a couch with water damage

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

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Most standard homeowners policies will help cover the costs related of water-related claims when the damage is sudden and accidental. In order to successfully file a claim, the source of the water will also be reviewed. And in some cases, coverage can be limited — depending on how the damage occurred. Here are a few types of water damage events that are typically covered by home insurance:

  • A humidifier hose fitting breaks suddenly and water floods your basement
  • High winds uproot a tree which then falls onto your roof and rain gets into your home
  • Frozen pipes burst, damaging drywall and saturating wall to wall carpeting
  • Ice dams seep water into your home and mold destroys the ceiling, insulation and wallboard below

We know that your homeonwers insurance plays a key role when it comes to protecting everything you’ve worked so hard for. But for real peace of mind, you need to understand how your coverage works, and where gaps in coverage may exist. Let’s take a look at how your homeonwers policy protects you from water damage and learn about additional protection options to help you customize your coverage:


Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Flooding?

Most homeowners policies do not cover flooding — but American Family Insurance offers coverage for floods through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help protect your home and your prized belongings.

If your home is located in a floodplain, or near an area that floods frequently, this coverage can really help protect your savings. Be sure to reach out to your agent to learn more about getting NFIP coverage.

Will home insurance cover water damage?

The short answer: it depends. Sure, your standard homeowners insurance policy covers some costs associated with water damage, but not all types of water damage are covered. Persistent leaks, for instance, that damage your home over time, and maintenance issues that result in water seeping into subflooring will likely not be covered. 

Additional coverages can really help

Let’s clear up the confusion and make sure that you understand how your home insurance works. Your base policy does a good job of protecting you from water damage risks in general. But you’ll find — with the help of some additional coverages — you can better protect yourself from costs related to water damage.

What Type of Water Damage Is Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Suppose you wake up to find your basement flooded due to a faulty washing machine. Your beautiful, newly renovated wood floor is sopping wet and damaged beyond repair. Your first thought? Will my homeowners insurance help pay for this mess?

Sudden and accidental water damage is usually covered

The good news is that under most circumstances, a standard home insurance policy covers appliance or plumbing related water damage that occurs due to an unexpected event that originates in your home. This means you’ll be able to file a claim if the source of the problem hasn’t been occurring over an extended period of time.

Maintenance-related water damage won’t be covered

Your homeowners insurance won’t cover a slowly leaking pipe that gradually drips water onto drywall for several weeks before being discovered. But it does cover a pipe that bursts and quickly floods the bathroom. Keep in mind that in either case, repairs to plumbing or appliances that failed due to regular wear and tear aren’t covered — that’s considered routine maintenance.

What Parts of Your Homeowners Policy Cover Water Damage?

When it comes to water damage and home insurance, it’s important to know the two main types of coverage on your policy that may apply. You’ll have coverage up to your policy’s limit, after paying your deductible:

Dwelling coverage

If the structure of your home is damaged by water due to a covered loss, the dwelling coverage of your homeowners insurance will help to pay for the damage to the structure of your home.

Personal property coverage

If your personal belongings are damaged by water due to a covered event, it’s the personal property coverage that will offer protection for the costs to repair or replace your belongings.

Additional Water Damage Insurance Coverages

While your standard homeowners insurance policy protects you from water damage in many ways, it’s a good idea to have the following additional coverages to provide a broader level of coverage. Be sure to talk to your agent about adding these vital endorsements to your policy:

Sump pump failure and water backup coverage

Your sump pump removes excess water that may accumulate around your home’s foundation, and if the system ever fails, overflow may occur. Adding a sump pump overflow coverage rider is key for customers who have a finished basement.

Sewer and water line coverage

If your home is connected to a municipal sewer, or it has a septic tank, you’ll also want to purchase either sewer back-up or ask your agent about septic back-up coverage to protect against back-ups from those systems.

Hidden water coverage

Take the extra step of protecting your savings with hidden water coverage, which helps cover the cost of water damage that isn’t readily visible. It covers damage from leaks you can’t see in floors, walls, ceilings, cabinets — even under or behind your home’s appliances.


How to Protect Your Home From Water Damage

Your home is where memories are made, and dreams thrive.
And with smart water leak detection services,
it’s easier than ever to protect it from costly water damage.
Install these devices near your washing machine,
water heater or other main water sources in your home.
If a leak occurs, you'll receive a notification on your smartphone
so you can address the issue before it gets out of hand.
And while they may cost a little bit more, some water leak detectors automatically
shut off the main water supply in your home if needed,
making them worth every penny down the line.
Looking for a more comprehensive way to include water damage mitigation
in your smart home protection plan?
Consider a smart home security system.
Many of these integrated systems
can help safeguard you from theft, fire
and yes, even water damage.
Protecting your home from the effects of water damage
is a great reason to invest in this smart technology.
To learn more about smart home technology, contact your agent.
They're here to help you protect what matters most.
♪ American Family Insurance.
The Insurance Information Institute has stated that water damage losses range into the billions of dollars every year and ranks them among the costliest disasters that homeowners can experience. When it comes down to it, you’re best to prevent water damage from occurring in the first place. Consider these options to protect your home from water damage:

Install smart water leak sensors

Early detection systems like smart water leak detectors help sense and alert you of any water leaks, so you can take care of the problem before it causes too much damage. Take a look at our video to learn how smart water leak sensors can help prevent costly damage to your home.

Inspect your roof

Make any repairs to missing, rotten or damaged shingles. Also, clean out your roof gutters so they don’t get clogged on rainy days. Overflowing gutters can allow water to gather near your home’s foundation and find its way to your basement.

Fix water damage issues promptly

Ignoring any moisture damage or putting off the repairs can cause mold, mildew, rot or structural damage to your home. Remember that your home insurance helps cover abrupt and unintentional water damage, but damage that results from a lack of maintenance may not be covered by your policy.

FAQs: Water Damage Insurance & Claims