Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage From Rain?
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 will cover rain damage from a covered peril. An example would be a windstorm or hail storm that causes a window to leak, thereby leaving your home open to rain water and damaging your property. Types of homeowners coverage that can help pay for water damage include dwelling coverage, personal property coverage, other structure coverage, and loss of use coverage. Unfortunately, floods caused by nature are not typically covered by your homeowners insurance. You will need an additional flood insurance policy. Keep in mind that home insurance will not cover water damage if the damage was due to negligence. Water damage needs to be accidental and sudden. Make sure to find water damage restoration companies that will work with your insurance company during the claims process. If rain has caused water damage to your property, keep reading and see what your insurance will cover.
What Types of Rain Damage Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
Your homeowners policy has several coverages that can help pay for the repairs or replacement of property damaged by water due to rain. Keep in mind that in order for damage to qualify as covered, the damage must be sudden and accidental. Below is a list of coverage usually found on your homeowners insurance policy that may help protect your property.
Dwelling coverage provides protection to your physical home. It will help cover the cost of repairs or replacement for things like your roof, foundation, floors, doors, windows, and walls. It will also cover attached property such as garages, porches, cabinetry, decks, and built-in appliances.
Personal Property Coverage
Personal property coverage provides protection for individual items you own. This includes clothing, electronics, furniture, and so on. Make sure you have pictures and the value of your property on hand should they be damaged by a covered peril.
Other Structure Coverage
Other structures coverage helps pay for damages to detached structures on your property such as fences, garages, and sheds.
Loss of Use Coverage
Loss of use coverage helps pay living expenses if you must temporarily move out of your home while it's being restored.
Whether or not your insurance covers you from water damage caused by rain depends on whether the rain entered due to a covered peril. Below is a list of situations that may cause rain to enter your home, causing water damage:
- Falling objects: Anything that falls on your property and leads to water damage caused by rain will most likely be covered by your homeowners insurance.
- Vandalism/theft: Vandalism or theft that results in broken windows, broken doors, or both can expose your home to the elements. Your homeowners insurance should cover the damages caused by rain as long as the damage was immediate and before you could reasonably make any repairs.
- Weight of ice, snow, or sleet: Ice dams form when snow melts on your roof and re-freezes. What forms are large icicles that hang across your gutters. Repeated freezing and thawing stresses shingles which can lead to water damage to the interior of your home.
- Windstorms and hail: Strong enough winds can cause objects to fall on your property, or even rip breaches into the protective shell of your home. Weaker winds that still cause damage will likely be covered by your standard home insurance. Stronger winds may require windstorm insurance which can be added to your homeowners policy. Strong hailfall can also punch holes in your property, leaving you susceptible to rain damage from outside.
Remember, the damage needs to be sudden and accidental in order for your insurance to cover your losses.
What Happens When Rain Causes a Flood?
Homeowners insurance policies will not usually cover damage due to floods if they are caused by natural disasters. A separate flood insurance policy will have to be purchased. Flood insurance covers the physical building as well as the personal property within the building. It will not, however, cover items outside the physical property. You can obtain flood insurance through a private insurance provider or through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Private insurance rates are generally cheaper and more comprehensive. However, the NFIP has recently updated its rate calculations to Risk Rate 2.0, which generates better rates for policyholders. According to the NFIP, coverage includes:
- Detached garages
- Electrical and plumbing systems
- Foundation walls, anchorage systems, and staircases
- Fuel tanks, well water tanks and pumps, and solar energy equipment
- Furnaces and water heaters
- Permanently installed cabinets, paneling, and bookcases
- Permanently installed carpeting
- Refrigerators, cooking stoves, and built-in appliances like dishwashers
- Window blinds
- Carpets not included in building coverage (e.g., carpet installed over wood floors)
- Microwave oven
- Personal belongings such as clothing, furniture, and electronic equipment
- Portable and window air conditioners
- Valuable items such as original artwork and furs (up to $2,500)
- Washer and dryer
What Types of Rain Damage are not Covered?
When water damage is gradual
Rainwater that trickles into your basement through the foundation will likely not be covered by your homeowners policy. Coverage typically only applies if the damage is sudden and accidental and this would likely be a result of neglect.
Water damage caused by floods
Naturally occurring floods are not covered by your homeowners insurance. You will need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy to help cover the damages. Use private insurers to get coverage or use the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP).
Rain damage caused by negligence
Your homeowners insurance will likely not cover damage caused by rainfall if you could have done something to prevent the damage. An example would be your roof. Not maintaining your home's roof can leave you open to water damage caused by rain. Your negligence would have inadvertently led to your home being damaged because you did not make sure your roof was in good working order.
Is General Wear and Tear From Rain Covered?
General wear and tear from rain is not typically covered by a home insurance policy. Homeowners have a responsibility for what they own. This means you will need to maintain your property to make sure it's properly protected from the elements. Because of this, insurance will not cover damage caused by rainfall if the damage could have been avoided by simple maintenance.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Heavy Rain?
This depends on the situation. If the heavy rain comes with heavy winds, your homeowners insurance may be sufficient to cover any damages caused by the storm. This includes any breaches made by the wind that may cause water to leak into your home. If the rain turns into hail, your homeowners insurance should cover any damages that may occur. This includes any openings caused by the hail that allowed rain to enter your home.
However, heavy rain that causes flooding will most likely not be covered by your homeowners insurance. You would instead need a separate flood insurance policy. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) defines flood damage as damage caused by an excess amount of water on land that would normally be dry. It must also affect two or more properties or two or more acres of land. You can obtain flood insurance through the NFIP or through private insurance carriers.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover a Basement Flooding From Rain?
Your homeowners insurance will not cover damages to your basement caused by flooding assuming the flood came from natural causes. A separate flood insurance policy will be needed. The National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) as well as private insurers offer flood insurance. In order for your homeowners insurance to be effective, the damage needs to be sudden and accidental. This means unnatural forms of water damage caused by household items may be covered by your homeowners insurance. Below is a list of situations where a flooded basement may be covered by your policy:
- Frozen pipes that burst
- Sudden floods resulting from broken appliances
- Unexpected flooding from a water heater
- Water overflow from a bathtub, pool, or sink
Which Water Damage Restoration Companies are Covered by Insurance?
There are several companies that have locations across the country that will work with your insurance company. They are:
- 1-800 Water Damage
- Belfor Restoration
- Paul Davis Restoration
- Rainbow International
- Restoration 1
- Restoration Local
Each company listed above works directly with the insurance provider throughout the claims process. There are several things to look for when finding a water damage restoration company. Make sure they are licensed by either the local or state government. You'll also need to make sure the company is insured and bonded. Insurance covers the water damage restoration company from losses they may sustain while on the job while being bonded means your property is covered from accidents caused by the company's mistakes.
Protect Your Home From Water Damage
Homeowners insurance may cover water damage from rain provided the event surrounding the damage is a named peril on your policy. Types of coverage include dwelling, personal property, other structure, and loss of use coverage. Keep in mind the damage from a naturally occurring flood, such as a flood in the basement after rain, will most likely not be covered by your insurance policy but by a separate flood insurance policy. Should you face water damage from rain, make sure you call a water damage restoration company that will work with your insurance company during the claims process. And be sure your home is covered from rain damage by entering your zip code below and filling out a quick questionnaire to receive free home insurance quotes for the lowest rates in your area.