If you have homeowners insurance, it should provide coverage for any unexpected water damage due to a plumbing issue or pipe leak. However, most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damages to the home that started small and aggravated gradually, such as a gradual leak or damage due to regional flooding. Also, your home insurance policy may exclude certain damages that are related to damages caused by leaks or plumbing issues. For example, your home insurance may not cover mold infestations.
Plumbing and Pipe Leaks
Water damages from accidental or sudden plumbing and pipe leaks resulting from structural issues are covered under homeowners insurance. This water damage could also damage part of the home’s structure and you may need to replace the damaged portions and possibly leave the house for a while.
If your house has water damage, there are three sections in your homeowner’s policy that may provide coverage.
Dwelling coverage – It covers the home’s structure, such as walls, floorboards, and the roof. If your house gets damaged by covered plumbing damage or a pipe leak, or if you need to replace a part of the wall or floorboards, your dwelling coverage will pay for the damages. Under dwelling coverage, your home’s built-in appliances, such as water heaters or pumps, are covered if they get damaged.
Property coverage – It provides coverage for personal property, such as furniture, TVs, clothing, or home appliances, if they get damaged due to a plumbing malfunction. Expensive personal items, such as jewelry, may have a certain coverage limit, such as $1,000 or $2,000 unless you add extra coverage to your policy.
Additional living expense coverage – It reimburses you for travel, food, and hotel expenses if you leave your home for a while due to water damage.
What Isn’t Covered
Home insurance policies do not offer coverage for damages that occur due to normal wear and tear or from floods. If you file a claim for water damage, the insurance company will send a claims adjuster to evaluate the source of damage, the type of damage, signs of wear and tear, etc. From this evaluation, the adjuster will determine if the damage could have been prevented.
If the damage occurred due to gradual wear and tear, the insurance company might deny your claim. Water damage that occurred due to lack of maintenance is not covered under homeowners insurance plans. For example, if there is a minor leak and you fail to fix it for several weeks until it damages your wall, the insurer will deny your claim. The insurer will deny your claim based on the grounds of lack of maintenance.
Also, damages from sewage backup or a flooded sewage system are not covered under home insurance plans. Many insurers make this coverage available as an affordable rider that can be added to an existing policy. Lastly, flood damage is excluded under a homeowners insurance company. You can get flood insurance coverage separately.