Water Damage Coverage Explained

In some instances, water damage is covered by insurance. However, there are limitations. The best way to ensure that damages will be covered if they happen is to frequently inspect the home to find any problems that may be causing water damage.

When Is Water Damage Covered?

If a sudden event causes water damage, it is usually covered. This does not apply to flooding from rain or a rising body of water nearby. Flood damage is only covered by a separate policy, and flood insurance is typically purchased from the government’s National Flood Insurance Program. Sudden flooding from a burst pipe, a broken hot water heater or a broken washing machine hose may lead to some damages, and these are covered. The same applies if a dishwasher breaks or a toilet overflows. However, if there are other damages that occurred over the span of several months because the toilet was leaking and was not repaired, those damages are not eligible for coverage. The source of the water damage is not covered. For example, the cost of replacing a water-damaged floor after a dishwasher breaks may be covered while the cost of replacing the dishwasher is not covered.

When Is Water Damage Not Covered?

As a rule, any water damage that results from neglected plumbing issues is not covered. People often underestimate the seriousness of a leaky faucet, shower head or toilet. Pipes in basements that leak often lead to mold or mildew collecting. If mold is collecting, it is usually a sign of slow-developing water damage. Ruined floor boards, sink cabinets, walls, beams and carpeting are not covered if the damage has been building. This is why every homeowner must inspect the home regularly for any signs of moisture. If a dishwasher or hot water heater breaks and floods a room but the damages are not reported immediately, they may not be covered. Prompt reporting is the key to compensation. Flooding from an outside sewer drain backup is not covered.

How To Avoid Water Damage

Leaky faucets and toilets should be fixed immediately. Toilets that flush twice, run too long or have other issues should be repaired promptly. Toilet failure is the leading cause of water damage on home insurance claims in the United States. Another common cause of water damage that is not covered is when water seeps behind the walls of a home. This often happens when there is a crack or a hole in the roof. Keeping the roof in good repair is a must, and be sure to clean the gutters frequently to avoid destructive clogs. Down spouts should be in good repair and should be routed away from homes or garages. Dishwasher and washing machine hoses should be inspected frequently and replaced or tightened as needed. Check visible pipes frequently to look for signs of leaks, and look under bathroom and kitchen sinks weekly to see if any pipes are dripping.

When a sudden emergency happens that causes gushing water, turn off the water source immediately. Try to clean up as much water as possible, and call an agent promptly to get a claim started. To learn more about preparedness and preventing water damage, speak to an agent.