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Does Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Published by 911 Restoration Washington DC on January 16, 2023 in category: Water Damage Restoration

We are a water damage restoration company. The most common question we get from homeowners is “Does my insurance coverage water damage?”. This will depend on the extent of the damage and how quickly it was resolved. Each insurance policy is different, so it’s worth speaking with your agent to find out what you’re covered. This guide will cover:

  • These are the most frequent water damage claims.
  • Your claim may be covered by insurance.
  • These are some tips that will help you maximize your insurance claim and get paid.


What Types Of Water Damage Does Insurance Cover?

Let’s take a look at what is usually covered and what isn’t, and what insurance companies will pay.

Water Damage Insurance

Many homeowners policies cover “unexpected and accidental” damage to their property. This coverage is available when an unavoidable and unexpected problem occurs, such as a burst pipe or water heater. In these instances, your insurance company might cover the cost of drying and repairing your property.

Water Damage Homeowners Insurance Will Cover The Following:

  • Pipe bursts and breaks
  • Flooding can be caused by malfunctioning appliances such as water heaters or dishwashers.
  • Overflowing toilets, water backups from the sump pumps or sewer lines in the property
  • Rainwater falling
  • Roof leaks and Ice Dams
  • It’s easy to quickly find and fix any plumbing issues or water leakages.


If Insurance Doesn’t Cover Water Damages

Insurance companies will not cover water damages that are caused by negligence, “gradual harm”, or water sources that have reached your property. Water damage homeowners insurance will not cover:

  • Gradual damage from a foundation crack or continuing leak
  • Neglectful maintenance, poor maintenance or wear and tear could cause damage
  • Repair or replacement of plumbing costs
  • External rising water (floods or river overflows), hurricanes etc.
  • Backups of the sump pump, drain or sewer line outside your home


In some cases, insurance companies might pay for hidden water damage or leaks
Gradual damage is damage that results from the gradual release of water over a prolonged period. If your home is damaged by visible leaky dishwashers over a long period of time, your insurance company might not cover the claim.

What happens if the leak is not apparent because the pipe is behind a wall or something?

As we keep saying, everything boils down to your policy. Providers understand that water damage can only be detected once there is a leak. If you solve the problem quickly and don’t do anything wrong, they may be able to accept your claim. Check with your agent to confirm that your insurance covers water damage due to a pipe burst or an appliance.


Different Types Of Water Damage Insurance Claims

Does homeowner’s insurance cover water damage due to leaking pipes?
 It depends on whether the leak is accidental or sudden. It is also important to find out if the leak was discovered quickly, usually within 7-14 days. If the leaks are not visible or under your control, insurance might cover them. Insurance companies will cover water damage cleanup costs and repairs if the wall is torn down to fix the leak. If a ceiling leaks, and you need to repair the water damage, the insurance company will cover the costs. Insurance companies are likely to cover accidental or sudden leakages.

  • Leakage of slabs
  • Air conditioner leakage
  • Hidden leaks or water damage that is not readily visible to the homeowner are difficult or impossible for them to spot.

If insurance doesn’t cover water damages from plumbing leaks
Insurance companies won’t cover plumbing leaks that have been occurring for a long time or are the result of poor maintenance. Let’s suppose you have a ceiling leak similar to the one shown above. Let’s say you decide to fix the leak by putting a bucket underneath it for five years. Now, you are suffering from severe water damage and decide to file an insurance claim. In this instance, they will most likely deny your claim.


Plumbing Leaks Insurance Doesn’t Cover:

  • Leaks that happen over several weeks (also called ‘gradual damage’).
  • Leaky plumbing can be caused by old age.
  • Plumbing leaks can be caused by neglect or poor maintenance.


How insurance adjusters decide if they will cover your water leak

Although most insurance companies don’t require that you tear out the drywall to inspect for leaks, they will expect you to address any problems with your plumbing as soon as possible. When you file an insurance claim, your insurance company will send out an adjuster to evaluate the damage. An adjuster will be able to tell you if the leak is recent or older and whether you could have prevented it. The adjuster will inspect your home for the following signs to determine if the leak is covered.

  • The exact location of the leakage, and whether it was visible.
  • It is easy to tell if water damage has occurred due to a recent leak or ongoing one.
  • Owners need to address corrosion, rust and wear and tear as soon as possible.
  • They could have replaced an appliance or plumbing that is more than its owner knows.


Ceiling Leakage Water Damage

Does insurance cover water damage caused by broken pipes?
Water damage is usually covered by homeowners insurance because they fall under the umbrella of “sudden and accidental” events that are beyond your control. A frozen pipe burst is one claim that they might deny. Your pipes could freeze and burst if you travel in winter and turn off your heat. If your claim is not based on carelessness, insurance companies might not cover you.

