Homeowners Insurance: Does Water Damage Cover

Posted on August 5, 2021

Canadians spend nearly $2 billion on water damage in one year alone. Everything from flooding to pipe bursts drives water damage insurance claims.

If left untreated, water damage can attract pests and mould. Mould also leads to respiratory problems, fatigue, headaches, and dizziness.

You can do a few things to lower the risk of water damage from weather and plumbing emergencies. For example, you can upgrade your roof before storm season or replace your pipes when they're too old.

However, you can only plan so much.

Accident damage is unpredictable. Your new plumbing may be installed improperly. You may experience heavier rainfall than expected.

You can't put off these repairs. Fortunately, home insurance can cover your damages quickly, providing much-needed peace of mind.

Why Having Homeowner Insurance Coverage for Water Damage is Important

Bad Weather and plumbing are the two main culprits behind water damage. However, many things can facilitate damage, even seemingly minor issues.

Water damage is typically associated with flooding and heavy rains. Don't discount strong winds, though. Winds easily damage weak roofing and siding, facilitating water damage.

Did you know that humidity also causes water damage?

You don't need a flood to damage flooring, fixtures, and piping. Uncontrolled humidity creates excess condensation, speeding up mould growth, tile damage, and wall peeling. This problem is common with houses that lack proper ventilation.

As you guessed, water damage from humidity typically affects the bathroom. However, poor HVAC systems also create humidity problems that impact the entire home.

Air conditioning is critical for controlling moisture during Canada's hot, humid summers. Humidity damage is sneaky. It slowly degrades building materials, making them more vulnerable to damage during storms and accidents.

Leaky water heaters are another HVAC problem to watch.

Water heater leaks will flood the basement quickly if you're not careful. High-pressure issues cause old heaters to leak, so maintenance is essential.

Have you checked your gutters recently?

Gutters are supposed to detour rainwater away from the house. They can't do that when they're clogged with soggy leaves, birds nests, chipped roofing materials, and storm debris. Consequently, these problems quickly lead to water damage, mould, and pests.

Clogged house drains are another problem. Busy households generate a lot of mess. Unfortunately, some of that mess finds its way down toilets and kitchen drains.

Avoid flushing anything down the toilet besides toilet paper. Even flushable items can clog drains.

Your washing machine is another overlooked risk.

Washing machines rely on water supply lines. Old supply lines are more prone to rupturing from wear and tear.

Stainless steel supply lines last longer than rubber lines. Thus, runner water supply lines are a much greater damage risk.

Does Home Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Home insurance helps Canadian homeowners get back to life after accidents. However, not every type of water damage is covered by insurance.

For example, if your child stuffs a bunch of doll hair down the drain, your claim will likely be denied. Water damage insurance is for situations that are beyond your control, like weather and structural issues. If your home floods during a heavy storm, your insurance is more likely to cover the damage.

Even water damage from swimming pools is covered by home insurance providers.

What Are the Types of Water Damage?

Like water damage from plumbing, not every pool accident is covered by home insurance, either. Insurance providers use a rubric to assess the official type of water damage.

Assess whether your water damage claim falls under one or more of these types:

Seepage

Is your water damage caused by melting snow? This claim would fall under water filtration damage. Water filtration destroys wall materials, roofing, and siding.

Your water damage could also qualify for a seepage claim if you can prove the seepage isn't an ongoing issue outside of a sudden incident.

Watermain Breaks and Sewer Back-Ups

Seepage also occurs during watermain breaks. Water main breaks can cause significant damage to multiple homes, rental properties, and commercial buildings. Watermain seepage is typically covered by insurance, as well.

Like watermains, sewer back-up issues can cause significant water damage. Sewers transport rain and wastewater through pipes. However, sewer back-ups lead to costly damage and smelly odours.

If you have a sewer system, add sewer back-up coverage to your home insurance plan for extra protection.

Flooding

You're familiar with flooding, but are you familiar with flooding in regards to insurance? Like the earlier example with the doll hair, insurance providers don't cover every flooding accident.

Flood claims are more likely to be approved if they result from sudden or accidental reasons.

