Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Fran
Fran Majidi
October 21, 2019

You notice a sudden wet spot in the ceiling in your home. When you have a plumber come look at it, you learn that you have a burst pipe upstairs. Or maybe you notice a water stain on the top floor and learn that you have a leak in the roof. Water damage is one of the most common types of claims filed by homeowners but not all water damage is covered by a standard home insurance policy. In fact the rules often stipulate that the water damage must be caused suddenly, not from damage occurring from neglect or lack of maintenance. This means you should always act quickly when you notice something unusual. And you should be hypervigilant about taking a look around most nooks and crannies in your home as a precaution. 


Floods are expressly excluded in the list of coverage that are included in a standard homeowner insurance policy. Water damage restoration necessary after a flood will only be covered by flood insurance, which is an entirely separate type of policy from home insurance. 


In a standard home insurance policy, water must never have touched the ground to be covered by the insurer. It must also be the result of one very specific perils. Basically, the damage must be caused by a rain or snow storm, burst pipes, frozen pipes, faulty plumbing, overflow, a roof leak or other explicitly written peril. 


Water Damage Due to Damaged Roof

Water damage to a ceiling caused by a poorly maintained roof may not be covered. According to most insurance companies, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain their roof. Sometimes, the new roof is partially covered. Water damage cleanup may also be covered but only after you pay the deductible. It sometimes feels arbitrary, whether or not a claim will be covered, but in most cases the coverage details are written in your policy so nothing should come as a surprise.


Keep in mind that even when a claim for damage from a leaking roof is accepted, you may not be covered for a new roof. Often you’re only covered for damage that occurred inside the home due to the faulty roof. For more on what kinds of roof damage are covered visit here


Mold as a Result of Water Damage

You may be covered for mold, which happens after you experience water damage, especially if the damage is not cleanup up right away. For more on mold coverage and when it applies and when it does not, visit here


Vandalism and Water Damage

If vandals do something to your home that requires water damage repair, you will also be covered.


Homeowners Contents Coverage and Water Damage

There’s always the dreaded iPhone water damage. If you do not have insurance for your phone but your iPhone or Android is destroyed due to water damage, you’ll have to prove the water damage was caused by a covered peril. For instance, if  your phone was charging directly beneath the ceiling where the roof leak occurred (and the roof was not poorly maintained or neglected), you’re covered. The same goes for laptop and Macbook water damage. iPhone water damage repair can be costly so ask your agent about accidental damage coverage if water damage (or similar damage) is not covered under homeowners insurance. 


Is Hardwood Floor Water Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Yes, but again, as stated above, the damage must’ve been done under specific circumstances (sudden and accidental). Again, it boils down to the source of the water damage and whether or not there was anything you could do to prevent the damage that occurred. So if the water damage to your wood floors were due to a broken pipe or appliance, you’ll likely be covered. 

Be aware that even when water damage restoration service is covered, you may not be covered for the source of the leak (a faulty roof, for instance). 


When Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover Water Damage

You will not be covered for water damage resulting from ground seepage, water or sewer pipe backups, flooding, and poorly maintained pipes and/or roof. Different insurance companies have different policies. To compare prices and coverages, enter your zip code below, and we’ll find you an agent to compare multiple plans for you. 


How to Get Insurance to Pay for Water Damage

If the water damage you’re trying to get coverage for is a long-standing problem, like mold infestation that has taken over your entire basement, it won’t be easy convincing your insurance company to pay to fix it. More than anything, insurance companies like to protect people who take every precaution and are still met with disaster. 


Also, keep in mind that what the water damage company charges you is often all that will be covered. So if your washing machine breaks down and the water causes damage to your floors will be covered, the damage may be fully covered but your washing machine will not be covered (unless you have a warranty on it). 


Once you get a written estimate from a water damage restoration company or a contractor you will meet with a claims adjuster for a final approval. The adjuster will make a damage assessment. Often, a contractor’s rates are higher than the adjuster’s estimate. In this instance, you can try to get the adjuster to talk down your contractor. You may end up paying for a portion of the costs out of pocket, however. 


Compare Home Insurance Quotes

The only way to know if you’ve got the best coverage at a good rate (or even a reasonable one) is to first read your policy to see what is and what is not included in your coverage. Next, compare different rates and policies in your area to see if you’re paying a fair price for the protection you have. Begin by entering your zip code below. It only takes a few minutes to answer some questions and you’ll get several free estimates. 


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