Does homeowners insurance cover water damage due to leak?

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Water leakage is a problem and one that is not covered under homeowners insurance. So, the best thing one can do is to be cautious and keep a regular check. Homeowners insurance would typically refuse any claim related to water leakage over a period of time. It would be categorized under negligence. However, under certain special circumstances, your insurer may provide coverage against damage from a water leak.

Does homeowners insurance cover water damage?

Yes, it does but very specific types. Homeowners insurance would not cover damages from flood. Flood insurance is a separate policy that you need to purchase. It would also not cover damage caused by a leaking pipe in your home, but would cover damage from rain getting inside the house through a hole in the roof or a broken window if the hole or the broken window was a result of a storm or extreme weather conditions. If the water damage was due to your negligence, home insurance would not cover it. If you do not know what kind of water damage is covered by your insurance company, go through your policy papers for details.

If there are damages from a storm in your house make sure you dry all the wet areas after the storm has passed away. Provide air circulation to the wet areas cover them with tar if possible to prevent further damage. This will help minimize the possibility of mould growing in your home.

What duty do you have as a homeowner?

It is your duty to keep a check on all fixtures in your home. See to it that they are all maintained well. If there has been any water damage make sure you remedy it as soon as possible. Even a small leakage can lead to mould that would further damage your property. It also causes health hazards like asthma, sinusitis and bronchitis.

Mould damage may be covered but only if it was caused by a leak that grew due to a storm. If your house has built up mould, make sure you get it cleaned professionally. Amateurs may cause it to spread the spores more.

Insurance companies investigate before they can give the policyholders their money for the loss. Adjusters inspect the areas where the damage occurred and they do find out if the leakage had been for over a period of time or if it had been a sudden outburst. So, it is no use lying to the insurance company. Being honest is the only option open to you.

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PostPosted: Mon Nov 05, 2007 1:31 pm   Post subject: Does homeowners insurance cover water damage due to leak?  

I have a rather unusual situation with a client and a well-known preferred home insurance carrier. What do you think?



One day the insured came home and for whatever reason he leaned against the bathroom wall and it suddenly collapsed.



The sheetrock was soaked and so was the insulation inside the wall and mold and mildew was everywhere. There was a small pin-hole leak in a water pipe that obviously had been leaking for quite some time.



The insured called the insurance company to report the incident, a claim was filed and an adjustor came to look at the damage.



The claim was denied by the insurance company because the standard HO-3 homeowners' policy specifically "Excludes" a loss as the result of a water leak over an extended period of time.



If this had been a sudden erruption of a water line, a leaking dishwasher, or a leaking fill line to the ice-maker, it would have been covered. Because this leak had been "over an extended period of time" it was not covered.



So, are we to lean against all of our walls everyday just to see if we might have a water leak?

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:47 am   Post subject: water seepage insurance  

Alright... I'm suppose to handle property losses now but I have to admit... I'm not a "property adjuster". Smile



I'm looking over an ISO HO-3 and I found the exclusion for "Constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water..." but it goes on to say "...unless such seepage or leakage of water or the presence of condensation... is hidden within walls or ceiling or beneath the floors of above the ceilings of structure". If your carrier removes that exception from the ISO form, I'd write with another carrier. Perhaps the adjuster does not know that this exception might exist in their policy. I'd better shop for something like a water leak insurance.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 9:08 am   Post subject: Ho3 excludes leaking pipes....  

The typical HO3 policy doesn't cover water damages caused by leakage of pipes. Water seepage is considered to be a maintenance issue and the homeowner is responsible for monitoring and fixing any leakage (if detected). Therefore, the adjuster is right in that way. If his policy excludes any damages caused by the leaking pipes then he may not receive any compensation for that.


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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 10:02 am   Post subject: water leak insurance  

Hi insurancemaze,

Quote:
So, are we to lean against all of our walls everyday just to see if we might have a water leak?
.



