Recently, a friend asked me as his “Insurance Expert” if his house was covered for water damage.
The short answer was: Homeowners’ insurance does cover certain types of water damage but not others, depending on the cause.
Fortunately, most home insurances offer coverage for:
- Water damage from pipes that freeze up and burst on you
- An appliance or bathroom fixture leaking
- A storm blowing a tree through your roof and rain pouring in
“If the cause is gradual and preventable, including wear and tear or a lack of maintenance, then water damage is generally not covered by home insurance. For example, damage caused by a leak from a rusty old pipe or a roof with missing shingles past its replacement age is likely not covered.”
As a Licensed Insurance agent, I always recommend that if you find any type of water leak, you try to stop it at the source or call a professional to do it right away before it causes more harm. The most important you control the damage is to document what happened the best you can by:
- Take pictures of the damage.
- Capture notes on when, where, and how it happened the best you can.
- If you can, make sure you know what caused it and add that to your notes, this will help your carrier identify the proper coverages if you file a claim.
- If it is weather related, make sure you get some documentation from the news, newspaper, or the Weather channel / APP.
The next step is to inspect it right away before you decide to make a claim, and if it is roof related, I refer folks all the time to fantastic companies like @Jenkins Roofing.
The most important thing is to find the issue, stop the leak from doing more harm, pause, then decide on a course of action; often, a simple repair does not need to drive a claim.
Most people are unaware that any claim, whether any money is paid or not, could potentially impact your coverages and insurance costs in the future.
I recommend that it is best to speak to a licensed repair professional and your agent to determine if you should file a claim before making a claim.