Water Damage & Homeowners Insurance Claims — What’s Covered & What’s Not

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Your roof is damaged during a raging storm, causing water to enter your house, resulting in significant damage. As the homeowner, you file an insurance claim, and after a month of waiting, you discover that your insurance company is refusing to cover the cost of repairs.

Water damage is much more common than one might think. From burst pipes in the winter, shoddy plumbing, and leaky hoses to torrential downpour and foundation leaks, water damage can be caused by just about anything. So, what does homeowners insurance cover regarding water damage? The answer is: it depends.

What caused the water damage in your house or property?

Typically, the coverage depends on the SOURCE of the water that caused the damage. A washing machine hose leak could be covered, or the claim could be denied. It all depends on the maintenance performed on that washing machine and hose up until that point. If the insurer can argue that the water damaged could have been prevented, and that you were negligent in maintaining the washing machine and hose, your claim would most likely be denied.

Some instances in which your typical homeowner’s policy may not provide coverage are:

  • Maintenance problems that have not been addressed or attended to.
  • Repair or replacement of the SOURCE of the water damage. That washing machine we talked about? Your water-damaged floors will probably be covered, but the washing machine and hose themselves would not be.
  • Water damage resulting from a natural flood. Water damage caused by a burst pipe which “floods” your entire home, or a portion of your home, is almost always covered under the standard HO-3 homeowners insurance policy. Flood damage from rising waters due a storm or hurricane, on the other hand, is almost always excluded under a standard policy. It’s advised to purchase a separate flood insurance policy if you live in areas that flood often, including Pensacola and the rest of the Gulf Coast. Note that the National Flood Insurance Program defines the term, “flood,” as a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties inundated by water or mudflow.

So how can I avoid water damage in my home?

Even if the water damage is covered, it’s still easier not to have any water damage at all. These tips can help prevent water damage inside your home:

  • Clean your gutters frequently
  • Maintain your sump pump regularly
  • Periodically inspect your roof
  • Inspect and replace hoses on washing machines, dishwashers, water heaters, and refrigerators.
  • Invest in a smart home system that helps prevent and detect leaks
  • Install smart water sensors throughout your home to alert you of a leak
  • Drain your water heater twice a year to prevent sediment buildup, especially if you live in an area with hard water.

Navigating water issues in your home is never easy, but you don’t have to go it alone. Prevention is key, but sometimes water damage is unavoidable.

Call the experts at Restoration and Recovery Contractors of America at (850) 601-3029 or contact us if you need help assessing water damage or getting a plan in place for restoration. Our highly-trained and fully certified residential and commercial restoration techs are available 24/7 and we make it a priority to respond within 1-3 hours. We’ll work as quickly as we can to restore your home back to normal conditions!

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