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Water Damage

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Most standard homeowners policies will help cover the costs related of water-related claims when the damage is sudden and accidental. In order to successfully file a claim, the source of the water will also be reviewed. And in some cases, coverage can be limited — depending on how the damage occurred. Here are a few types of water damage events that are typically covered by home insurance:
  • A humidifier hose fitting breaks suddenly and water floods your basement
  • High winds uproot a tree which then falls onto your roof and rain gets into your home
  • Frozen pipes burst, damaging drywall and saturating wall to wall carpeting
  • Ice dams seep water into your home and mold destroys the ceiling, insulation and wallboard below

We know that your homeonwers insurance plays a key role when it comes to protecting everything you’ve worked so hard for. But for real peace of mind, you need to understand how your coverage works, and where gaps in coverage may exist. Let’s take a look at how your homeonwers policy protects you from water damage and learn about additional protection options to help you customize your coverage:

Table of Contents:

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Flooding?

What Type of Water Damage Is Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

What Parts of Your Homeowners Policy Cover Water Damage?

FAQs: Water Damage Insurance & Claims

How to Protect Your Home From Water Damage

Additional Water Damage Insurance Coverages

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Flooding?

Most homeowners policies do not cover flooding — but American Family Insurance offers coverage for floods through the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP) to help protect your home and your prized belongings.

If your home is located in a floodplain, or near an area that floods frequently, this coverage can really help protect your savings. Be sure to reach out to your agent to learn more about getting NFIP coverage.

Will home insurance cover water damage?

The short answer: it depends. Sure, your standard homeowners insurance policy covers some costs associated with water damage, but not all types of water damage are covered. Persistent leaks, for instance, that damage your home over time, and maintenance issues that result in water seeping into subflooring will likely not be covered.

Additional coverages can really help

Let’s clear up the confusion and make sure that you understand how your home insurance works. Your base policy does a good job of protecting you from water damage risks in general. But you’ll find — with the help of some additional coverages — you can better protect yourself from costs related to water damage.

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What Type of Water Damage Is Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Suppose you wake up to find your basement flooded due to a faulty washing machine. Your beautiful, newly renovated wood floor is sopping wet and damaged beyond repair. Your first thought? Will my homeowners insurance help pay for this mess?

Sudden and accidental water damage is usually covered

The good news is that under most circumstances, a standard home insurance policy covers appliance or plumbing related water damage that occurs due to an unexpected event that originates in your home. This means you’ll be able to file a claim if the source of the problem hasn’t been occurring over an extended period of time.

Maintenance-related water damage won’t be covered

Your homeowners insurance won’t cover a slowly leaking pipe that gradually drips water onto drywall for several weeks before being discovered. But it does cover a pipe that bursts and quickly floods the bathroom. Keep in mind that in either case, repairs to plumbing or appliances that failed due to regular wear and tear aren’t covered — that’s considered routine maintenance.

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What Parts of Your Homeowners Policy Cover Water Damage?

When it comes to water damage and home insurance, it’s important to know the two main types of coverage on your policy that may apply. You’ll have coverage up to your policy’s limit, after paying your deductible:

Dwelling coverage

If the structure of your home is damaged by water due to a covered loss, the dwelling coverage of your homeowners insurance will help to pay for the damage to the structure of your home.

Personal property coverage

If your personal belongings are damaged by water due to a covered event, it’s the personal property coverage that will offer protection for the costs to repair or replace your belongings.

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FAQs: Water Damage Insurance & Claims

From burst frozen pipes, to leaking plumbing, sewer backups and more, water can cause damage in your home in a variety of ways. So what kind of water damage is covered? Let’s take a look.

  1. Your home insurance does cover damage from pipes that burst suddenly and accidentally, including the resulting water damage. But, if that pipe didn’t burst, but slowly leaked for several weeks, your policy won’t cover you because this is considered a maintenance issue rather than an accidental loss.

