How much do you know about your standard homeowners insurance policy? Does it cover flood insurance? Will it cover water damage restoration? Do you need to take out a separate policy to deal with water related claims?
According to the Insurance Information Institute, the best time to prepare for a flood is before the waters rise.
However, most homeowners will only be concerned about their insurance after a pipe bursts, a broken dishwasher leaks, or water ingress following roof damage.
But water damage is among the most common causes of insurance claims, so you have to be prepared.
In this article we’ll share what is considered water damage for an insurance company, what water damage is covered in what scenarios, as well as share some advice for how to deal with insurance after water damage.
- 0.1 Frozen Pipes Burst
- 0.2 Water Leak from Backyard Pool Ruins Your Lawn and Basement
- 0.3 Washing Machine Overflows
- 0.4 Sewer Backup
- 0.5 Flooding from Natural Disasters
- 0.6 Water Beneath the Home Foundation Seeps into the Basement
- 0.7 Leaks Through the Roof During Rainstorms
- 1 What is considered water damage for insurance?
- 2 When to make a water leak homeowners insurance claim
Frozen Pipes Burst
When standing water gets trapped in a water pipe as the outside air temperature plummets below freezing, your pipes can freeze.
When this happens, the frozen water inside the pipes expands and bursts a hole right through the pipe, resulting in a burst pipe, or breaks the pipe at its seam.
If you do not catch burst pipes in time and the water begins to thaw out, you could end up facing massive loss and damages.
Is water damage from broken pipes covered by home insurance policies?
While most homeowners insurance policies DO cover the resulting water damage from broken pipes, there are exceptions. For example, you will unlikely be covered if the resulting damage was caused by negligence i.e. the pipe burst because you left your home unoccupied and without heat.
Water Leak from Backyard Pool Ruins Your Lawn and Basement
Your homeowners insurance policy might cover swimming pool leaks, but only in certain circumstances.
Was your pool damaged by the weather? Then you might be in luck. If something happened outside of your control, such as a storm causing a tree to fall on the pool and causing it to leak and damage say a basement and your personal property, it’s likely you are covered by homeowners insurance.
Sadly though, under most standard homeowners insurance policies, the damage to your lawn will not be covered.
Washing Machine Overflows
Washing machines are a common cause for a water damage claim.
There are several reasons that can cause your washing machine drain pipe to overflow.
The most likely problem is a clogged drain pipe. Lint detaches from your clothing during a wash and is a common culprit in clogged drain pipes.
Other issues can include: deteriorating pipes, sediment buildup, a kinked discharge hose, main sewer line blockages and inadequately sized drain pipes that can cause a washing machine overflow.
Are leaking washing machines covered by home insurance?
Most homeowners insurance cover water damage caused by sudden or accidental leaks that result in flood damage. If however, you failed to maintain the washing machine, your insurance won’t cover the damage.
To help prevent washer overflows, check water supply hoses consistently and replace frayed ones. To prevent sediment buildup, flush pipes through regularly.
There’s nothing worse than a sewer backup in your home or yard. Not only is the smell bad, but the raw sewage is a major health hazard.
While the issue may start with something small, it can quickly turn into a huge problem.
A standard homeowners insurance policy does not cover sewer backups, but you can purchase extra coverage options for sewers and drains.
Speak to your insurance company or your insurance agent to learn what is and isn’t covered.
Flooding from Natural Disasters
Standard homeowners policies do not cover flood damage. If you live in an affected area prone to floods, you’ll need to purchase additional flood insurance.
Floods can occur as a result of rainstorms, overflowing rivers or oceans, and over-saturated ground.
To make sure you have flood insurance in place, you need to get a separate insurance policy for the probability of natural disasters causing water damage.
For more information, check out the national flood insurance program.
Water Beneath the Home Foundation Seeps into the Basement
Most insurance policies don’t cover damage resulting from water beneath the home foundation seeping into the basement.
This sort of gradual water damage is known as seepage and is not sudden or accidental. Because it qualifies as a maintenance problem it falls under routine wear and tear, resulting in gradual damage.
If you discover water damage and you need water damage restoration, the best thing to do is speak to your home insurance policy provider and see if they can provide coverage.
Leaks Through the Roof During Rainstorms
If your roof has leaked during a storm, and the roof was poorly maintained and neglected before the storm, there is very little chance the resulting damage will be covered under a standard homeowners policy.
Saying that, your personal property may be covered if it’s been water damaged, but it will depend on the type of policy you have. Coverage, generally, for personal belongings is 50-70% of the insurance you have on the structure of your house.
H0-3 policies are the most generous but also the most expensive.
What is considered water damage for insurance?
You might be surprised to learn flood insurance does not cover water damage. And homeowners insurance does not cover flood damage.
Property owners should consider their personal circumstances and, if necessary, take out policies to cover both.
In general, water damage is defined as water that damages the interior of your home, for reasons such as:
Your roof is damaged during a storm and rain water causes damage to your ceilings or walls.
A storm breaks your windows and rain water damages your floors.
A pipe bursts and soaks your ceiling.
An overflowing toilet or leaky faucet damages your bathroom floor.
You will need to review your personal homeowners insurance or contact your insurance company for the specifics of your particular policy.
In general, for standard home insurance policies, accidental water damage is covered. Water damage caused by neglect, gradual water damage, or a lack of repairs is not covered. Mold caused by water leaks is also not covered.
When to make a water leak homeowners insurance claim
If your home has water damage, it’s best to make a claim straight away.
To increase your chances of your claim being successful and you receive compensation, make sure you file your claim with evidence, if you can:
Document the leak. Include photos both before and after.
Control the leak and if necessary take steps to prevent further water damage.
Contact a contractor such as iFlooded to determine the extent of the damage and the cost of the repairs.
Most homeowners insurance policies will only cover water damage when it is sudden or accidental.
Most homeowners insurance will not cover gradual water damage.
Review your homeowners insurance policy for your precise cover.
You may need to take out additional endorsements or policies to get full coverage and water damage restoration.
Water damage is a common problem, and iFlooded has over 30 years of water damage restoration experience.
We provide the best water damage repair services in New York and the Tri-State area. If you’re covered, we will bill your insurance company directly, ensuring you aren’t out of pocket and your home is restored to how it was before the damage.