Protecting your home and your belongings with regular maintenance and adequate insurance coverage is a fact of life if you own a home.
Depending on where you live, you might take additional precautions in certain seasons to give yourself added protection against unpleasant surprises. For example, you might winterize plumbing in the colder months in order to prevent burst pipes, or you might clean and repair your gutters in early spring to prevent roof leaks from April showers.
Regardless of how well-built your home is or how hard you work to prevent damage to it, you might become the victim of some type of water damage. If you do, you’ll want to know what your homeowners insurance policy covers.
This post will provide helpful information about water damage and homeowners insurance coverage in order to help you understand your coverage. It also will help you determine whether you might want to secure additional coverage in the unfortunate event of water damage to your home.
Types of Water Damage
To understand your policy’s coverage, it helps to first understand that two types of coverage are needed in the event of water damage: dwelling protection and personal property protection.
A water event such as a burst pipe can cause significant damage to your structure and your furnishings, so you need both.
However, not all types of water damage are covered by these policies. Your homeowners insurance is intended to cover damages and loss due to unforeseen circumstances, such as a burst hose from your washing machine or a burst bathroom pipe when the weather gets suddenly very cold.
Your homeowners insurance does not cover neglected maintenance issues, floods or sewer backups from outside. For example, if your refrigerator’s water maker has a leaky hose you fail to repair and then you experience water damage to your floors as a result, your homeowners insurance is unlikely to cover this.
Simply put, water damage caused by sudden, unforeseen circumstances typically is covered by your homeowners insurance policy, while damage caused by neglect typically is not covered.
Understanding Your Coverage
Water damage can affect floors, walls and belongings. The source of the water damage can become a source of irritation as well if you think you’re covered and find out you aren’t. This is because homeowners insurance typically does not cover the replacement cost of the source of the damage.
For example, a burst bathroom pipe could happen with so much force that it also damages the pedestal sink. Your homeowners insurance policy is unlikely to cover the cost to replace the sink.
The repair to the leaking refrigerator mentioned earlier also would not be covered by your homeowners insurance policy.
Understanding this can help you budget for regular repair and maintenance of the appliances and fixtures around your home that involve any kind of water.
Additionally, water damage to your home or property caused by outside sources typically is not covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Examples include flooding from heavy rains or melting snow, or sewer backups from the street.
Because these types of water events can cause significant damage to your home and belongings, it is common (and advisable) that you purchase separate policies for water backup and flood coverage. See this explanation from Investopedia to better understand the difference between homeowners insurance and flood insurance:
“Flood insurance is a type of property insurance that covers a dwelling for losses sustained by water damage, as it specifically relates to flooding. A separate coverage rider is needed to cover sewer backup if the backup was not caused by the rising floodwaters.”
Floods can be caused by many events other than torrential rains. It is a good idea to talk with your Olson Insurance Agency representative to assess your potential risk of flood damage and to determine if you should purchase a separate flood insurance policy if you don’t already have one.
What to Do When Water Damage Strikes
Call us. Simple as that. We value your home and your belongings as much as you do, and we value our relationship with you.
If you have experienced water damage, give us a call right away at (623) 583-7999. The same agent and team who helped you determine your homeowners insurance coverage needs will help you file your claim and get the help you need as soon as possible.
We’ll help you understand contracts, policy language, and procedures, and help you avoid unnecessary rate increases or hassles when repairing your home or replacing your belongings. Learn more about our insurance claims process here.
Do you have questions about your current homeowners insurance policy or would you like to speak with an Olson Insurance Agency representative? We’d love to hear from you. Just give us a call at (623) 583-7999. Our agents are here to serve you.