This is probably the first thing you have in mind if you're wondering what type of water damage is covered by homeowners insurance. Does homeowners insurance cover rain damage caused by water? If it's storm damage, it usually is. But does homeowners insurance cover floods? Almost always, no. In most cases, housing and personal property coverages will cover water damage caused by extinguishing a fire.
If a fire caused by grease destroys your kitchen and the water consumed by firefighters enters your living room and destroys the floor, furniture and plasterboard, your policy must cover the damage. Under most standard home insurance policies, if water damage occurs suddenly or accidentally due to an internal source in the home, such as a broken pipe, it's likely to be covered by your homeowners insurance. If the water comes from outside your home, your standard policy won't cover it. However, you can seek special protection against flood-related damage with flood insurance, which is a standalone policy that can be a smart addition to your current home coverage.
Usually, water damage that is considered “sudden and accidental” is covered (such as a broken pipe), but not gradual damage, such as a leak in the bathroom sink. For example, if the pipe freezes or breaks, the insurance is likely to cover water damage (minus the deductible). Destruction caused by a flood also usually affects two or more properties, while water damage usually affects a single property. For example, if a sock somehow blocks the washing machine's water outlet and floods the laundry room, housing coverage should cover the resulting damage.
If water damage has ruined a personal item, it's normal to remove it from the affected area, but don't throw it in the trash. To mitigate water damage, have a licensed plumber inspect older homes every five years, replace older water heaters, use braided steel supply pipes in washing machines, and shut off supply lines when the machine is not in use. For example, if you remove the drip tray from the washing machine and make a conscious decision not to change it and the water destroys the floor over a period of months, it's unlikely that the insurance company will pay for the damage. Many home and business owners are surprised to discover that water damage and floods are two different types of problems.
Category 1 damage includes water from broken pipes and supply lines, as well as overflowing bathtubs and sinks. In most cases, housing coverage will cover the repair of damage caused by overflowing water from appliances, but only if the overflow occurs accidentally and suddenly. If water damages other laundry items, such as a dryer or cabinets, your personal property coverage should cover the losses. Waking up to a basement flood due to a faulty water heater is not pleasant at all, especially after realizing that the floor is damaged.
Even minor cases of water damage can turn into something much more serious if not handled properly.