Insurance coverage varies when water damage occurs

By Marian Johns | | Aug 27, 2018


There are things homeowners can do to help prevent water damage.   File photo

Water, water everywhere. That may sound nice if you are spending a day at the beach, but not when it refers to damage done to your home by a burst pipe, a sewer backup or even a hurricane.  

So how do these types of water damage affect your insurance policy?

According to Kevin Turner, Kin Insurance's director of insurance product management, homeowners should read their policy to be sure what types of water damage are covered under their insurance. 

"Home insurance generally covers water damage that originates before it comes in contact with the ground," Turner said. "For example, it can help pay for damage caused by a burst pipe or an overflowing appliance. However, sewer backup is often only covered if your policy has that endorsement -- read the policy or ask your agent to be sure.

"Also, flood damage is not a covered form of water damage under standard homeowners insurance policies," he added. 

Turner suggests checking out HazardHub's website at freehomerisk.com, where homeowners can look up the flood risk on your property for free.  

"If you own a home in a hurricane-prone region or close to a body of water, chances are you have substantial flood risk," he said. "But as FEMA said last year, 'The fact is that anywhere it can rain, it can flood.'"

Flood maps are a starting point for understanding flood risk, but they aren't the whole story because many are outdated, Turner said. 

"Use common sense, consider the 'close calls' your area has experienced with flooding in the past, and recognize that any home in a valley or at the bottom of a hill could face higher risk for flooding," he said.

Tuner also said there are things homeowners can do to help prevent water damage.

"If you live in an area where temperatures drop below freezing in the winter, make sure you keep the heat on high enough to prevent the pipes from freezing and bursting," Turner said. "You can also invest in a water monitor or leak detection system that automatically shuts off the water if a leak is detected. This could save you from experiencing unchecked water damage from a burst pipe or overflowing appliance."

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