When Does My Standard Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

A standard homeowners insurance policy (aka HO3) will cover water damage to the home or personal property within the home only if it’s determined that the cause was sudden and came from inside the house. Certain weather-related perils that cause water damage may also be covered in a standard policy.

Unless you have an open-peril or all-risk policy, your home insurance coverage will only protect property that’s damaged by specifically named perils, about 16 in total on standard HO3 policies. Go to this post, to learn more about an HO3 policy.

The dwelling provision of HO3s typically covers the structure of your home on an open-peril basis, but it’s common for even the broad HO3 policies to limit the personal property provision to named perils. 

Luckily, the following water damage perils will probably be “named” in the personal property section of your policy.

  • Rain or snow
      • Rain, snow and ice dams that form on your roof are usually considered windstorm and weight of snow perils on your policy. 
      • Water damage from wind-driven rain or snow and collapsed roofs from ice dams may be covered if it’s determined that the damage was caused by a covered weather event or condition and not due to homeowner neglect.
      • If it’s determined the water entered your home because of corrosion or rotting to your roof or siding, your insurance won’t cover it, because that is considered homeowner neglect.
  • Plumbing
      • If plumbing issues are covered by your insurance, it will be listed in your policy as “accidental discharge” or “overflow of water or steam,” but water damage that’s caused by sudden bursts or blockages in your plumbing system may be covered too. This includes fire sprinkler systems, air conditioners, outdoor sprinklers, water heaters, and other circulatory piping throughout your home.
      • Water discharge from appliances like your washing machine or dishwasher is also covered. However, repair or replacement of the appliance itself may be excluded.  
  • Fire extinguishment
    • If there’s a fire in your home and the fire sprinklers are activated or firefighters are forced to extinguish the flames, any resulting water damage or mold would be covered.
  • Vandalism
    • If someone enters your home and intentionally destroys your plumbing or leaves the water running, that would be covered as a “malicious activity” peril in your homeowner’s policy.


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