⋅ “What?! My Homeowners Insurance Doesn’t Cover My Water Damage?!”⋅

About 50% of all homeowners insurance claims filed in the United States are water-damage claims. For this reason, and also because water damage is one of the most costly and devastating kinds of damage to a home, you should carefully read your policy to know what is and isn’t covered and to help you decide whether you should purchase flood insurance.

In particular, you should clearly understand the difference between what your insurance company considers “flood damage” (not covered) and what it considers “water damage” (coverage depends on cause and circumstance).

All homeowners insurance policies differ based on the specific coverages you purchase and the various coverage restrictions and exclusions in the policy. It is therefore impossible to tell you definitively what your particular policy will and will not cover.

Here is a broad guide to what a typical homeowners insurance policy will and will not cover regarding water damage and flood damage to your home.

Very generally, homeowners insurance policies cover “sudden and accidental water damage from inside water sources” and exclude coverage for water that comes into your home from the outside.

Burst Pipes

Most homeowners insurance policies will cover water damage caused by burst pipes unless you are at fault for the problem. For example, if you leave your home unoccupied without heat or let your house get so cold that water freezes in the pipes, you likely would be held accountable and the claim would be denied.

Slow-leaking Pipe

Water damage resulting from a pipe that slowly leaks over a period of time is generally not covered in any homeowners insurance policy.

Washing-Machine and Dishwasher Floods

One of the most common causes of water damage in homes is a leak in the supply hose of a washing machine. If you are found at fault for not maintaining the supply hose or if the leak is found to be an ongoing leak that you should have repaired, coverage could be denied for the appliance, but the damage caused by the water may be covered. The entire claim will most likely be paid only if the leak is considered accidental and not maintenance failure on the homeowner’s part.

Leaky Roofs

If the water damage was caused by a “covered peril,” such as wind, rain, hail, and fire, water damage from the leak and the roof itself will be covered.

They key is to know what “perils” are covered by your policy.

If the roof is old and needs repair, the policy may cover the water damage to your home but not the replacement of the roof. However, if the leak was caused by a non-covered event like a flood or hurricane, the entire claim is likely to be denied.

Hurricane, Storm, and Flash-flood Damage

“Flood” is generally considered external water coming onto your land or into your home.

Homeowners insurance policies will not cover flood damage caused by storms or hurricanes.

They also will not cover flood damage caused by flash floods from overflowing bodies of water. If you live in an area where strong storms and hurricanes are a threat or where lakes and rivers pose a flooding threat to your home, you should consider purchasing special flood insurance from a private company who sells policies on behalf of the NIFP (National Flood Insurance Program) or directly from the NIFP.

Sewer Backups

Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover water damage from sewer backups unless you have a special, added-cost endorsement that covers sewers and drains.

Ground-water Seepage

Most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage caused by water seeping into a home from the ground.

Mold Damage

Many homeowners insurance policies restrict coverage for mold damage, meaning a claim will be denied. Mold damage due to a covered peril, however, may be covered.

An Ounce of Prevention . . .

  1. Understand your homeowners insurance policy, especially regarding water-damage and flood-damage coverages.
  2. Contact FEMA or NFIP to find out more about flood insurance and to help you determine if a separate flood-insurance policy is right for you:

        FloodSmart.gov – The Official Site of the NFIP: Resources

        FEMA.org – The National Flood Insurance Program

  1. If you have a water-damage claim, notify your insurance company immediately. Don’t wait until the problem causes damage for which you may be held responsible. Keep your homeowners insurance company’s toll-free number in an easily accessible place.
  2. Maintain your water-source appliances. Make sure water hoses, drains, and flush valves are functioning properly. Make sure hoses are in good condition and are replaced when they show wear and tear.
  3. Check your pipes regularly for leaks and wear and tear.
  4. Check your roof regularly for leaks and wear and tear.
  5. Keep the air temperature in your home at a consistent and safe level for your pipes. Keep humidity at a level that discourages mold should a water leak occur. In climates where the temperatures remain below freezing for longer periods of time, consider wrapping your pipes.
  6. Address water problems in your home immediately by cleaning up small spills yourself and thoroughly drying the area to prevent further damage. If you can’t remove the water and dry the area quickly, call Advanced Bio Treatment to handle the water-damage cleanup for you.
  7. Pull up wet carpet, padding, and rugs immediately. Move wet items outside or to dry areas with plenty of circulating fresh air to speed up the drying process.
  8. If you suspect a mold problem, address it immediately. Advanced Bio Treatment specializes in cleaning mold from water-damaged structures.


Should you experience water damage to your home, please call your homeowners insurance company first. Then call Advanced Bio Treatment at 800-295-1684 for a free quote. In most cases, we can be on the premises within an hour of your call and prevent further damage to your home and belongings. We offer 24/7 emergency cleanup service and help filing your insurance claim.


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Ted Pelot Owner & President of Crime Scene Cleanup Company - Advanced Bio-Treatment