Does My Homeowners Policy Cover Water Damage?

Water damage is often the most common and costliest claims made on a Homeowners Policy.  The standard homeowners policy (H03) typically covers some water related claims but not others.  It is important to know what your policy covers and the options available to you.  Typically Water damage occurs in the following ways:

DischargeRupturing of a pipe, water heater, dishwasher, or other plumbing system.  Damage caused by a break in a plumbing system is typically covered including damage to contents.  What the policy will not cover is cost to repair or replace the pipe, appliance, or other system that failed.  eg:  A new homeowner hangs a picture on a wall.  The nail pierces a hidden pipe behind the wall.  The company will cover the damage caused by the release of water from the pipe, including the cost to remove the wall to access the pipe.  However, the actual pipe is not covered.

Overflow – Water exceeds its boundaries. The holding capacity is reached and spills over.  eg. Sink, Tub, or Toilet.  You are filling up the bath tub when the phone rings.  In the course of the phone conversation you forget to check the level of the tub and it spills over.  The overflow causes damage to your floors and sheetrock.  This is a covered peril and your policy should cover the cost to replace the flooring and sheetrock.  The policy should also cover damage to your contents.

Back-up – Water reverses its normal path, often through sewer lines.  eg: The city sewer Main is clogged.  The flow of sewage is stopped by the blockage and is forced to exit through your pipes overflowing the toilets in your home.  Water back-up and Sump pump over flow are one of the more overlooked causes of property losses.  Most standard Homeowners policies exclude this coverage.  However, many policies allow for an optional endorsement to buy back coverage for these types of losses.  Buy back coverage starts at $5,000 and and can be purchased for as little as $20.

Flooding – Water entering the structure as the result of tidal activity, heavy rains, or other events causing water to enter the home.  Flooding is excluded on nearly all Homeowners policies.  Coverage for flooding is purchased on a separate flood policy.  Even if you are not required by your lender we recommend carrying flood insurance.  One Third of all Federal disaster assistance for flooding is outside of flood risk areas.  The cost of flood insurance on an average home outside of a flood area is $450 per year.  This is relatively low considering the average flood claim amounts to more than $46,000.


The descriptions above are not intended to be a reference source for your policy. I recommend you speak with your agent for coverage specific questions.  Or call Gulf Region Insurance today to find out what options you have and how much you can save by switching to Gulf Region.