Well, it seems so. Laughing



These policy verbiages are often tricky. Therefore, it always becomes necessary to acquaint yourself thoroughly with the policy document.



Tcope, very useful information. Thanks buddy, it has cleared some clouds of doubts from my mind also.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 12:06 pm   Post subject: water seepage insurance  

I handled HO (along with other types) claims for ten years, and they are tricky, ''give the peril here, take it away there''....OP check your policy to see if it ''gives'' the peril back per tcopes post....Which makes sense, if you cannot see (or hear) it, how do you know it happened? when I was handling these losses (87-97), these types of claims were ALWAYS denied, they did not meet the criteral of 'sudden and accidental' and did meet the (denying) critera of , ''slow deterioration". I would caution the homeowner though, even back then when I was handling these, folks would read the policy and say, 'it DID happen suddenly) but then of course upon inspection would clearly see that the faucet had been leaking for years (rust) or mold around the edge of the tub, in this case, maybe could've noticed the wall was saggy or wet? I don't know I'm just saying that is something to think about....



But many things change in ten years! (MAN I'M GETTING OLD! Rolling Eyes ) Check the policy wording.

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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 4:04 pm   Post subject: Homeowner's Insurance  

Here is the exact HO-3 wording:



"We Do Not Cover:

Continuous or repeated seepage or leakage of water or steam over a period of time, weeks, months or years, from within a plumbing, drainage, heating, air conditioner system or automatic fire protective sprinkler system or from within a household appliance."



I guess the key words here are either "suddenly" or "over a period of time". If the water line had just suddenly bursted and blew out the wall, there would have been no problem.



Most people who buy homeowner's insurance and intentionally request an "all perils" policy would think that a water leak inside a wall would be covered, but they had better read their policy.



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PostPosted: Tue Nov 06, 2007 6:12 pm   Post subject: water leak insurance  

<now that I've had some sleep>



... and it may be the case that the policy I quoted had the 2nd part added to the standard ISO form. Our policies are said be more expensive then most and it's probablyt because the cover a _little_ more then others. Though, I'm not saying this is a good thing. Many people would rather pay a lot less for a _little_ less coverage. In this case it migth have paid for itself but this is probably not typical.



I thought someone mentioned damage caused by the homeowner being covered but don't see that now (sorry if I missed it)... but from 15 years ago taking loss reports I rememeber people having leaks in their slabs. From what I remember the cost to _repair_ the pipe was not covered (maintance) but the _resulting damage_ was (sudden and accidental). Maybe not related but going over to an auto... if an alternator fails and catches on fire, the alternator is not covered (mechanical) but the resulting fire damage is covered. Is this perhaps not at least the same premiss? I'd think the HO-3 policy would not cover the pipe damage but would cover the resulting water damage. I'd think the "sudden" clause would have been met for the damage surrounding the pipe because as soon as the pipe started to leak, the water damage was done. Did the _water_ damage really get worse over time? I doubt it. Keep in mind I'm not talking about any mold damage... but is mold ever "sudden"? I've not read the policy but I have no doubt it addresses mold _specifically_ but seperately then water damage.



(again, property coverage = out of my area)

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PostPosted: Sun May 03, 2009 1:49 am   Post subject: the thruth  

I am in an insurance adjuster for 5 years now. Heres the truth about HO-3 forms. Claims are very delicate and what you say to the insurer could exclude you right out of any coverage. You need to know how to present the loss in a way that will fall within the coverage. It really falls down to words. New policies read that the "seepage or leak or condensation or vapor and blah blah" if continous for 14 or more days whether known or unknown to the insured are not covered. In other words, if u dont know about it, your screwed. A claim examiner for Citizens told me once, were not a maintenance policy the owner has to do check ups on his house like he does on his car. Im not sure if there is a JIffy Lube for homes where you can plug a house in and show you where the damage is.


