Does my insurance policy cover water damage?

Water damage is one of the most common and most misunderstood causes of home insurance claims. It’s no wonder you have a lot of questions about whether your insurance covers water damage and, if so, how much.

An area of confusion is often what is covered by a home insurance policy – and what isn’t.

Your home insurance policy will typically define “differential coverage,” or exclude altogether, water damage based on the cause/type of the water damage.

The standard homeowner policy will include:

  • Damages caused by the weight of ice, snow or sleet. This can cause roof collapse or water damage, along with other problems.
  • Discharge and overflow of water, even if it is an accident.
  • Tearing apart, cracking, burning or bulging of a steam or hot water heating system.
  • Freezing of plumbing and pipes.

However, if you opted for the least expensive policy, or if you’re restricted to a policy like an HO-1 or HO-8, you might have very limited coverage. Unlike the other standard policies, these cover a very limited set of damages and will not normally include the items listed above.

In addition to the cause of the water damage, another often overlooked issue is whether the source of the damage is accidental and sudden, or gradual.

Gradual water damage is not usually covered, so although your policy might have some water damage coverages, if the reason for the damage is defined by the inspector as “not being sudden and accidental,” then you are most likely to be denied in a claim.

That is why it is critically important to contact a professional as soon as you notice any damage, so that the inspection will be more likely to define the damage as sudden and accidental. This is our specialty, as we work directly with the insurance provider to give you the best possible outcome AND coverage.