Water is one of the biggest threats to your home and your belongings, so knowing what home insurance covers if your home suffers water damage is essential.
Homeowners insurance can pay for damage from certain water problems, including broken pipes.
Water damage (including freeze damage) is one of the most common and costly types of homeowners insurance claims. Each year, about one in 50 homeowners files a claim for water or freeze damage, accounting for 29% of all homeowners insurance claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. the average cost of a water or freeze damage claim is $11,098.
the most expensive home insurance claims
Water and freeze damage claims are the third most expensive type of home insurance claim.
types of water damage covered by homeowners insurance
Generally, water damage that is considered “sudden and accidental” is covered (such as a broken pipe), but gradual damage, such as a leaking bathroom sink, is not. and flooding is not covered, such as damage from storm surge during a hurricane.
Water damage covered by homeowners insurance typically includes:
- Broken pipes. This could include a frozen pipe bursting, but not if you didn’t keep the house adequately heated.
- accidental leaks, such as plumbing leaks or appliance leaks, such as a broken washing machine or dishwasher.
- water damage after a fire from water used to extinguish the flames, such as water from a sprinkler system or fire department hose.
- Water damage from a roof leak, such as damage from a storm or a tree falling on your roof. Keep in mind that if an accident (such as a fallen tree) damages your roof, you’ll need to repair the damage within a reasonable amount of time. failure to do so could result in more water damage that will not be covered.
- water damage due to storm events, such as heavy rain or hail.
- Ice dams, such as ice that builds up in the gutter and damages the home, may be covered as long as the damage was sudden and not caused by lack of maintenance.
- flood damage. in particular, flood damage is not covered by the home insurance policy. Flood water includes hurricanes, tsunamis, storm surges, overflowing river water, and water due to heavy rains. consider flood insurance if you want coverage for these issues.
- Water damage due to lack of maintenance or negligence, such as not fixing a plumbing problem or not keeping the heat on during sub-zero temperatures.
- water damage due to intentional acts, such as setting your house on fire or turning off the heat on purpose during the winter.
- water damage due to “earth movement” such as an earthquake, landslide, or landslide. For example, if your pipe bursts due to an earthquake, the water damage will most likely not be covered. If you want coverage for earthquake damage, you’ll need to purchase a separate earthquake insurance policy.
- Water damage that backs up through a sewer or drain (unless you have purchased special coverage for this problem).
- water damage due to leaks from a swimming pool or other structures.
- Water damage due to seepage or leakage through a foundation.
- the cost to repair or replace the source of the water damage, such as fixing a broken dishwasher or washing machine.
- water damage due to failure of sump pump or related equipment. you may want to consider sump and water backup coverage for those types of issues.
- Drain water heaters twice a year to help prevent sediment buildup.
- Install smart water leak detectors that will send an alert to your phone or email. (some detectors can automatically shut off the water to prevent damage). in a lexisnexis study of 2,306 u.s. homes that installed a flo by moen water leak detector, water-related claims were reduced by 96% compared to the two years prior to installation.
- Inspect the hoses going to and from washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters, and refrigerators. repair or replace damaged hoses if necessary.
- Inspect your roof and make any necessary repairs, such as replacing missing, rotten, or damaged shingles. It’s also a good idea to clean roof gutters. Clogged gutters can overflow and allow water to pool near a home’s foundation, potentially leaking into your basement.
- Prevent pipes from freezing if you live in an area with extremely cold temperatures. keep the heat at least 50 degrees and consider other precautions, such as wrapping pipes with insulation. Read more about preventing and thawing frozen pipes from the American Red Cross.
- remove snow from your roof to avoid possible accumulations of ice. Snow can melt and freeze on roofs and gutters, causing ice dams, which can cause damage to both the exterior and interior of homes. A roof rake can help you remove snow from the roof to limit the chance of snow drifts.
- Remove leaves from gutters each fall to reduce the risk of clogging drains, which can lead to winter ice dams.
types of water damage not covered by homeowners insurance
Here are some common issues not typically covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy:
Main causes of claims in home insurance
how can i protect my house from water damage?
One of the best ways to protect a home from water damage is by taking some preventive measures. keeping up with routine maintenance and making quick repairs is key.
Remember, homeowners insurance covers water damage that is “sudden and accidental,” but not gradual problems or maintenance issues. If you have a problem like a leaky faucet, it’s best to fix it as soon as possible.
here are other steps you can take: