Will My Home Insurance Cover Water Heater Repairs or Replacement?

secure Editorial Standards

SmartFinancial Offers Unbiased, Fact-based Information. Our fact-checked articles are intended to educate insurance shoppers so they can make the right buying decisions. Learn More

Your homeowners insurance may cover your water heater if it’s damaged by a covered peril, for instance, a tornado or vandalism. Damage caused by a water heater to your home and belongings may also be covered.

Learn how your homeowners insurance handles water heater incidents, as well as suggestions for additional insurance coverages and tips on how to file a claim in the event of a water heater-related loss.

Key Takeaways

  • Your home insurance should repair or replace your water heater if it’s damaged by a covered peril, such as vandalism or a windstorm.
  • A typical home insurance policy usually covers damage to your home by your water heater if it suddenly and accidentally leaks.
  • However, your home insurance may not provide coverage if the damage by or to your hot water heater could have been prevented by regular maintenance.
  • The amount you'll be reimbursed for water heater damage under home insurance hinges on your policy's limits, deductible and which part of your home was damaged.
  • To reduce the risk of a water heater damaging your home, get your unit inspected every two months.

Does Home Insurance Cover Water Heater Replacement or Repair?

If your water heater is damaged by a covered peril, like a fire or windstorm, your homeowners insurance should pay to replace your water heater because it is your personal property. Other perils that are usually covered in a standard home insurance policy include:

  • Tornadoes
  • Lightning strikes
  • Wind damage
  • Vandalism
  • Burglary

Homeowners insurance may also cover water damage done to your home by the unit but your insurance may not pay to repair or replace the water heater itself.[1] As a result, you may get a payout specifically for replacing floors and furnishings destroyed by water that originated from your water heater.

When Does Home Insurance Not Cover Damages From Your Water Heater?

Homeowners insurance will not cover wear and tear on your water heater unit. In that same vein, lack of maintenance will not be covered either.

It is the homeowner’s responsibility to regularly check their water heater and get it serviced if necessary. If you fail to do this, your carrier may deny your water heater damage claim.

In addition, intentional damages inflicted by you on your water heater will not be covered and attempting to get a new water heater after doing so by filing an insurance claim is considered home insurance fraud.

Which Home Insurance Policies Cover Water Heater Damage?

If your water unit damages your home’s structure, such as the walls or floors, a standard home insurance policy’s dwelling coverage will help with the costs of repairs or replacements. If it somehow damages an external structure, like a detached garage or fence, then those will also be covered, but under the other structures coverage portion of your policy. Meanwhile, personal property coverage pays to repair or replace your furniture, electronics and other belongings if they are damaged by your water heater unit.

Finally, if your water heater causes catastrophic damages that renders your home unlivable, then additional living expenses (ALE) coverage can help cover the costs of temporary accommodations, meals, laundry and other living expenses while your home undergoes repairs.

Additional Water Heater Insurance Policies To Consider

For comprehensive protection, additional coverages are advisable, such as an equipment breakdown endorsement. This rider covers the repair and replacement of your water system and other home appliances and systems should they break down from an electrical surge, motor burnout or if they suffer some other type of sudden loss.

Additionally, standard policies often exclude flood and earthquake damages. To protect your water heater and home from damages caused by naturally occurring floods, a separate flood insurance policy is necessary and is available through private insurers or the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Similarly, if you're in an earthquake-prone area, earthquake insurance is crucial to protect against seismic damages that could harm your water heater, a coverage excluded by regular home insurance.

Are There Water Heater Coverage Limits?

Determining your reimbursement for water heater damage under home insurance depends on your policy details, including limits, your deductible and where in your home the damage occurred. If the water heater damages your home's structure, your insurer may cover repairs up to your dwelling coverage limit.

Personal property coverage is usually about 70% of your dwelling coverage.[2] For example, with $300,000 in dwelling coverage, you'd have around $210,000 in personal property coverage.

Meanwhile, ALE coverage, often 20% to 30% of dwelling coverage, helps with living expenses that exceed your normal costs, such as meals and hotel fare, if your home is temporarily uninhabitable.[3]

Keep in mind that you will need to pay your deductible before your insurance coverage kicks in. For example, if you have a $1,000 deductible and your water heater-related losses total $4,000, then you will need to first pay $1,000 and then your insurance company will pick up the difference.

carrier and policyholders payment share illustrations

How Do I Prevent Water Heater Damage?

Preventing water heater damage involves regular maintenance and being aware of the signs of potential problems. Here are some key steps you can take.

