Does Renters Insurance Cover Water Damage?

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Yes. Depending on the type of water damage, renters insurance can protect your property and personal belongings, making it a valuable investment.

Water damage can destroy heirlooms, expensive electronics, books, clothing and more — leaving you with thousands of dollars in losses. In most cases, damage due to water discharge or accidental water overflow is considered a covered event with typical renters insurance policies.

Understanding what your renters insurance policy covers can keep you from paying out-of-pocket. For example, sump pump failure and water backup coverage as well as flood insurance are not covered by renters insurance but are available as optional add-ons. Keep reading to learn more.

Do I Need Renters Insurance for Water Damage?

When you rent a space, you might be under the mistaken assumption that your landlord's insurance policy will cover your possessions in the event of water damage, but this is not the case. Your landlord's policy takes care of the structure, but in most cases, it will not protect your valuables if your pipes burst or your upstairs neighbor has an overflowing toilet that destroys your possessions.

A renters insurance policy protects renters and their belongings from unexpected covered losses like sewer backup damage and sudden water damage. Even when it's not required, this is why you need renters insurance.

Water damage can destroy heirlooms, expensive electronics, books, clothing and more.

What Does Renters Insurance Cover?

Renters insurance coverage helps protect renters in the event of named perils. Many situations cannot be prevented — including flooded toilets or a leaking air-conditioner — and may be covered by your renters policy.

Renter's insurance can cover:

  • Personal belongings that need to be replaced due to water damage
  • Liability from water damage you cause to others. For example, if your sink overflows into your neighbor's property
  • Cost of living expenses if you need to temporarily live somewhere else while your building is being restored due to a burst pipe, excessive rain, or another water-related event

Water Damage Perils

Policyholders will be reimbursed for the cost of repairing or replacing items damaged by a covered event, like a burst pipe. It's important to remember that you are not responsible for any structural damage — that is the landlord's responsibility. Your insurance will pay for temporary housing during a water damage claim while your apartment, condo or house is being repaired.

The type of coverage you have for water damage depends on your renters policy perils. Covered perils should be named in the policy, and anything that is not excluded is eligible for a claim.

Common named perils include:

  • Steam discharge or water overflow like a clogged toilet
  • Burst or frozen pipes that cause damage to your belongings
  • Rain, lightning, wind or hail damage that causes structural damage like a roof leak

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Non-covered Perils

  • Damage due to flooding. If you live in a high flood risk area, you might consider getting coverage through FEMA's National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Damage caused by your negligence, like leaving a window open during a rainstorm or poor maintenance or failing to notify the landlord of maintenance issues
  • Accidental sprinkler discharge
  • Sump pump failure or sewer overflow, unless you have chosen to add them to your existing policy.

Always check your insurance policy to understand the terms of your coverage. You can always increase your coverage to include more.

Understanding what your renters insurance policy covers can keep you from paying out-of-pocket.

Renters Insurance Can Save You From Starting Over

Replacing personal items can be expensive, and you may not have the immediate funds to start over again. That is where renters insurance steps in.

While your landlord can cover the structure, you will need coverage for the personal property you own while also being covered for liability if anyone is hurt in your home. The higher your financial risk is, the more you deserve renters insurance protection. It can be more affordable than you think, and you can prevent financial loss from damaged possessions.

Renters Insurance and Water Damage FAQs

Does renters insurance cover sump pump failure?

A typical renters insurance policy will not cover water damage due to sump pump failure or backed-up sewage lines. These are additional coverage options that you can apply to your renters insurance.

Does renters insurance cover sink overflow water damage?

Typical renters insurance coverage will protect your personal possessions from accidental water discharge and overflow. So, if you have a ceiling or roof leak that ruins your electronics or furniture, your renters insurance will be able to reimburse you.

What kind of water damage does your landlord cover?

There are instances where your landlord is responsible for water damage. Typically, your landlord's insurance policy will cover building damage, but they are not responsible for items within the building. For example, if a water leak results in mold or stains on your walls, your landlord's responsibility is to address the mold but not replace your damaged clothes. Additionally, in cases of floods caused by natural disasters, a landlord insurance policy would not cover your belongings even if they have flood insurance. You'd need a separate flood endorsement.

Protect Yourself and Your Family With Renters Insurance

Water damage can cause thousands of dollars in losses unless you protect yourself with renters insurance. Your landlord's insurance can cover the repairs to your building's structure, but you need personal coverage to repair or replace your personal belongings. You may be able to extend your coverage to further safeguard your possessions against backed-up sewage, flooding, and other non-covered perils, depending on your insurance policy.

At SmartFinancial, you can compare renters insurance quotes to find the right policy to meet your budget. By filling out our questionnaire, we can establish which insurance carriers in your area can best cater to your needs. Enter your zip code below and answer a few questions for free quotes.

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