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Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Homeowners insurance covers certain types of water damage but not others. It depends on the cause.

Generally, if the cause is sudden and accidental, like if an appliance or bathroom fixture springs a leak or a storm blows a tree through your roof and rain pours in, the typical homeowners insurance policy covers the resulting water damage. 

If the cause is gradual and preventable, including wear and tear or a lack of maintenance, then water damage is generally not covered by home insurance. For example, damage caused by a leak from a rusty old pipe or a roof with missing shingles that is past its replacement age likely isn’t covered.  

Flooding caused by an accumulation of water from the outside flowing into a house or sewer backups are generally not covered by a standard homeowner’s policy. Separate flood insurance may be available through the National Flood Insurance Program.  Your insurance carrier may also offer sewer backup coverage at an extra cost.   

If you suffer water damage because of a sudden and unforeseen event, your homeowner’s policy can help you pay the costs of repairs to the structure of your home.  For example, the hardwood floor ruined by a dishwasher leak, or wallboard, floors, and ceilings ruined because a storm toppled a tree through the roof. If your furniture, carpets or other belongings are soaked, the personal property coverage in your homeowner’s policy can help with repairs or replacement. In both cases, coverage extends up to the limits of your policy. Keep in mind that damage caused by a faulty appliance may be covered, but your home insurance likely won’t cover replacing the appliance itself.  

Regular home maintenance, especially of your plumbing and appliances, can help you prevent the kinds of water damage that your homeowner’s policy probably doesn’t cover. Check with your insurance agent to be sure you know exactly what’s covered by your policy.

Did you know that MOST people are not properly insured?  The value of your home probably has changed since you bought it, and you may have changed the level of “stuff” you own over time. 

It is worth revisiting your insurance coverage every few years, we suggest every other year to be safe.  Because after all, isn’t the whole point of insurance to keep you as safe as possible?   

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