Water Damage and What Your Insurance Policy Covers

It’s that time of year again! With it often comes rain and other forms of precipitation, that can lead to water damage, and even mold, which need immediate attention in the interest of the safety and health of those inhabiting the buildings it occurs in.

Since water damage can be costly and time-consuming to address and repair, our team at J. Hoffman Insurance feels that it’s important to help our clients and community understand what type of damage you’re dealing with when water is the cause. As well as what your policy includes, so you can remedy it quickly and efficiently.

Many Different Types of Water Damage

Most people do not realize that water damage is a very broad term and consists of many different types of causes, which in turn may or may not be covered. Generally speaking, anything having to do with wear and tear, lack of maintenance, or conditions that have been ongoing and untreated for some time leading to an eventual loss are almost never going to be covered.

Coverage also depends on where the water came from. Below are some specific examples of types of water damage that may be covered:

Water Damage from a Pipe or an Appliance

Most property policies will cover water damage to property from a busted pipe regardless of the cause. The damage to property caused by the water is recoverable, however the cost to repair the pipe itself as well as the cost to repair the wall to get to the pipe, will usually not be covered. Water that comes from a broken or leaky appliance is usually covered, but not the cost to replace the broken appliance, depending on the cause of loss to the appliance. 

Water Back Up Damage

Water back up is coverage for damage done by water which backs up through the sewers or drains or even a sump pump basin. This coverage is always excluded under all property coverage forms. However, it can be purchased as a separate endorsement for an additional cost. There can be a lot of reasons why the water backed up, but as long as it comes through the drains, toilet, or sump pump basin, it will be covered if you have purchased this additional coverage.

Flood Damage

Flood, as defined by FEMA, is a general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or of two or more properties (one of which is your property) from: a. Overflow of inland or tidal waters; b. Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; c. Mudflow.

Flood is also always excluded from all property policy forms and must be purchased separately as its own policy. There are some exceptions as certain specialized insurance carriers do let you endorse this back onto a home or business policy with a sublimit. This is usually the case with a certain program or niche market.

What Does Your Policy Cover?

A standard home, renter’s or business owner’s policy does not cover losses directly caused by flooding, water damage or water back up damage on its own.

  • Adding a water backup endorsement to your policy is necessary to obtain this type of coverage. On average, water back up coverages ranges from $50 to $250 per year, with limits of coverage from $5,000 to the full replacement cost of your home.
  • In the case of flood damage, a separate flood policy is required for your insurance to address any losses or remediation that must take place to bring you back to your pre-loss state. So, if you live in an area that is prone to heavy rain or has historically flooded, purchasing a flood insurance policy is a good idea.

Be sure to discuss your concerns and coverage needs with your agent to ensure that you have everything you need to protect your household or business in the event of a catastrophic event originating from a source of water.

As always, you are more than welcomed to reach out to our team at J. Hoffman Insurance with questions or for a quote on your home, renters, or business insurance policies: 845-239-4787 or vicki@jhoffmaninsurance.com.