Does your homeowners insurance cover water damage? Or maybe the better question is; does your homeowners insurance cover all kinds of water damage. For instance, if you wake up in the night to find that your basement has been flooded by a broken water heater; will the insurance cover the cost of repairing the damage?

What if the flood is the result of a rainstorm, will your insurance pay to replace the things you lost? This is a question many homeowners never ask but as Sterling Property Solutions warns, knowing the right answers will save you unnecessary headaches.

Water damage in your home is not always covered by the standard homeowners insurance. Yes, water damage is included as one of the calamities covered by the policy. But not every kind of water damage is covered; certain types of water damage are not included.

Most homeowners don’t realize this until they suffer an incident and the insurance company tells them it is not one of the things covered under the policy. What types of water-related issues are covered by standard homeowners insurance?

Why this is important

Water damage is the most common and most costly type of homeowners insurance claim. This is because the threat of water damage is ever present in a home, which makes knowing how to deal with the threat very important.

To succeed in a water damage claim you must know what the policy covers or does not cover. That knowledge will also help you protect your home from water-related issues that are not covered.

The standard homeowners insurance covers 16 perils, many of which can lead to water damage. To qualify for coverage under the policy, water damage has to meet the following conditions:

• The damage must be sudden and internal, such as from a burst pipe
• It cannot be gradual damage, such as from a leaking sink
• The damage must not be the result of neglect or due to improper maintenance
• The water must have never touched the ground outside, which means that floods are not covered
• The water must not come from outside the home

The types of water damage covered by homeowners insurance

Based on the above criteria, here are the types of water damage that are covered by your homeowners insurance.

Water damage from storms
If during a storm, the rain gets into the house through a broken window and damaged parts of the home or your belongings, homeowners insurance will cover that. However, if the damage was made possible by neglect – because you failed to replace a broken window – the policy will not cover the damage.

Appliances leaking
If your washing machine floods a room because a piece of clothing blocked the overflow hose, the policy will cover that sort of incident. However, if the flooding is determined to have occurred due to your own negligence, the policy will not cover it.

Pipe leaks

If a pipe that was in good condition suddenly develops a leak, the resulting water damage is included in the calamities covered by the policy. But leaks that result from poor maintenance will not be covered. Frozen pipes that burst is also covered as long as the pipe did not burst because you failed to keep the home properly heated.

Water damage while extinguishing a fire
If a fire breaks out in one part of the home and there is damage to the home from water used by firefighters or your sprinkler system, the insurance company will pay for the claims. However, if the fire started as a result of your own carelessness, the insurer will not pay for the damage.

Types of water damage not covered by homeowners insurance

Water damage not covered by the policy includes:

• Damage caused by maintenance problems
• Flooding that caused by storm, hurricane, or tsunami
• Water damage from intentional acts
• Water damage from earth movements such as earthquakes, mudslides, or landslides
• Water damage from a backed-up sewer or drain
• Water damaged caused by a swimming pool leak or similar structure
• Water damaged that is the consequence of seepage or leaks through the home’s foundation
• Water damage that happens because a sump pump or related equipment failed
• Also not covered is the cost of fixing or replacing the source of water damage to your home, such as a broken washing machine.

Now back to our question: does your homeowners insurance cover every kind of water damage? The answer is no. The homeowners insurance only covers water damage if the source of the water is inside the home and the damage is not due to the homeowners’ failure to maintain.

This means that to get the most out of your homeowners insurance, you must follow-up maintenance issues promptly and adequately. And for more comprehensive coverage, you should buy insurance policies that cover areas that are not covered by your homeowners insurance.