Does insurance cover plumbing repairs to appliances or pipes?

It all depends on your policy regarding plumbing repairs. Insurance companies may not cover the cost to repair or replace the pipe. They will only cover water damage. Insurance companies will pay for repairs to the plumbing system as well as other appliances such water heaters or furnaces. Discuss your policy with your agent and make sure to read it thoroughly.

Is Mold Insurance Covered?
It all depends on what caused the mold. If the mold was caused by an accident or sudden water-damage, your insurance company may cover some mold-removal expenses. Here are some examples where mold insurance may cover you:

  • A sudden pipe or plumbing breakage can lead to mold.
  • A malfunctioning appliance can lead to mold, such as a burst water heater or overflowing washer.
  • Firefighters use water to put out fires that can later lead to mold growth.
  • Storms can lead to water leaking from your roof, causing mold growth and exposing you.


These are just a few examples of situations in which insurance will not cover mold. 
Mold Removal is usually not covered if it’s caused by poor maintenance, flooding or leaks.

  • Mold growth has been caused by a visible, ongoing leak that was not addressed immediately.
  • It is important to ensure that your home and bathroom are not subject to excessive humidity.
  • Mold growth can be caused by flooding, river overflows, and hurricanes. Flood damage will require separate insurance.
  • Mold growth can be caused by poorly maintained roofs

Insurance for roof leaks: Is it worth it?

Most homeowners insurance policies cover roof leaks that are caused by uncontrollable or sudden water damage. These roof leaks and damage will be covered by insurance:

  • Hail and wind damage
  • Fire
  • Lightning
  • Trees and other objects falling
  • Ice dams
  • Water damage due to sudden or accidental water loss (broken pipes, malfunctioning appliances)

If a roof leak is caused by any of these reasons, your insurance policy will pay for the roof replacement or repair costs. Your insurance policy will also cover water damage to other areas of your home. As we mentioned, insurance does not cover roof leaks caused by poor maintenance. If you wait to replace roof shingles or for other maintenance items, insurance might not cover you.


Can insurance be purchased to protect against rainwater damage?

Yes! If a storm damages your roof or windows, and rain water gets into your home, your insurance policy will cover the cost of repairing and restoring the roof and any interior damage. These are examples of rainwater damage that insurance companies will accept:

  • Hail damage can result in hail damage from rain entering through windows or roofs.
  • High winds can cause severe damage to buildings or tornadoes can bring down the rain.
  • Rain infiltration can be caused by lightning damage to your home or roof.
  • Rain from fallen trees can enter your roof and cause damage to your roof.

Poor home maintenance and rain damage will not be covered. Insurance companies will not cover rain damage from roof damage or preexisting holes, as they consider this a lack of maintenance.
Floodwater that enters your home from heavy rains is not covered by insurance. Flood damage occurs when water rises from below the ground.

Flood Insurance Is Available

The short answer to this question is no. However, it depends on your definition of flooding. Flooding and water damage are terms that people who are not in the flood insurance business use interchangeably. Flooding is a term that has a specific meaning for insurance and restoration. Flooding refers to external water sources, which are increasing in insurance terminology. The following can cause flood damage:

  • Rivers that overflow
  • Heavy rainfall can cause flash floods
  • Water can seep into the ground if it is too saturated
  • Heavy rains can cause flooding and blockage of sewers.
  • Snow melts
  • Hurricanes and Tsunamis

Floodwater from outside your home is not covered by insurance. Flood protection policies can be purchased through either the National Flood Insurance Program or a private provider.
Flooding in your home will be covered by insurance if it was caused by water damage. Broken pipes, appliance leaks, and wind-driven rain are all covered. Water comes from the roof, and doesn’t touch the ground.

Flood Water In A Home

Does insurance cover basement flooding or crawlspace flooding?
In most cases, yes. It all depends on what caused the flooding. Basements and crawl spaces are located at the lowest levels of the house, where water can easily travel. Flooding is much more likely when you consider the number of pipes and water-based equipment that are located in these areas. In certain situations, homeowners insurance may cover water damage to crawl spaces or basements. Broken pipes and faulty plumbing:

  • Appliances such as refrigerators, water heaters, and washing machines that are broken or not working properly can be reported to the manufacturer.
  • Overflows from a backyard bathtub, sink, or pool
  • Frozen pipes

Here are some basement flooding examples that insurance will not cover.
Insurance companies won’t cover water damage to crawl spaces or basements if it was not caused by poor maintenance or water from the outside.

  • Sump pump failures and sewer backups from outside sewer systems will require a separate endorsement.
  • Water seepage into foundation cracks
  • Floodwater from rivers, hurricanes and heavy rains must be insured by the National Flood Insurance Program.
  • Poor maintenance and old pipes can lead to water damage.
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