    You may want to add a hidden water coverage endorsement to help protect you from costly issues that aren’t readily visible. It helps cover the cost to repair damages from hidden water leaks you can’t see in the walls, floors, ceilings, cabinets, beneath the floors — even behind or under a home appliance. Be sure to check in with your agent to learn if these and other key endorsements are active in your homeowners policy.

  2. You’ll be covered for plumbing leaks if it’s sudden, accidental and significant enough that it is discovered within seven days. But again, most homeowners insurance policies exclude damages that occur gradually. So, if that damage from that leaking pipe happened over the course of several weeks or more, it won’t be covered.

    For example, you notice your ceiling bulging and water stains forming on the drywall, so you decide to file a claim. The adjuster determines that a small leak in a valve caused the damage over a number of months. This damage won’t be covered, because it occurred gradually, rather than all at once.

    We suggest you purchase a hidden water coverage endorsement to better protect you from leaks and issues that aren’t visible. It’s extra protection that helps cover the cost to repair damages from hidden water leaks you can’t see in the walls, floors, ceilings, cabinets, beneath the floors — even behind or under a home appliance.

  3. Yes, your standard homeowners policy covers water damage from rain if a storm opens a hole in your roof, allowing water to leak in. But if your roof already had worn out shingles or holes in its structure and just leaks because it’s worn out, we’ll pay for the resulting damage to the interior of your home, but not for the repair or replacement of your roof. That work is considered routine maintenance.

  4. With American Family Insurance, your homeowners policy offers replacement cost coverage for losses other than those caused by wind and hail. What does this mean for you? So long as the roof leak is caused by a covered loss, your policy covers the replacement cost minus the deductible. For instance, if a storm rolls through and lightning strikes a tree and the tree topples onto your roof causing a giant hole and water to leak through, your policy will cover the damages to the roof as well as damages to the interior of your home if it was water damaged.

    On the other hand, if the roof leaks due to wear and tear or lack of maintenance, repairs or replacement won’t be covered. Though the resulting damage to the interior of your home is still covered by your homeowners policy.

    One of the most common causes of damage to your roof is wind and hail damage. To fully protect your roof and home from water damages, you’ll want to check out roof replacement cost coverage for wind and hail damage.

  5. Your standard homeowners insurance policy doesn’t provide protection for flood damage. However, you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy through the National Flood Insurance Program. Take a look at our flood insurance page to find out more. To give you an idea, here are just a few ways flood insurance helps protect your home:

    • Covers your home and its foundation
    • Covers clothes, furniture, electronics and other possessions
    • Covers electrical and plumbing
    • Covers your carpeting, paneling, bookcases and cabinets
  6. If water seeps from the ground into your basement or other part of your home, this is considered a maintenance issue and is generally not covered. Seepage could be covered if it’s part of a flooding event and you have flood insurance, but otherwise, you’ll need to take steps to protect your home from water seeping in before it happens.

  7. If the water damage in your basement is caused by a covered event, the damage could be covered by your homeowners insurance. This includes burst pipes and sudden leaks caused by accidental damage, among other events.

  8. Water damage caused by lack of routine maintenance to your home or damage covered by a form of insurance you don’t have — like flood or sump pump overflow coverage — won’t be covered by your homeowners insurance.

  9. Water damage happens when you least expect it, but with American Family, we’ll help you recover from water damages in your home as quickly as possible. Reporting a home insurance claim through the MyAmFam app or My Account is the fastest way for our claims representatives to help restore your dreams. And by initiating your claim with one of these options, you’ll also experience additional benefits including:

    • Filing anywhere, any time
    • Tracking the status of your claim
    • Easily communicating with your claims representative by email or phone

    Don’t have MyAmFam? Get it on the App Store or the Google Play Store.

    And as always, you can call us at 1-800-MYAMFAM (1-800-692-6326) to speak directly with a claims representative or contact your American Family Insurance agent.

    When reporting a claim, you’ll need the following information:

    • Your name, address and phone number
    • American Family Insurance policy number
    • Date and time of your loss
    • Brief description of what happened
    • Insurance and contact information for others involved
  10. At American Family yes, it is! Our Emergency Water Removal Program (EWRP) helps you clean up the mess quickly and safely when filing a claim. This program is included as a benefit under your home insurance policy, so long as the loss from water damage is covered — after meeting your deductible.

