. Most importantly, you’ll want to keep receipts of repairs, as well as any receipts for food and lodging to make a claim for additional living expenses.

Secure Adequate Home Insurance Coverage with SelectQuote

Water damage can be one of the most costly damages, and having the right home insurance coverage can help lessen the impact of financial stressors that can come from it. At SelectQuote, we can compare coverage and rates from some of the most trusted home insurance carriers in just minutes. We’ll learn more about your home and your situation, ensuring you have a homeowners insurance policy that is right for you.

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