Water Damage is one of the most common causes of home insurance claims. In fact, water damage claims are the second largest frequent insurance claim, right behind wind and hail damage. The number of claims due to water damage are increasing, while other causes of damage have stayed fairly consistent or even decreased. Knowing this, it is not surprising that people have questions about water damage coverage and what is covered under your homeowner’s insurance. Specifically, why things like “gradual damage” are not covered.
Always speak to your agent and review your policy coverage and exclusions to determine specifics of your homeowner’s insurance coverage.
Cause of Water Damage:
There are many types of water damage that may be covered or excluded on a homeowner’s policy such as:
- Bursting or leaking pipes
- Issues in the home’s plumbing system
- Buildup in areas prone to collecting water (crawl spaces, attic, basements)
- Faulty/malfunctioning household appliances
- HVAC (heating/ac) issues
- Storms/Weather/Natural Disaster
Common Questions: What Water Damage is Covered by Home Insurance?
Is a water leak covered by home insurance?
Is a leaking toilet covered by insurance?
Is water damage from a leaking roof covered by insurance?
Factors such as source of the damage, the type of policy you have and if the water damage is accidental/sudden or gradual would determine if your situation is covered by homeowner’s insurance policy.
Note: Gradual damage is typically not covered, so although your policy might have water damage coverage, if the reason for the damage is not sudden and accidental, then you may be denied in a claim.
What is Gradual Damage?
Gradual damage occurs when something happens slowly over time and causes damage to your property. Gradual damage due to water damage is a common problem when it comes to insurance claims. Gradual water damage is like pipes leaking over time, seepage coming from cracks, or deteriorating parts of the roof, are usually not covered by insurance.
Examples of Gradual Damage:
- Plumbing, faucets or pipes leaking over time causing damage to the walls, ceilings or floors.
- Water damage cause by seepage coming in from cracks in the foundation, or at the exterior of the house allowing water to enter your home.
- Poor repairs or lack of repairs to home
Please note: It is good practice that you ensure that you understand all the coverage on your homeowner’s insurance policy. Review any exclusions as well as your responsibilities as a homeowner. Make sure that you purchase the best insurance policy for your needs and your home.
Best Practices to Avoid Water Damage Claims
Doing regular maintenance of your home every spring and fall help to avoid surprises in the future. Small repairs regularly will avoid large expenses and possible issues later. Keeping up with regular maintenance is very important and one of the best practices to avoid possible water damage. Not all things can be prepared for though, accidents or sudden issues can still arise.
Maintaining records of repairs and using reputable local professional you have hired over the years to do maintenance is a good practice. This is important in the event of a loss, plus it’s a good habit to keep as a homeowner.
10 Tips to Avoid Water Damage:
Here are some tips to help you avoid possible water damage. Though not all situations can be prepared for, these are good things to keep in mind when maintaining your home:
- Disconnect Hoses
- Clean Gutters and Downspouts
- Maintain Trees and Vegetation
- Know Your Water Main
- Check Appliances Regularly
- Investigate Leaks Right Away and Fix Promptly
- Upgrade Washing Machine Hoses
- Install Water Detection Devices
- Check Your Water Pressure
- Monitor Your Water Bill