Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

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Owning a home is a considerable investment. As such, it requires adequate security and protection.

One way you can secure your property is by having homeowners insurance. There are numerous benefits you can earn from it. These include:

  • Liability coverage – If a visitor sustains injuries on your property, there is a possibility that you may be held liable. When this happens, you can end up having to spend thousands of dollars on medical bills, compensations, and legal fees. (NOTE: if you have homeowners insurance, you will enjoy protection from such liabilities. Your homeowners insurance will handle the medical bills, legal fees, and compensation if necessary)
  • Protect your main dwelling – Numerous accidents and disasters can destroy a home. Some of them include fire outbreaks, pest infestation, tornadoes, hurricanes, etc. These can lead to a total loss of the property. But with homeowners insurance, you can protect your home from these horrible occurrences. 
     
  • Protect your detached structures – In addition to your main dwellings, homeowners insurance covers your sheds, doghouse, garage, patios, fences, and so on. However, the coverage for detached structures is about 10% of the coverage limit for the main building. If you need additional coverage for detached structures, you can (and should) customize your policy. 
     
  • Loss of use insurance – Sometimes, a covered event may force you out of your home. As a result, you will need to conduct repairs or renovations. During this time, you may have to secure temporary accommodations in a hotel. Your homeowners insurance will cover the hotel bills and additional living expenses while your home repairs are ongoing. 
     
  • Coverage for your belongings – When purchasing your premium, your insurance company will inventory all the items inside your property. If a covered peril destroys your belongings, you will get a reimbursement depending on your policy.
     

It is essential to know the extent of coverage your homeowners insurance policy offers. Doing so will prevent you from overestimating or underestimating your policy. Most times, homeowners face these issues when dealing with water damage. They believe that their home enjoys coverage from all forms of water damage.

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Does homeowners insurance cover water damage?

Homeowners insurance covers water damage.

However, the water damage must meet two specific criteria. These are:

1. The water must come from a source that is inside the home.

Homeowners insurance only covers water damage that originates from the home. It does not provide coverage for water that enters your house from sources outside your property, for example, natural disasters such as heavy rainfall or flooding. It also excludes water damages that originate from your property following a blocked sewer line.

2. The water must be released suddenly and accidentally.

Even when the water damage is within your home, it should be from a sudden and accidental burst. That is only when your insurance will provide coverage. If the water damage is from gradual release or neglected maintenance, your homeowners insurance will not provide coverage.

Slowly occurring water damage is exempted because they give you enough time to perform repairs before they escalate.

Examples of such gradual water damage include:

  • Water damage following mold growth or corrosion.
  • Water damage from gradual seepage through walls or foundation cracks.
  • Water damage following roof damage.
  • Undetected plumbing leaks that cause damage to walls, floors, and ceilings.

The homeowners policy will also exclude the following from its coverage:

  • Repairing or replacing the source of water damage. For instance, if the water damage was due to a faulty appliance, your homeowners insurance will only handle the water damage. It will not repair or replace the faulty device.
  • When there is proof that you could have prevented the water damage by performing the necessary maintenance. In this case, the insurance policy will interpret it as a case of negligence by the homeowner.
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Does homeowners insurance cover flooding?

According to the national flood insurance program, “Flooding is a general and temporary condition where two or more acres of normally dry land or two or more properties are inundated by water or mudflow.”

In this situation, the water source is from the outside. Here, water enters your home from external and natural sources such as rivers, streams, lakes, other water bodies, storms, or hurricanes. Water damages from all these cases do not enjoy coverage from homeowners insurance.

However, if the flooding is from a burst pipe in your home, your homeowners insurance will cover it. Here, the homeowners insurance recognizes such incidents as water damage but not flooding. In the real sense, homeowners insurance does not cover flooding.

The bottom line

Homeowners insurance offers a wide range of protection from several perils. However, the extent of the coverage you can enjoy varies depending on the type of policy you choose. If you need extra protection from flooding or other natural disasters, you can request for add-on or a separate policy to enjoy wider coverage.

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