does home insurance cover water damage

Does Home Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Table of Contents

Executive Summary

  • Home insurance does cover water damage, but it depends on the type of water damage and the circumstances behind it.
  • Standard home insurance policies may not cover water damage if it’s preventable, the result of a flood, or due to neglected maintenance on the property.
  • Supplemental insurance like flood insurance or sewer backup insurance can be good options for providing your home with additional protection against water damage.
  • Professional water damage restoration companies may work directly with your insurance company to get the repairs covered.

Home insurance does cover water damage, but only in certain circumstances. Insurance coverage pays for necessary repairs and provides a small silver lining to the stress of a water damage incident. To get the coverage you need for water damage restoration, it’s crucial to understand your home insurance policy and what it covers.

If your insurance policy does cover water damage, you’ll need to take the proper steps to document the damage and contact your insurance company. This guide covers everything you need to know about navigating the home insurance process for support in a successful water damage restoration.

What Home Insurance Typically Covers

When you sign up for a home insurance plan, you can typically expect it to cover a few specific situations. In blanket terms, home insurance policies usually cover forms of damage that are “sudden and accidental”.

Some of the most common incidents covered under home insurance include damage from:

  • Leaking roofs
  • Fallen trees
  • Certain instances of water damage
  • Ice dams
  • Vandalism
  • Frozen or burst pipes

For the most part, water intrusion resulting from storm damage is covered as long as it was the result of the weather and wasn’t preventable. However, coverage for damage caused by storms or natural disasters can depend on your policy.

For situations that are covered by home insurance, your insurance company will assess the scope of the damage and pay for the estimated cost of the repairs. In general, homeowners insurance is likely to cover any event that the homeowner could not prevent. However, there are some exceptions.

What Home Insurance Typically Does Not Cover

Although home insurance does cover a considerable number of circumstances, you shouldn’t assume you have coverage. There are several instances where water damage may not be covered by your policy, so it’s important to know how to respond if it doesn’t.

An insurance company typically won’t cover water damage repairs under the following circumstances:

  • A lack of maintenance – If water damage to your home was a result of neglected maintenance, then your insurance company may not provide coverage if they decide the damage was preventable.
  • Gradual damage – In cases where damage occurred over a period of time, whether the water damage itself or the damage that led to the water damage, your insurance company may consider that it was preventable and not cover the damage. 
  • The source of damage – Even if your insurance company does cover water damage repairs, coverage may be limited. For example, if your air conditioner leaks, they may cover water damage repairs to your roof or ceiling but may not pay to replace the unit itself.
  • External flooding – If the weather causes flooding and it enters your home, it won’t be covered by a standard insurance policy. If you live in an area where flooding is possible, you can add on flood insurance for additional protection.
  • Sewer backups – Backups to external sewer systems or drains that result in flooding in your home are often not covered.

Water Damage vs. Flood Damage

The difference between typical water damage and flood damage has important implications for insurance coverage, so it’s essential for homeowners to understand the nuances of each type of water damage.

According to the legal definition set by the FEMA National Flood Insurance Program, a flood is when two or more acres of dry land or two or more properties are temporarily inundated by water or mudflow from bodies of water or water runoff.  Flood damage is often not covered by standard plans.

Meanwhile, water damage is typically caused by factors from inside the home. Some of these factors can include a burst pipe, damaged appliances, damaged plumbing, or a leaky roof. Many of these incidents are covered by standard home insurance.

Additional Water Damage Coverage Options

If you’re concerned about your home’s protection against water damage and are concerned about lacking coverage, there are other supplemental insurance options that you can pursue for the sake of extra protection.

The two most common are:

  • Flood insurance – Flood insurance is geared specifically toward covering flood damage from weather events. If you live in an area with high risks of heavy rainfall or natural disasters like a hurricane, this supplemental coverage is a good idea. 
  • Sewer backup insurance – This coverage protects homeowners against water damage occurring from sewer backups that cause water to enter the home through the drains.

Purchasing these insurance options comes with the benefit of added peace of mind. Yes, they do cost more money, but paying for supplemental insurance now can save you considerable costs down the line.

