What kind of water damage is covered by home insurance?
Water is one of the most common (and frustrating) causes of damage to a home. At Platt Insurance, we have experienced this with our clients and our own personal homes, but everyone wants to know- does home insurance cover water damage?
And the answer is… that it depends.
We know that might not be what you are looking for, but depending on how you answer the following questions, your policy may or may not cover your water damage.
- Where did the water come from?
- Did the damage occur gradually over time, or did it happen suddenly?
Let’s tackle question number one: Where did the water come from?
If the water comes from ABOVE or something INSIDE the home, then it is most likely covered under homeowner’s insurance. Examples of this include water coming through your roof or windows, from storm water, or from a pipe burst. However, a standard home insurance policy will not cover damage caused by water that comes from BELOW the house. The only way to get this coverage is to add a Water Back-Up endorsement. This usually comes with an additional cost, but it covers the back-up of a sewer or drain into your basement or another part of your home. This is definitely a cost-effect protection plan!
You also need to be aware that water that enters your home through the ground OUTSIDE is considered a flood and is almost never covered by Home Insurance. This can include a river or creek overflowing, a rainstorm, melting snow, or ever your neighbor’s pool draining into your home! The best way to get this coverage is by purchasing a Flood Insurance Policy, but some insurance companies are now offering limited flood coverage on home policies.
Question number 2: Did the damage occur gradually over time, or did it happen suddenly?
Insurance policies typically cover damage that they consider to be “sudden and accidental.” Damage that has occurred over time, or water damage as a result of poor maintenance is normally not covered.
Sudden water damage can include a pipe burst or an overflowing toilet, compared to gradual damage such as a leaky faucet that was never repaired. So, what about gradual damage that you might not know about? Coverage for this type of damage can be added to the policy with some insurance carriers, so it is worth looking into with your agent.
No matter the type of water damage, it is important to know the type of coverage you have before something happens. The best way to do this is to meet with an independent insurance agent– like Platt insurance- to review your policy to make sure you are protected.