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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?


In life, there is no worse place to be than when you feel like the ground beneath your feet is being swept away. These are those times when things you took for granted or the progress you made in life is suddenly obliterated, and your life as it existed, suddenly dematerializes before your eyes.

But it is for times like these that insurance companies exist. And although there is no way of escaping the emotional turmoil of a distressing event, insurance helps to ensure that, to a large extent, you don’t have to worry about the cost of replacing material goods that are lost, stolen, or damaged.

This is the central idea behind homeowner’s insurance: giving homeowners a sense of security. It is about making the future less unpredictable by giving you a cushion to help break your fall when unforeseen events happen. With proper insurance a person should never have to find themselves back to zero.


But this will only happen if an insurance policy is understood and allowed to work as it is meant to. Insurance policies, like physical goods with a warranty, come with their own set of usage guidelines. And an important part of those guidelines is what the policy can or cannot do.

The two main reasons why insurance policies sometimes appear to disappoint the expectations of a policyholder are the insured persons do not understand the limits of the policy or they violated its terms. This is the reason why homeowners often have problems with their homeowner’s insurance.

And one of the areas where homeowners have such problems is with homeowner’s insurance treatment of water damage. Homeowners often buy homeowner’s insurance with the belief that they are protected from water damage. But when a problem actually occurs they soon discover otherwise.

The issue here is that how homeowners define water damage is often in conflict with what a homeowner’s insurance policy means by water damage, explains Resolving the differences in meanings and interpretations can help clear the confusion. So, does your homeowner’s insurance cover water damage?

The answer is yes and no.

Homeowner’s insurance and water damage


If you wake up to a flood inside your basement due to a ruptured water heater, how will homeowner’s insurance deal with this event? Most homeowner’s insurance policies will cover the cost of the damage caused by the leak. But this is not the case with every kind of water damage to your home.

As a rule, homeowner’s insurance only covers water damage, if the incident meets the following conditions:

  • If the water comes from a source within your home
  • If the water is released suddenly and accidentally

By these two rules, the standard homeowner’s insurance will provide the following:

  • Dwelling coverage: It will offer compensation for any damage to the structures of your home if an internal water source malfunctions suddenly and accidentally, thereby causing damage to your home.
  • Personal property coverage: If your personal belongings inside the home are also affected by the same incident, homeowner’s insurance will cover the cost of the damage.

However, there are specific types of water damage that homeowner’s insurance will not cover.

Water damage not covered by homeowner’s insurance


All kinds of water damage where the source of the water is not within the home and the water was not released suddenly and accidentally are not covered. This includes the following types of water damage:

  • Water damage that results from poor maintenance

If you, the homeowner, failed to carry out proper inspections and due maintenance of the structures and systems in your home, any resulting water damage will not be covered by homeowner’s insurance. This is because even if the water comes from an internal source, the water was not released suddenly or accidentally. It was the result of neglect and could have been avoided.

  • Water-backup from an outside sewer or drain

This kind of damage cannot be covered by a homeowner’s insurance policy because the water source does not come from a source within the home. So if a sewer in your property is blocked and sewage backs up into your toilet, even though the damage is inside the home, its source is outside and will not be covered by homeowner’s insurance.


  • Damage by flood

Damage by floodwater, even though sudden, does not qualify for coverage by homeowner’s insurance because the water source does not come from inside the home. This includes water damage from storms, over-saturated grounds, and overflowing rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans. All of these will not be covered by homeowner’s insurance.

  • The cost of repairing or replacing a damaged appliance

Even though homeowner’s insurance may cover the cost of repairing water damage when the source is within the home and the water accidentally/suddenly released, it will not cover the cost of fixing the cause of the damage. In other words, the cost of fixing the ruptured water heater or broken washing machine will not be borne by the policy.

In order to get protection from these other sources or water damage, you either have to extend the protection offered by your homeowner’s insurance policy or buy additional insurance.