Preventive Measures for Water Damage

Water damage is often unpredictable, but that doesn’t mean you have no control in mitigating the potential risks. In many cases, working to keep your home in its best condition will leave your home less vulnerable to water damage.

Some ways to prevent water damage include:

  • Perform regular maintenance – Common sources of water damage include gutters and drainage pipes, so regularly maintaining these systems and addressing plumbing issues as soon as they arise can go a long way.
  • Inspect for leaks inside the home – Check inside the home for potential leaks that can cause damage. Common culprits include under sinks and toilets, behind appliances, and around the water heater. Checking your water bill for unexpected expenses is another good way to find a potential leak. 
  • Inspect for leaks outside the home – Avoid water damage by checking around the home for areas where water can enter the home, especially before storms. Inspect around windows, at the base of the walls, and your roof to keep stormwater out.

In addition to preventing water damage, responding properly if water damage does occur is crucial. It’s essential to act quickly, as quickly taking steps to address water damage will prevent it from spreading and getting worse.

Trust The Professionals for a Thorough Water Damage Restoration

Water damage restoration is a complex process, and it requires an expert company to do it right. Alpha Environmental provides peace of mind with our expertise.

Steps To Take When Water Damage Occurs

How you respond to water damage makes all the difference in ensuring the health of your property. The water damage restoration process is an involved one that requires several steps to fully address the potential risks.

When water damage occurs, take the following steps:  

  • Assess the damage – Try to determine where the damage is coming from and how much of the home is affected.
  • Stop the source – Depending on the source of the water damage, mitigate the damage by putting a bucket under a leak or turning off the problematic appliance when possible. 
  • Document the damage – Take pictures of the damage as soon as it happens for documentation. After the water is removed, be sure to take photos of damaged walls, floors, belongings, and any other issues caused by the water.
  • Dry up the area – If manageable on your own, use a shop vac or lay down towels to begin drying up the water. If the water is too much to remove on your own, a professional water extraction service can help. 
  • Contact a professional restoration company – Even if you’re able to remove some of the water on your own, you should contact a professional water damage restoration service to address all the potential damage.

A professional restoration company will work toward restoring the full health of your property by removing all of the water from the area and addressing any resulting damage. Water incidents also often go hand-in-hand with mold growth. Professional services will support you completely, inspect for signs of mold, prevent mold growth, and address any other concerns.

A company like Alpha Environmental will also support you by completing repairs necessary to your home after the water is completely dried up and removed.

How To File a Water Damage Insurance Claim

If you have a policy that does cover water damage, it’s important that you follow the appropriate process so you can maximize your chances of receiving coverage for your incident.

To file a claim, take the following steps:

  • Have photos of the damage for documentation before you contact your insurance company
  • Call the insurance company to report the claim
  • Meet with an adjuster to receive an estimate of the costs insurance will cover
  • Choose a water damage restoration company for repairs
  • Stay in communication with your adjuster throughout the repair process
  • Keep all documentation of estimates, repairs, and payments

When you work with a professional water restoration service, many will even work with your insurance company to assist you in receiving coverage for the repairs. At Alpha Environmental, we’ll work with you and your insurance company to help you get your water damage restoration costs covered.

Remove the Stress from Water Damage Restoration with Alpha Environmental

Having water damage restoration services covered by home insurance helps provide peace of mind for your home and your budget. Typical home insurance policies can cover water damage from storms and burst pipes but often stop at floods and sewer backups. It’s important to know what coverage you have against water damage so you can both prevent water damage and respond appropriately.

Unfortunately, water damage events can happen even with the best preventive measures. No matter what form of water damage affects your home, you can turn to Alpha Environmental for support. We assist both home and business owners in successful water damage restoration, mold inspections, and mold remediation.

With 21 years of experience serving residents in the greater Portland area, we have the equipment and expertise necessary to Contact Alpha Environmental today to assess the damage to your property and assist you in restoring your property back to normal.

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David D.
Lake Oswego, OR
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My wife and I experienced a hot water pipe busting in the crawlspace. It has been a total nightmare. However, Chris and his team provided expert quality care, with timeliness and the greatest degree of professionalism. I would HIGHLY recommend Alpha Enviornmental!
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Beaverton, OR
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