    Water cleanup can be a challenge, and if water damage restoration isn’t not done correctly, it can cause even more issues. With EWRP, you’ll choose from one of our preferred vendors who provide rapid and efficient removal of water in your home.

  11. Most central air conditioners drain water through a condensate drain hose or line. Over time, these drainage lines can get kinked, crimped or clogged. Drain lines and drain pans can start to leak if they’re not inspected frequently and maintained properly.

    Because many water-related damage claims involving air conditioners occurs slowly, coverage for damages can be hard to come by. So, it’s best to set reminders on your phone to regularly check the condition of your drainage lines — to be sure they’re working properly.

How to Protect Your Home From Water Damage

The Insurance Information Institute has stated that water damage losses range into the billions of dollars every year and ranks them among the costliest disasters that homeowners can experience. When it comes down to it, you’re best to prevent water damage from occurring in the first place. Consider these options to protect your home from water damage:

Install smart water leak sensors

Early detection systems like smart water leak detectors help sense and alert you of any water leaks, so you can take care of the problem before it causes too much damage. Take a look at our video to learn how smart water leak sensors can help prevent costly damage to your home.

Inspect your roof

Make any repairs to missing, rotten or damaged shingles. Also, clean out your roof gutters so they don’t get clogged on rainy days. Overflowing gutters can allow water to gather near your home’s foundation and find its way to your basement.

Fix water damage issues promptly

Ignoring any moisture damage or putting off the repairs can cause mold, mildew, rot or structural damage to your home. Remember that your home insurance helps cover abrupt and unintentional water damage, but damage that results from a lack of maintenance may not be covered by your policy.

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  1. Narrator: Your home is where memories are made, and dreams thrive. And with smart water leak detection devices, it's easier than ever to protect it from costly water damage.

    Install these savvy devices near washing machines, water heaters, or other main water sources in your home. If a leak occurs, you'll receive a notification on your smartphone, so you can address the issue before it gets out of hand.

    And although they don't always come at a small price tag, some water leak detectors will automatically shut off the main water supply in your home, making them worth every penny down the line.

    Looking for a more affordable way to include water damage mitigation in your smart home plan? Consider a Frontpoint home security system. It'll safeguard you from theft to fire, and yes, even water damage.

    On screen: Frontpoint

    Safeguard from theft, fire and even water damage!

    Narrator: Protecting your home from the effects of water damage is reason enough to invest in this smart technology. To learn more about smart home technology, contact your agent. They're here to help you protect what matters most.

    On screen: American Family Insurance - Find an agent at AmFam.com

Additional Water Damage Insurance Coverages

While your standard homeowners insurance policy protects you from water damage in many ways, it’s a good idea to have the following additional coverages to provide a broader level of coverage. Be sure to talk to your agent about adding these vital endorsements to your policy:

Sump pump failure and water backup coverage

Your sump pump removes excess water that may accumulate around your home’s foundation, and if the system ever fails, overflow may occur. Adding a sump pump overflow coverage rider is key for customers who have a finished basement.

Sewer and water line coverage

If your home is connected to a municipal sewer, or it has a septic tank, you’ll also want to purchase either sewer back-up or ask your agent about septic back-up coverage to protect against back-ups from those systems.

Hidden water coverage

Take the extra step of protecting your savings with hidden water coverage, which helps cover the cost of water damage that isn’t readily visible. It covers damage from leaks you can’t see in floors, walls, ceilings, cabinets — even under or behind your home’s appliances.

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Are You Ready for a Home Insurance Quote?

Having homeowners insurance is one of the smartest decisions you can make, and understanding how it protects you gives you more confidence in your coverages. Connect with your American Family Insurance agent today to learn more about how your home insurance protects you from water damage.

This coverage is not available in MN at this time.

Some coverages may not be available in your state or on your specific policy form. Please speak with your agent to learn more about your coverage options.