Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?
While it is likely that your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover specific types of water damage that occurs to the interior of your home, exactly what is covered will depend on several factors. First, the cost and type of homeowner’s policy that you carry will determine the deductible for which you will be responsible as well as any limits that you might encounter for certain claims. The three basic types of homeowner’s insurance policies are HO3, HO2 and HO1.
These three different policies are categorized mainly by their coverage restrictions and their premium costs. HO3 policies, the most expensive and generous of the three, typically come with limited deductibles and carry many perks that make them well worth the higher premiums. HO2 products are intermediate policies that cover most types of damage with moderate deductibles. Finally, while HO1 policies are the most affordable of the three, they carry high deductibles and are not always guaranteed to cover all types of water damage in your home.
In addition, certain types of water damage may not be covered under any policy. If you live in a low-lying area along an ocean, lake or river or your region is prone to natural flooding from an exterior source, there is a greater chance that you will need to carry a distinct flood insurance policy than someone who lives in a dry climate or an elevated area away from natural water sources. Keep in mind that flood insurance can be extremely expensive in flood-prone areas and in regions that regularly experience severe thunderstorms and hurricanes.
A generous homeowner’s insurance policy may cover your repair costs if your house sustains water damage following a natural weather event, but you will likely need to show your insurance company that the damage was a result of a defect in the construction of your home. For instance, you could claim that water seeped through a weak point in the building’s structure or through a poorly-sealed window, but you may not be able to use your home’s construction to explain water that clearly entered through an open door or window.
Homeowner’s insurance policies are also more likely to cover water damage associated with faulty appliances or plumbing, but the specifics of coverage will vary depending on your policy. Before your insurance company will pay you for the damages you incurred, you will need to document the incident in order to prove that the flood or leak was caused by poor repairs on an existing line or faulty equipment.