Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

A fierce storm takes down a tree and it crashes through your roof. It’s bad enough that there is a gaping hole in your bedroom, but now it is raining and destroying everything. A homeowners insurance covers the structural damage to your mattress and hardwood floor.

Water damage can be more common than you may think. In winter, frozen pipes can burst and washing machine hoses can leak. Sprinkler systems also malfunction. Homeowners Insurance covers damages due to a wide range of calamities. To win a water damage case, it is important to know the details of your policy and when it will protect you.

Is Home Insurance Coverable for Water Damage?

The short answer to your question is “sometimes”.

What is the best way to find out if homeowners insurance covers water damage? It all depends on the cause of the water damage. Most cases are covered for a burst pipe. Flood insurance policies are almost always exempted.

This gets more complicated. You could lose your claim if there is a major dishwasher leak. All depends on how well you maintained your dishwasher up to that point. Your insurer might argue that you were negligent and that the water damage was your fault.

What kind of water damage is covered under homeowners insurance?

HO-3 homeowners insurance is the most widely-used standard coverage available. These policies are flexible and cover 16 perils. Many of these can cause water damage such as frozen pipes or summer storms. You don’t have to worry about whether your homeowners policy covers water damage. In most cases it will. It is important that you keep up with your home maintenance. Failure to do so could result in your provider denying your homeowners insurance claim.


If you are wondering about what kind of water damage homeowners insurance covers, this is where you should start. Is homeowners insurance able to cover rainwater damage? If the storm damage is covered, it will generally be yes. However, does home insurance cover flooding? Most likely, no. To help you better understand the potential benefits of your coverage, let’s look at some examples.

Your dwelling coverage will cover the cost of repairs if a storm damages your living room’s window or rains on your sheetrock and furniture. Your personal property coverage will also cover your furniture.

An insurance adjuster may decide that rain damage was caused by negligence. However, the insurer will not pay the claim. If you don’t replace a damaged window or the rain continues to pour in and damages your furniture and walls, the insurance company won’t pay the claim.

Standard home insurance policies don’t cover flood losses. Floods, along with earthquakes, are almost never covered by standard home insurance policies. Flood-prone homeowners can get flood insurance through Federal Emergency Management Agency’s National Flood Insurance Program.

Overflow of Appliances

Most cases, your dwelling insurance will cover damages to appliances that overflow. However, this only applies if the overflow is accidental and sudden. If a sock blocks the water outflow hose of your washer and floods your laundry area, your dwelling coverage should pay for it. Your personal property coverage should be sufficient to cover any water damage to other laundry room items, such as dryers or cabinets.

If the appliance’s water overflow is caused by your negligence, however, homeowners insurance won’t cover it. The insurer will not pay for damage if your refrigerator’s drip pan isn’t replaced and your kitchen floor becomes waterlogged over several months.

Leaking pipes

Your first concern when a pipe bursts or is damaged by an accident or sudden leakage is whether your homeowners insurance covers the cost. The good news is that dwelling coverage should cover any damage. If you accidentally drop a heavy-iron skillet under your sink, cracking a pipe, and then trying to pull it out of the cabinet with your other hand, you may have a valid claim. In the same situation, your personal Property coverage will cover repairs or replacements of cabinets and rugs.

The insurer may deny a claim if the leaking pipes are the result of poor maintenance. The insurance company may deny your claim if you attempt to fix a leaky pipe with duct tape, and it worsens, causing damage to your linoleum floors.

Fire extinguishment

Most cases, water damage caused by a fire will be covered by your personal property and dwelling coverages. Your policy should cover damages caused by a grease fire in your kitchen.

However, an insurer may not pay for water damage or fire if the insured is negligent. Poor maintenance may result in the insurer denying the entire claim.

Backup sewer

Is homeowners insurance able to cover rainwater damage? While we’ve discussed the direct effects of rain, there is another aspect to consider. What if water from an outside or sewer backs up into your home after heavy rain?

This type of water damage is generally not covered by standard home insurance policies. You will usually be able to buy additional sewer backup coverage to supplement your home insurance policy in the event of this problem.

How to file a water damage claim

Before you file a claim for water damage, there are a few things you should do.

  • Stop water flow at its source to prevent further damage. Shut off water immediately if a pipe bursts.
  • Temporary repairs are possible. Cover your living room windows with plastic sheeting if a storm damages them. You may need to call a contractor in some cases to make more extensive repairs.
  • Take out all ruined and wet items. But don’t throw them away. You will need them to support your claim.
  • Get rid of excess water. You may need to rent water vacuums to get rid of standing water. To prevent mold, dry the affected areas thoroughly.
  • Place all personal belongings in a safe place.
  • Report to the police if the damage was caused by illegal activity

Once you have taken the necessary steps to protect your belongings and prevented further damage, it is time to prepare to file an insurance claim.

  • Make a thorough inventory of your belongings and home to determine the extent of damage. Photographs or videos of any damaged structures or personal property should be taken.
  • To include in your claim, keep all receipts related to the incident. You can claim the cost of a tarp that you purchased to cover a roof hole.
  • For assistance in filing a claim, contact your insurance company. The process for filing claims varies from one insurer to the next. You can file your claim online, via a mobile app or by calling a claims center.
  • All claims documents must be completed and filed within the time limit. Include photos, receipts, and videos along with your claim.
  • If your home is destroyed by a natural disaster, you can move out. You may also add expenses like hotel bills or restaurant tabs to your claim.
  • Set up an appointment to meet with a claims adjuster. An adjuster will inspect your damage in detail to determine the cause and the amount of insurance that will cover it.

How to prevent water damage

Regular home maintenance is the best way to avoid water damage .

  • To prevent water seepage from your home and exterior, seal all windows.
  • Take out any trees that could cause problems for the underground aqueduct system.
  • To prevent standing water or direct rainwater runoff from your home, angle the soil at the borders of your house.
  • To prevent debris blocking water flow, install gutter guards. Clean out your downspouts, and place them in a way that diverts water away from your home.
  • Check your roof regularly for missing or damaged shingles. Hire a professional roof inspector to inspect your roof every five years for newer roofs. Professional inspections of older roofs should take place every one to two year.
  • Examine exposed pipes for cracks and leaks. Replace or repair damaged pipes immediately.
  • Check the hoses connecting to appliances like refrigerators and washing machines. Replace damaged or worn-out hoses as soon as possible.
  • To prevent water from leaking, seal tubs and showers.
  • Install an emergency pressure relief valve in your plumbing system if you live in colder climates to stop pipes from burst during winter’s freezing temperatures.
  • Find the location of your main water valve and turn it off if there is a problem.
  • Turn off water supply to appliances before you leave home on vacation.
  • For drastic increases in water usage, pay close attention to your water bill. An indication of a problem in your plumbing system could be excessive water use.

Questions frequently asked

How do you prove water damage

Take photos of any water damage in your home and personal items. Personal items that have been damaged by water should be removed from the affected areas. However, the claims adjuster may request to see them.

Is homeowners insurance able to cover flood damage?

No. Standard homeowners policies don’t cover flood damage. Flood insurance can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program if you live near an area that is susceptible to flooding.

Is mold removal covered by home insurance?

It depends. Your homeowners policy may cover mold remediation if the mold is caused by damage due to a covered peril such as a heavy rainfallstorm. Many standard home insurance policies do not cover mold damage.