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Will my Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Does your homeowners insurance cover water damage? The answer is, maybe.

Every insurance company handles home water damage a little bit differently because it can be kind of a gray area. It is always a good idea to contact your home insurance provider directly or consult the policy itself for specific information on coverage information. But generally speaking, homeowners insurance tends to cover sudden and unexpected water leaks that result in damage. These types of incidents would include a frozen burst pipe or a washing machine hose that can disconnected. However, policies typically do not cover ongoing water damage or water damage that results from poor maintenance or negligence. If the insurance company can prove that you knew about the leaking water and didn’t do anything to prevent it or get it cleaned up immediately, they may deny your claim. Also, if the water damage is someone else’s fault (like in the case of a flood that occurs when work is being done on your home by a contractor or a leak that occurs after plumbing work is done by a professional) the company that is responsible should have insurance to cover that kind of accident.

Furthermore, some areas of the country are harder to insure against residential water damage than others. Insurance companies may make it prohibitively expensive in flood-prone areas to carry insurance, or not offer it at all. Ask your insurance provider what your options are for flood insurance as an add-on to your standard policy. Commercial property owners frequently maintain pre-loss agreements, but homeowners do not have these options. Consult with your insurance agent as to whether there is additional water damage coverage that you can add onto your standard policy if you are interested in protecting yourself against water damage.

And all that is just addressing the question of whether water damage is covered at all! Next comes the question of what specifically is covered.

Some damage will likely be covered, while other damage would be your responsibility to fix. Typically, whatever the water damaged is covered while the offending item that caused the water damage to your home is not covered. In the case of a washing machine hose that became detached and flooded a laundry room, the insurance company might pay for new flooring in the room but likely would not pay to replace the washing machine itself. In other cases, your insurance might simply cover a set dollar amount of the damage, meaning that any additional damage would be your responsibility to handle. A sewer line or sewer drain backup is almost never covered, nor is a flood.

Additional resources:
Water Restoration Resources
Recovering After a Home Flood
How to File an Insurance Claim after a Flood
The Cost of Flood Damage
What to do After a Flood
Cost of Mold Remediation
When Does Mold Grow After Water Damage?
The Cost of Water Damage
Do You Need a Water Restoration Company?