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Homeowners Insurance, Renters Insurance, and Water Damage Coverage

Whether you have homeowners or renters insurance, it’s important to understand what your insurance does, and does not cover. Oftentimes there’s a fine line dividing the two. The big difference between homeowners and renters insurance, is that homeowners insurance covers the actual building you live in (and associated structures such as garages). Where with renter's insurance, the owner will be expected to have coverage on the building, while your insurance will cover your personal property. One of the most common, and costly, types of insurance claims by homeowners, is water damage. This includes damage caused by hard freezes. Every year, about one in 50 homeowners file a water damage or freezing claim, accounting for 29% of all homeowner’s insurance claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Generally, water damage that is considered gradual, like a leaking bathroom sink, isn’t covered, but water damage that is considered “sudden and accidental” is covered (like a burst pipe).

Types Of Water Damage Commonly Covered By Homeowners Insurance:

Sudden or Accidental Water Discharge, Burst Pipes. Accidental Leaks. Such as leaking plumbing/appliances, or a broken washing machine/dishwasher.

Water Damage After A Fire. From the water used to extinguish the flames, such as water from a sprinkler system or a hose from the fire department.

Water Damage From A Roof Leak. Such as damage from a storm or a tree that falls on your roof. Keep in mind, that if an accident (like a fallen tree) damages your roof, you’ll be required to fix the damage in a reasonable amount of time. Failure to do so could result in further water damage that won’t be covered.

Water Damage From Storms. Typically covers water damage caused by storms, such as heavy rainfall, hail, or wind-driven rain that enters your home through openings like broken windows or damaged roofs.

Ice Dams. Ice that builds up in your gutter and damages your home, may be covered as long as the damage was sudden and wasn’t caused by a lack of maintenance.

Types Of Water Damage Commonly Not Covered By Homeowners Insurance:

Flood Damage. Most notably, damage from floods is not covered by home insurance policy. Flood water includes hurricanes, tsunamis, storm surges, water from overflowing rivers, and water due to heavy rain. If you want coverage for these problems, you should look into getting flood insurance.

Gradual Water Damage. Homeowners insurance typically does not cover water damage that occurs gradually over time due to maintenance issues, wear and tear, or lack of proper repairs. Examples include long-term leaks, seepage, or recurring plumbing problems that could have been addressed through regular maintenance.

Water Damage From Intentional Acts. Insurance policies are designed to provide coverage for unforeseen events and accidents, rather than intentional damage caused by the policyholder or other individuals. Intentional acts that may lead to water damage include acts of vandalism, malicious mischief, or deliberate actions such as setting a fire to your home or purposely turning off the heat during the winter.

Water Damage From “Earth Movement" like an earthquake, landslide, or mudslide. For example, if your pipe bursts because of an earthquake, the water damage most likely won’t be covered. If you want coverage for earthquake damage, you’ll need to buy a separate policy specifically for earthquake insurance.

Sewer Backup. Standard homeowners insurance policies usually do not cover damage caused by sewer backups or sump pump failures. (However, separate endorsements or riders may be available to add coverage for these specific situations.)

Water damage from leaks in a swimming pool or other outdoor water structures is generally not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies. Insurance providers typically consider swimming pools, hot tubs, and similar outdoor water features as separate entities that require specialized coverage. Therefore, any damage resulting from leaks or malfunctions in these structures may not be included in the standard policy.

Water damage from seepage or leaks through a foundation is a common concern for homeowners. However, it's important to note that standard homeowners insurance policies typically do not cover this type of water damage. Water damage resulting from foundation issues is often considered a maintenance issue rather than a sudden and accidental event..

The Cost To Repair Or Replace The Source Of The Water Damage like fixing a broken dishwasher or washing machine.

Water damage from a sump pump failure or related equipment can be a significant concern for homeowners, especially for those with basements or low-lying areas prone to water accumulation. Standard homeowners insurance policies typically do not cover this type of water damage, as it is often considered a maintenance issue. (However, homeowners have the option to obtain additional coverage known as sump and water backup coverage.)

While specific questions regarding your policy and coverage are best handled by your insurance adjuster, the experts at ServiceMaster Restore can help you get through the process without headache or hassle. Contact one of our local experts to help you get through the crisis. CALL 1-800-RESPOND FOR WATER DAMAGE RESTORATION AFTER DISASTER STRIKES. FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU