Any water damage to your home, particularly from severe weather, is likely hard to prevent. It can often cost you a lot of money to repair, too. You might think your homeowners insurance will pay for the damage, but the rules for water damage are often not clean cut. Often, water and flood damage won’t have coverage. If you want to file a claim, you must work with your agent to determine the exact cause of the damage. Consider some common situations where your policy will or won’t apply.
Situation 1: Slow Leaks Cause Water Damage
A slow leak in your home is likely and indicator that your roof or foundation have wear and tear that need repairs. So, if leaks pop up with every rain shower, there might be other things you could have done to prevent damage. Water damage from wear and tear, neglect or other preventable problems often has no coverage under a homeowners policy. However, sudden leaks might, so call your agent to check on your policy terms and see if you should file a claim.
Situation 2: Structural Damage Allows Water In
Suppose that during a severe storm, a tree falls onto your home and damages the roof or structure. In this case, rain might flood into the home without warning.
In these situations, you probably could not have prevented the tree from falling. So, your homeowners policy will likely pay for the damage. However, some insurers might deny your claim if the storm toppled a dead tree that you failed to remove.
Situation 3: Named Storms Cause Damage
When it comes to named storms like hurricanes, your policy can usually cover water damage caused by wind or debris. The coverage might have a few conditions attached, and special deductibles might apply. However, coverage for one common type of hurricane damage, flooding, won’t have coverage at all.
Situation 4: Flooding Breaches the Home
Most types of weather-related flooding—flash floods, storm surge, sustained rainfall—never have coverage under homeowners insurance. To get such coverage, you will need flood insurance.
Flood coverage can apply to both possessions and the home’s structure. However, limits will apply. Most flood insurance comes from the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). Certain homeowners even have to buy this coverage based on their home’s proximity to flood zones.
Even if your homeowners policy covers water damage, then it will come with limits. Damage to certain items might have no coverage, and deductibles will apply to most claims. Work with your agent to determine the scenarios where your policy might apply. If you find your standard policy will not pay, then ask about the ways to get extra coverage.