Homeowners Insurance and Sudden Water Damage

Flooded living room
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When a homeowners insurance disaster like water damage occurs it is a big problem and can totally ruin a home. The home can still be standing and look fine, but the mold that starts to grow due to water damage in a home can make a home unsafe and uninhabitable. Homeowners insurance does cover water damage but is very specific on the kinds and types of water damage that is covered. One type of water damage that is covered under homeowners insurance is sudden water damage.

Sudden water damage is a coverage under homeowners insurance but can still be confusing and is limited. In addition, every insurance company often has slightly different coverages for sudden water damage so it is important if one is concerned about sudden water damage to find an insurance company that has the correct sudden water damage coverage one is looking for.

Let's take a look at some examples of sudden water damage coverage that a typical homeowners insurance policy would cover and some examples of sudden water damage that a typical homeowners insurance policy would not cover.

Homeowners Insurance Sudden Water Damage: What it Does and Does Not Cover

What Sudden Water Damage Does Cover in Homeowners Insurance:

It seems simple enough... wouldn't sudden water damage cover any sudden water damage to my home? Well, as we know, what seems simple to one reasonable person is not that simple when described in an insurance contract.

Actually, sudden water damage is very specific in and insurance policy and many people are surprised when they go to file a claim and find that the sudden water damage that they thought would be covered under their homeowners insurance policy was actually denied.

Sudden water damage in a homeowners insurance policy is usually defined as an accidental and sudden discharge of water.

So, take for example you are heading out on vacation and your daughter goes to the bathroom one last time before the long trip. Unfortunately, on that last flush of the toilet the handle got stuck and the toilet kept running for days while you were gone. It was an upstairs toilet and when you got back you found practically your whole house from the upstairs floor down, ruined by water damage. That would be considered and accidental and sudden discharge of water and covered under your homeowners insurance.

What Sudden Water Damage Does Not Cover in Homeowners Insurance:

Unfortunately, a common type of sudden water damage is never covered under homeowners insurance. This would be a flood. This is a common misconception many have because they take the term "sudden water damage" and apply it to what they would reasonably think that means. And, a flood, to a reasonable person would most certainly be defined as sudden water damage. But, flood insurance is never covered under homeowners insurance and one must buy a separate flood insurance policy to have coverage from a flood.

Another example of water damage that some associate with sudden water damage would be a leaking pipe. Many find a leaking pipe in their homes and to them, this seems like sudden water damage but it is really a maintenance issue.

In a homeowners insurance policy, any water damage that is due to leaking water over time is not covered. So, although it seemed like sudden water damage because it was just found and can be a sudden shock to the homeowner, it is not considered sudden water damage to the insurance company and would not be covered.

The best thing one can do when it comes to water damage and their homeowner's insurance is talk with their insurance agent and insurance company. Water damage coverage can be specific to each insurance company and very confusing to the homeowner. The last thing a homeowner would want is to find out what water damage coverage they have after they have been denied a water damage claim.