  • Proper installation: This is particularly important for gas water heaters.
  • Regular inspections: Inspect your water heater every two months.[4] Look for signs of wear and tear, leaks or corrosion. Check both the tank and the connections.
  • Temperature setting: Keep the temperature setting around 120 degrees Fahrenheit.[5] Higher temperatures can accelerate corrosion and increase the risk of scalding accidents.
  • Pressure relief valve check: This valve releases pressure if it gets too high inside the tank, preventing explosions.
  • Flush the tank annually: Sediment can build up at the bottom of the tank, reducing efficiency and increasing the risk of damage.
  • Check the anode rod: The anode rod helps prevent corrosion inside the tank. Check it every two to five years and replace it if it's significantly corroded.[6]
  • Insulate older units: Insulating older water heaters can improve efficiency and reduce the strain on the system. You can insulate both the tank and the hot water pipes.
  • Consider a water softener: If you have hard water (high mineral content), it can accelerate the wear and tear on your water heater. A water softener can help mitigate this.
  • Upgrade when necessary: If your water heater is old or frequently needs repairs, consider upgrading to a more efficient and reliable model.

How To File a Water Heater Claim

Here's a general guide on how to file an insurance claim involving your water heater.

  1. Mitigate further damage: This might include turning off the water supply to the damaged water heater and cleaning up any water pooling. However, do not make any permanent repairs before the insurance adjuster has assessed the damage.
  2. Document the damage: Take photos or videos of the damaged water heater and any property damage caused by it. This documentation is crucial for your insurance claim.
  3. Keep receipts: If you need to make temporary repairs or stay elsewhere due to water damage, keep all receipts as these may be reimbursable under your policy.
  4. File a claim: You can usually do this over the phone, online or through a mobile app, depending on your insurer.
  5. Prepare for the adjuster's visit: Have all your documentation ready, including photos, a list of damaged items and an explanation of when the damages occurred and how you discovered it.
  6. Get repair estimates: Obtain estimates for repairing or replacing the water heater and damaged items from licensed professionals. These estimates will be useful when negotiating with your insurance company.
  7. Cooperate with the insurance company: Stay in contact with your insurance adjuster and provide any additional information or documentation requested.
  8. Review the settlement offer: Ensure it covers all the necessary repairs or replacements and accept it if you feel it’s a fair offer. (If you disagree with the insurance company's offer, you can dispute it. This might involve providing additional documentation, using a public adjuster or seeking legal advice.)
  9. Complete repairs: Ensure that the work is done by a qualified professional.
Ready To Shop for Home Insurance?


Should I get insurance for my water heater?

Your homeowners insurance should already provide some protection for your water heater if it's damaged or destroyed due to a covered peril, such as vandalism or a windstorm. You can also buy an equipment breakdown rider to insure your water heater against sudden electrical or mechanical breakdowns.

Does home insurance cover plumbing?

Home insurance typically covers plumbing issues that are sudden and accidental, such as if a pipe suddenly bursts and causes water damage to your personal belongings. However, it usually does not cover problems resulting from neglect or wear and tear, like slow leaks or corroded pipes.

How much does a water heater cost to replace?

The cost of a new water heater will depend on its size, manufacturer and whether it's tankless, with some costing as little as $50 and others as high as over $99,000.[7][8] In addition, it can cost $880 to $1,769 on average to have the water heater installed.[9]


  1. Wawanesa Insurance. “Homeowners Insurance FAQs.” Accessed November 10, 2023.
  2. The Hartford. “What Is Personal Property Coverage?” Accessed November 10, 2023.
  3. Travelers. “Loss of Use Insurance and Additional Living Expenses Coverage.” Accessed November 10, 2023.
  4. The Plumbing Authority. “How Often Should I Check My Water Heater?” Accessed November 10, 2023.
  5. Department of Energy. “Do-It-Yourself Savings Project: Lower Water Heating Temperature.” Accessed November 10, 2023.
  6. Gold Medal Service. “What Is a Water Heater Anode Rod and When Should I Replace It?” Accessed November 10, 2023.
  7. Amazon. “110V 3000W Water Heater Mini Tankless Instant Electric Water Heater Electric Hot Water Heater With LCD Display for Kitchen Washing, Bathroom Shower Wall Mount Instant Water Heater Temperature (Black).” Accessed November 10, 2023.
  8. Hebron Stores. “NRC711 157,000 Btu Direct Vent Condensing Residential Tankless Water Heater (NG).” Accessed November 10, 2023.
  9. Angi. How Much Does Water Heater Replacement and Installation Cost? [2023 Data]. Accessed November 16, 2023.

Get a Free Home Insurance Quote Online Now.