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Homeowners Insurance, Renters Insurance, and Water Damage Coverage

Whether you have homeowners or renters insurance, it’s important to understand what your insurance does, and does not cover. Oftentimes there’s a fine line dividing the two. The big difference between homeowners and renters insurance, is that homeowners insurance covers the actual building you live in (and associated structures such as garages). Where with renter's insurance, the owner will be expected to have coverage on the building, while your insurance will cover your personal property. One of the most common, and costly, types of insurance claims by homeowners, is water damage. This includes damage caused by hard freezes. Every year, about one in 50 homeowners file a water damage or freezing claim, accounting for 29% of all homeowner’s insurance claims, according to the Insurance Information Institute. Generally, water damage that is considered gradual, like a leaking bathroom sink, isn’t covered, but water damage that is considered “sudden and accidental” is covered (like a burst pipe).

Types Of Water Damage Commonly Covered By Homeowners Insurance:

Sudden or Accidental Water Discharge, Burst Pipes. Accidental Leaks. Such as leaking plumbing/appliances, or a broken washing machine/dishwasher.

Water Damage After A Fire. From the water used to extinguish the flames, such as water from a sprinkler system or a hose from the fire department.

Water Damage From A Roof Leak. Such as damage from a storm or a tree that falls on your roof. Keep in mind, that if an accident (like a fallen tree) damages your roof, you’ll be required to fix the damage in a reasonable amount of time. Failure to do so could result in further water damage that won’t be covered.

Water Damage From Storms. Heavy rainfall or hail.

Ice Dams. Ice that builds up in your gutter and damages your home, may be covered as long as the damage was sudden and wasn’t caused by a lack of maintenance.

Types Of Water Damage Commonly Not Covered By Homeowners Insurance:

Flood Damage. Most notably, damage from floods is not covered by home insurance policy. Flood water includes hurricanes, tsunamis, storm surges, water from overflowing rivers, and water due to heavy rain. If you want coverage for these problems, you should look into getting flood insurance.

Water Damage Due To Lack Of Maintenance Or Negligence. Not repairing a plumbing problem or failing to keep the heat on during freezing temperatures.

Water Damage From Intentional Acts. Setting a fire to your home or purposely turning off the heat during the winter.

Water Damage From “Earth Movement" like an earthquake, landslide, or mudslide. For example, if your pipe bursts because of an earthquake, the water damage most likely won’t be covered. If you want coverage for earthquake damage, you’ll need to buy a separate policy specifically for earthquake insurance.

Water Damage That Backs Up A sewer or drain backup (unless you purchased special coverage for this problem.)

Water Damage From Leaks from a swimming pool or other outdoor water structures.

Water Damage From Seepage Or Leaks Through A Foundation.

The Cost To Repair Or Replace The Source Of The Water Damage like fixing a broken dishwasher or washing machine.

Water Damage From A Sump Pump Failure or related equipment. You may want to consider sump and water backup coverage for those types of problems.

While specific questions regarding your policy and coverage are best handled by your insurance adjuster, the experts at ServiceMaster Restore can help you get through the process without headache or hassle. Contact one of our local experts to help you get through the crisis. CALL 1-800-RESPOND FOR WATER DAMAGE RESTORATION AFTER DISASTER STRIKES. FIND A LOCATION NEAR YOU