Most homeowners’ insurance claims are water-related. However, many policyholders are unaware of the water damage coverage offered by their insurance policy. For example, some policies will cover waste lines such as a failed drainpipe in a crawl space and some will not.
A policyholder may end up feeling confused and upset when they file a claim only to realize that the policy does not cover or partially covers the water damage event.
It is vital that policyholders ask their agents what water damage the policy covers and what it excludes. Not all policies are the same. The affordable policy you think you are getting a deal on can have many holes in your insurance coverage.
What water damage does a homeowners insurance policy typically cover? Usually, the insurance policy will cover water damage claims that are “sudden and accidental” and not neglect, wear and tear, or routine maintenance. Those are the responsibilities of the homeowner.
For example, water damage entering the home through leaks and cracks is the owner’s responsibility and can be prevented through home maintenance.
Likewise, a roof leak with unmaintained shingles and tiles is the homeowners’ responsibility. However, if that same roof has a tree that falls on it that causes damage, then that should be covered.
Here are some common water-related damages that may or may not be covered:
- Water heater and pipe bursts. Generally, a homeowners’ policy will cover all the damage caused by an event if it is not a failure resulting in a leak or drip that continues for a while. The policy will not cover this accident if the house is unoccupied or without heat.
- A toilet, tub, overflowing sink, or dishwasher failure. Water damage to the structure and contents caused by these items are only covered by insurance if they are “sudden or accidental”. Coverage for mold damage varies widely between companies, so check with your insurance to see to what degree mold is covered.
- Damage from a flood. Homeowners’ policies don’t usually cover flood damage. You need to purchase a separate federal government policy for this coverage. Your insurance agent can offer you the policy.
- In-home fire sprinklers & air-conditioning. Homeowners’ policies usually cover these conditions.
- Large water spills. The insurance will typically cover damages caused by a large fish tank or bucket spill.
- Slow dripping water leaks. The insurance will typically not cover a pinhole leak in a pipe, a dripping icemaker line to the refrigerator, a leaky toilet, or an incorrectly sealed bathtub. Most insurance companies will consider this negligence.
With an array of different homeowner policies, it is crucial you read the policy and review it with your agent to know what coverage you have. Finding out you do not have insurance coverage for water damage could cost thousands or even tens of thousands of dollars to repair. Or Finding out you have coverage but did not use it could be just as costly.
Call professionals when you have water damage. Most water damage is not something that a homeowner can address on their own. It is a serious structural problem that must be dealt with by trained professionals. If you suspect that you have water damage, and you live in Southern California, do not hesitate to call our team of qualified experts today. 949-877-9697 Our services include Mold Testing & Remediation, Water & Flood Restoration, Fire & Smoke Restoration, Contents Cleaning, Odor and Sewage Removal, Roof Tarping, Rebuild, and more!