According to insurers, an accident is an unintentional act that's not committed on purpose. While your child didn't know what would happen after putting doll hair down the drain, they still did it intentionally. This rule also applies to any structural issues created during DIY repairs.

Sudden acts are similar to accidents. These incidents happen suddenly without provocation. For example, a frozen pipe could suddenly burst, leading to severe water damage.

Frozen Pipes

Luckily, you can cover frozen pipe water damage through your insurance provider. Read through multiple home insurance plans carefully to ensure they provide the protection you need. One mistake homeowners make is assuming their insurance covers every incident.

More Weather Damage

Like flooding, hail and wind damage may also qualify for home insurance claims.

For example, a tree couple topples on your home during a storm and damages building materials. These materials become waterlogged, creating costly water damage. Severe winds can rip the shingles off your roof, causing massive roof leaks.

Document the damage and file a claim with your insurance provider.

Water Damage from Pools

Yes, it's true. Even your pool is covered by insurance. However, not every issue is covered.

You're still responsible for maintaining your pool's plumbing. Thus, water damage caused by negligence isn't covered by home insurance. However, pool plumbing damage from storm accidents is covered.

What Type of Water Damage is Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Many damage types described above are covered by home insurance. However, context is everything. You're more likely to receive coverage if you can prove the damage is entirely out of your control.

For example, what about pools that freeze over in winter? Some pools can't withstand the weight of pool ice. Plus, pipes contract as water freezes and thaws, increasing the risk of damage. Unfortunately, the described situation falls under negligence, which isn't covered by insurance.

Insurance Exclusions

This doesn't mean that you can't get insurance for preventable issues. You would need to purchase additional insurance to cover these problems.

Water damages from waves and boats aren't typically covered by home insurance unless you buy additional insurance. If something isn't typically covered by an insurance plan, it's considered an exclusion.

Other exclusions you may run into include:

  • Water damage from ice (not seepage related)
  • Damage from ocean waves or tides
  • Water damage from boats or seaborne debris
  • Damage in homes vacant for a month or more
  • Frozen HVAC appliances in unheated areas of the house
  • Water escape from frozen outdoor appliances
  • Continuous seepage (not sudden or accident-related)

Not every insurer covers groundwater floods or flooding from fluctuating water table levels. However, you can still purchase additional coverage for these issues.

Water damage from sump pump issues isn't typically covered by traditional home insurance, either. However, if your sump pump was damaged in a storm or accident beyond your control, you can file a claim. Continuous sump back-ups and overflow issues aren't covered by traditional insurance.

Septic tanks are another issue. Preventable septic tank damages are not covered by most insurance plans. Likewise, you'll need to purchase additional sewer insurance.

Most Common Water Damage Coverage

Most insurance plans cover water damage caused by accidental or sudden issues involving the following:

  • Watermain breaks
  • Swimming pool plumbing and attachments
  • Water damage from sudden openings in the home
  • Sudden hot water tank and washing machine overflow
  • Damage from downspouts, eaves troughs, and ice dams
  • Water and steam damage from plumbing and HVAC
  • Most weather-related accidents

Think about all your potential needs. With the help of home insurance and coverage for exclusions, you can enjoy full protection for your home.

How to Prevent Homeowners Insurance Claim from Being Denied?

Suppose your home has severe water damage from a recent flood. What do you do?

Your first step is to document the damage as thoroughly as possible. While home insurance is here to help, insurers may not approve your claim without ample evidence.

Evidence also proves damages aren't caused by negligence. Negligence will get your claim quickly denied. Therefore, you should keep your home in top shape.

Complete all of your home improvement repairs before storm season. Teach your family about safe flushing and plumbing maintenance too. You could leave signs instructing people not to flush objects down the toilet.

Protect Your Home from Water Damage

Don't pay the high costs of water damage. Make sure you're up to date with repairs and look for a home insurance plan that will give you complete peace of mind.

Are you ready to choose an insurer now? Compare and contrast insurance providers with Insurdinary's quick and easy comparison tool. Get free quotes fast, and discover a reliable home insurance solution.

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