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PostPosted: Mon May 04, 2009 11:08 am   Post subject: water seepage insurance  

Quote:
what you say to the insurer could exclude you right out of any coverage. You need to know how to present the loss in a way that will fall within the coverage. It really falls down to words.
I've always referred to this as ''creative claims reporting", sounds better than lying.. Wink
Quote:
New policies read that the "seepage or leak or condensation or vapor and blah blah" if continuous for 14 or more days
claims maker, this is most likely a state or even company specific thing...my HO3 doesn't say anything about a time frame..
Quote:
In other words, if u dont know about it, your screwed.
What happened to 'known or unknown' Confused
Quote:
were not a maintenance policy
Absolutely, have said this myself about a million times... Rolling Eyes
Quote:
I'm not sure if there is a JIffy Lube for homes where you can plug a house in and show you where the damage is.
Never seen one, but a great idea...thing is...it does come down to maintenance...and all HO policies have the same 'main theme'...losses must be 'sudden and accidental'.


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 4:52 am   Post subject: water leak insurance  

Quote:
Im not sure if there is a JIffy Lube for homes where you can plug a house in and show you where the damage is.




A house is the biggest (most expensive) thing that most people own, and it is surprising how often people don’t take care of their investment (if you can still call it that nowadays). It is good practice that at least once a week and after storms, a survey of your property should be made. Walk around the exterior of the house looking for damaged roofing or siding. Walk through the house looking for discoloration to walls or ceilings. I don’t think I have ever had a water loss claim that did not result in some sort of visible signs of water damage to ceilings, walls or floors. The only time I have had a claim where it was hidden is when someone had large furniture or stacks and stacks of boxes in a basement…. I even used to wheel my refrigerator out so I could look behind it (ice maker). There is usually some visible indicator that there is a problem. It only takes a couple 10 or 15 minutes to do and could save you a large loss that may not be covered.


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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 5:12 am   Post subject: water seepage insurance  

Well, how can the insurer deny claim when the homeowner isn't aware of the damages? I agree that the homeowner must take proper care of his investment, but at times things may just happen. And, we buy coverage for that purpose, right?



Claim Maker, what would you suggest to the homeowners while filing for the claims?

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PostPosted: Tue May 05, 2009 10:48 pm   Post subject: water leak insurance  

Quote:
Well, how can the insurer deny claim when the homeowner isn't aware of the damages?
If the damage is NOT sudden and accident or if the damage IS gradual deterioration. These are not covered...if the damage is 'known' or should've been known..then you got a problem..perfect example is guy has a stool that just runs and runs...yeah, he's heard the water running for years, but never took the time to find out what the problem is, after all isn't hurting anything but his water bill right?... then one day he sees water on the ceiling below the john that's been running water forever...so a year later (after the water started running in the toliet) he turns in a claim...or storm blows singles off a roof, (or flashing/soffet, you pick)...instead of fixing it...the homeowner just leaves it alone, after all it didnt' hurt anything... then about a year or so later he see's his living room ceiling has a leak, goes into the attic, and it's been leaking for over a year...this is the type of thing we're talking about...if you hear water running in your house, and you have no faucetts on...you should get up off your duff, and find out why and fix it...it's generally pretty easy for an adjuster to tell if something is sudden and accidental, or has been going on for a long long time...homeowners policys are not meant to pay you to fix damage that you should've fixed when the problem started...all p&c policys require you to mitigate your damages as well...and you're not doing that by ignoring a problem that you know you have...


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PostPosted: Sat Sep 12, 2009 2:46 pm   Post subject:   

We don't use our dining room often. Went in there today and discovered carpet was wet. Upon examiniation, discovered that there was leakage in the wall, black mold etc. Is this covered by insurance?


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PostPosted: Sun Sep 13, 2009 12:24 pm   Post subject:   

It depends on what caused the water leak. It does sound like it's been going on for some time (mold). However, it doesn't cost anything to turn in a claim. I'd file on immediately.



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PostPosted: Fri Sep 18, 2009 6:32 pm   Post subject:   

If a pipe bursts, you're probably covered. If you let a leaky faucet go unchecked for weeks, you're not.

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