Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

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

Generally, if the cause is sudden and accidental — 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 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’s past its replacement age likely isn’t covered.  

Flooding — when an accumulation of water from the outside flows into a house — and sewer backups are generally not covered by a standard homeowners policy. Separate flood insurance may be available through the National Flood Insurance Program. And sewer backup coverage may also be available.  

If you suffer water damage because of a sudden, unforeseen event, the dwelling coverage in your homeowners 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 homeowners 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 homeowners policy probably doesn’t cover. Check with your agent to be sure you know exactly what’s covered by your policy. 

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