Will My Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Water Damage?

If your home has fallen victim to water damage, you may be left wondering whether or not your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover the damage to your property. The simple answer is that it depends upon how the water damage occurred.

Defining Water Damage v. Flood Damage
It may seem like any destruction water has done to the home or property would be considered “water damage,” but when it comes to the verbiage of homeowner’s insurance policies, this is certainly not the case. In general, these plans do cover water damage as defined in the policy; however, most insurance policies differentiate between the terms “water damage” and “flood damage.” Water damage is considered damage done to your home and property by water that hits the home before it hits the outside ground. Flood damage is most often not covered by homeowner’s insurance despite it being the most common natural disaster in the United States. FEMA defines flood damage as damage to home or property caused by the following natural water sources:

  • Overflow of inland or tidal waters
  • Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source
    Mudflow
  • Collapse of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in a flood
  • What Is/Is Not Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance Policies

To clarify further, here is a chart outlining the types of water damage that traditional homeowner’s insurance policies do or do not cover:

Covered
Not Covered
Sudden and accidental
Flood damage
Damage from a burst pipe
Damage as a result of backup of outside sewer or drain
Damage due to water heater malfunction
Replacing/repairing the source of water damage (broken dishwasher, water heater, etc.)
Damage due to overflowing dishwasher or washing machine
Damage due to unresolved maintenance issues
Damage due to water leakage through roof
Mold resulting from any of the above

Flood Insurance Coverage

It is clear that water damage and flood damage are two separate entities in the eyes of insurance companies, so if you’re living in an area that is prone to flooding, the smartest thing you can do is to purchase flood insurance for your property if you want to avoid the devastating cost of repairing your home or replacing property in the event of flood damage. Depending upon the type of plan you purchase, flood insurance typically covers the following items according to AllState’s website:

    • The physical structure of your home and its foundation
    • Plumbing and electrical systems
    • Central air and heating systems
    • Attached bookcases, cabinets and paneling
    • Detached garage (other detached structures need their own policy)
    • Clothing, furniture and electronics
    • Curtains
    • Some portable appliances
    • Freezers and the foods within them
    • Certain valuables like art (up to a specified limit)

at ServiceMaster of Greater Pittsburgh, we often restore and repair homes and businesses after water or flood damage, and we understand how overwhelming it can be. We specialize in water damage restoration, bringing safety and comfort back to those who live or work in the affected space. Tackling the aftermath of water damage is often a task that most home or business owners are not equipped to complete on their own. We have the equipment and the expertise to safely and quickly remove excess water and damaged property, aiming to minimize the damage and begin restoration as soon as possible. If your home or business has been damaged by water, call ServiceMaster today at 412-826-1010.