Is Water Damaged Covered by My Insurance?
What type of water damage is covered by home insurance, and what type isn’t? The general rule is if the water damage is sudden, accidental, or unexpected, your home insurance will likely pay for the damage. But if the water damage is caused by neglect or poor maintenance — that’s never covered.
Standard home insurance policies usually cover the following types of water damage:
- Leaky or burst pipes (sudden and accidental)
- Overflow of appliances (sudden and accidental)
- Frozen pipes in a heated home
- Mold caused by covered water damage or hidden away in floors/walls
- Rain, snow, or ice — not including flooding
- Extinguishing a fire
Standard home insurance policies usually don’t cover the following types of water damage:
- Flooding or ground seepage
- Gradual water damage
- Frozen pipes in an unheated home
- Mold caused by excluded water damage or preexisting mold
- Sump pump or sewer line backups
You will need additional riders or add-ons on your policy to cover these situations
Warning: Water damage caused by neglect or poor maintenance is NOT covered
Most home insurance companies will deny your claim if it can be proven that the damage was caused by neglect on your part or poor maintenance.
This means if your pipes or roof leak over an extended period of time and the damage is in plain sight, your insurance company would likely consider this a case of neglect and you wouldn’t be covered.
How to get insurance to pay for uncovered water damage
In conjunction with your homeowners insurance, you can protect your home from most types of water damage by adding water backup coverage to your policy or purchasing separate flood insurance.
- Flood insurance: You can purchase flood insurance through the National Flood Insurance Program or a private insurance company that offers the coverage.
- Water backup coverage: A popular homeowners insurance add-on, water backup coverage modifies your policy to cover water damage caused by broken sump pumps or sewer line backups. However, similar to your standard coverage, it won’t pay to replace the source of the water damage.
- Service line coverage: Another homeowners insurance add-on, service line coverage reimburses you for repairs to damaged utility lines that run underneath your property. It also covers excavation and landscape restoration after necessary repairs are complete.
- Mold damage rider: Some insurance companies offer a mold damage rider or endorsement which expands your policy’s coverage limits for mold damage. But not all states offer this type of home insurance add-on — and it can be expensive if you live in a mold-prone area.
Did you know? Average water damage losses cost nearly $12,000