As with many things in life, homeowners insurance can be complicated to understand. There are so many conditions and loopholes to look out for. Not to mention, the language in the policies can be confusing for many first-time buyers.
That’s one of the biggest reasons that homeowners are confused about their coverage. We often find people asking, “does home insurance cover water damage?” You might think that your insurance policy automatically covers any damage results, but that’s not the case. There are several exceptions and even special policy additions for different causes of flooding and water damage.
In this article, we’ll go over the types of water damage that a standard insurance policy will cover. You’ll also learn more about the different types of coverage, and the instances where you might not be covered. Please note that it’s important to speak directly with your insurance company to understand your coverage under your unique policy.
Types of Homeowners Insurance
Your water damage coverage depends on the type of homeowners insurance you have. For example, there are two main types of coverage within a standard home insurance policy: dwelling and personal property.
With dwelling coverage, damage to the structure of your home is covered by homeowners insurance. That includes any water damage affecting your walls, floors, ceiling, and other parts of the building. Dwelling coverage does not include any contents in the home. For that coverage, you’ll need personal property coverage.
Personal property covers your belongings, such as clothes, furniture, and electronics. Your personal property protection provides you with money to repair or replace these things. However, they must have been damaged by a covered situation. As a rule, if a homeowner receives compensation for personal property, it’s likely because the dwelling was covered too.
There are always exceptions, however, so it’s important to contact your insurance company if you have any questions about your policy. You can also ask your agent about any deductibles or coverage limits that may affect you. Your agent can always make adjustments to your policy so that your coverage fits your needs.
Water Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance
The coverage of both your dwelling and contents depends on whether or not the cause was covered by your homeowners insurance. As we mentioned before, there are several exceptions and limits to your coverage for water damage. A standard home insurance policy only covers sudden and accidental water damage.
What does that mean?
It has to be the result of something that was a mishap, or it has to be something that was abrupt and unexpected. Standard homeowners insurance does not cover any water damage that results from poor maintenance or neglect.
The water damage must also be internal, which means that the water hasn’t touched the outside ground. It also means that the cause was one of the perils covered by homeowners insurance. These perils include aircraft and vehicles, the weight of snow or ice, hail, fire protection systems, vandalism, and more.
In addition, most insurance providers cover your home’s water damage if it was caused by one of the following sources:
- Snow Storm
- Frozen Pipes
- Burst Pipes
- Faulty Plumbing
- Broken Water Heater
- Leaking Roof
- Accidental Overflow of Appliances or Fixtures
Water Damage Not Covered by Standard Insurance
In order to answer, “does home insurance cover water damage?” you need to know what specific damage is not covered. As we mentioned, the water damage has to be sudden and accidental, but those aren’t the only qualifications. There are still some instances where a sudden event might not be covered. Read on to learn more about what source of water damage might not qualify you for compensation.
Poor Home Maintenance
As a homeowner, you are responsible for properly maintaining your home, which includes your plumbing, appliances, and fixtures. If you know that any of those items are leaking and ignore it, then the resulting water damage is no longer sudden or unexpected. Instead, the cause would be considered neglect. Therefore, any leaking faucets, toilets, or other plumbing fixtures will not be covered by your homeowners insurance.
You can only get coverage for fixtures and appliances if they suddenly break. For example, a refrigerator supply hose could break in an instant, so its damage would be covered. You can also get coverage for your plumbing as long as it is not the result of poor home maintenance.
Outside Sewer or Drain Backup
Few things are as disruptive and damaging as a sewer backup. Unfortunately, the damage isn’t covered if the water comes from an outside sewer or drain. As stated above, the water can’t have touched the outside ground, so any water that enters your home from an outside sewer typically isn’t covered.
That doesn’t mean that you are left to pay for this damage all on your own, however. Many insurance companies offer additional coverage specifically designed for sewer and drain backups. We recommend that you speak with your insurance agent if you believe your home could be at risk for an event like this.
A big misconception with home insurance is flood coverage. So many people naively believe that they would receive money for flood damage. However, this is certainly not the case, and it is one of the main exceptions you should know of.
No matter the source of the water, flood damage is not covered under your standard policy. That includes flooding caused by:
- Over-Saturated Ground
- Storm Surges
- Overflowing Bodies of Water
- Flash Floods
Instead, you will need to invest in separate flood insurance. Some companies might not offer it if you don’t live in an area that floods. In this case, you should look for coverage through the National Flood Insurance Program. Keep in mind there are many coastal areas where homeowners are actually required to have flood insurance.
Learn More About Water Damage Repairs and Insurance Claims
If your home has suffered water damage, you don’t have to worry about dealing with the difficulties of homeowners insurance alone. Here at Tandem Contractors, we have a good idea of which insurance covers water damage. We also have plenty of experience working with insurance providers, so we know the best way to go about filing a water damage claim.
What does that mean for you?
You can rest easy knowing that our New Jersey contractors are there to help you with everything from start to finish. Whether you have already done so or still need to file a claim, we can guide you through the process. It’s our goal to get the coverage you need to restore your home. From there, our professionals work quickly to repair your home so that you can get back to your normal life!