Even when you have homeowners insurance, should you be worried about what could happen if your home suffers water damage? Does your homeowner’s insurance cover water damage? These are the questions many homeowners ask and one that you may be asking.
When it comes to insurance, you can never be too careful. That is because the terms of an insurance policy are specific. Moreover, as Income Realty Corp. point out, insurance policies often have technical language that most homeowners do not understand. Therefore, misunderstandings are not uncommon.
Knowing the limits of a specific insurance policy will let you know what to expect or not expect. It can help you detect the risks to your assets. It will guide you in the proper steps to protect yourself, your loved ones, and your belongings from those risks.
Does your homeowner’s insurance cover water damage?
Yes, homeowners insurance does cover water damage. But not every kind of water damage is covered by the policy. There are several ways water can damage a home, but the only types of water damage covered by homeowner insurance are those where:
- The water is released suddenly and accidentally.
- Water came from a source that is within the home.
Water damage must meet these two conditions to be eligible for homeowners insurance coverage. It excludes damages caused by water coming into the home from the outside. Also, it excludes damages if the water source is from inside the house but not sudden and accidental.
What does this mean?
a) It excludes damage from unresolved maintenance issues
When the policy says that in a case of water damage, the water must be released suddenly and accidentally, it means the incident should be unpreventable. On the other hand, water damage from poor maintenance is preventable. If a homeowner takes steps to keep the home’s plumbing and water-utilizing appliances in good condition, the event will not occur. If the owner is negligent, resulting in water damage, the policy will not compensate the homeowner.
b) The water source must be internal
To be covered by the policy, the water causing the damage must never touch the ground outside. That means your home will be covered if the water damage is the result of;
• Pipes that accidentally burst (due to freezing, overflow, or faulty installation).
• Appliances malfunctioning and leaking water into the home.
• Water damage to the home’s interior due to a roof leak.
• Appliances overflowing accidentally.
• Vandalism causing water damage.
• Water damage when extinguishing a fire.
• Rain or snowstorms.
These two conditions are crucial in every case where the homeowner’s insurance covers water damage. For example, if water gets into the home through a broken window during a storm, the resulting damage may or may not be covered. The insurer will want to know if there was any damage to the windowpane before the storm. And if the homeowner could have taken steps to fix the damage.
Water damage not covered by homeowners insurance
In addition to improper maintenance that results in water damage, homeowner’s insurance does not cover the following types of water damage:
1. Ground seepage
If a house stands on ground that is oversaturated with water, water may travel through the soil’s pores and find its way into the foundation or basement floors. When this can happen, the walls, subfloors, and structures of the house will absorb that moisture and become weak. Carpets, doors, drywall, wallpaper, and other home contents may become damaged as a result. Homeowner’s insurance will not cover damage that is the result of this process.
2. Sewer pipe backups
There are sewer pipes that connect your home to the municipal sewer. These sewer pipes also transport wastewater from the house to the municipal sewer.
Under certain circumstances, the flow of wastewater from these pipes may be interrupted. Instead of it flowing to the sewers, it flows back into the home. It can result from excess rain, overwhelmed sewers, damage to the pipes by tree roots, and blocked pipes. Homeowner’s insurance does not cover damages resulting from sewer backup.
Flooding is legally defined by the National Flood Insurance Program as “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.” The flood may come from overflowing or surging water bodies, such as rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans. It could be the result of heavy rain, snow, or human actions. Regardless of the cause or origin of a flood, the homeowner’s insurance will not cover it.
If you think your home has exposure to any of the uncovered perils, you can get coverage by buying a policy that covers the specific danger. Or you can purchase add-ons to your homeowners’ insurance policy. To protect yourself from ground seepage, you may add slow leak coverage to your homeowner’s insurance. For coverage against flood and sewer backups, get flood insurance.
To read more about Homeowner’s Insurance, read our previous blog, HERE!
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