A water pipe just broke in my home. Water has damaged my wood floor, carpet, and furniture. Does my Florida homeowners’ insurance policy cover this loss?
The answer is not as simple as it seems. It depends on the source of the damage. Homeowners insurance policies do cover water damage but are very specific on the kinds and types of water damage that are covered.
Sudden and Accidental: Covered water damage is defined under most homeowners’ insurance policies as sudden and accidental discharge of water. If, for instance, you inadvertently leave the handle of the toilet down while you are away for the weekend, and water overflows onto your floor, this loss is probably covered. If a water pipe breaks under your floor and, a few weeks later, you find the floor buckling, the homeowners’ policy will likely respond. The homeowners’ insurance policy generally pays for damage from rain coming through a hole in the roof or a broken window if the hole is caused by violent winds.
There are cases where there is no coverage. These are as follows:
- Seepage: If the water seeped into the floor over time from an unresolved maintenance problem, such as a damaged plumbing fixture or a leaking faucet, there is no coverage on the homeowners’ insurance policy.
- Replacing or repairing the source of the water damage: Most insurance policies will not cover the source of the water damage. So, while your policy may cover the cost of tearing out and replacing that damaged floor, you shouldn’t expect it to cover the cost of replacing your broken dishwasher, washing machine, or pipe.
- Water backup from an outside sewer or drain: You also will not typically be covered by a traditional Florida homeowners’ insurance policy if water backs into your home through an outside sewer or drain. You may, however, be able to purchase additional sewer or water backup coverage (typically $5,000-$10,000 of coverage) that may help provide protection in case of such an event.
- Flood: No type of flood damage, no matter the source of the water, is covered by standard Florida homeowners’ insurance policies. Flooding, for example, can occur from heavy rains, over-saturated ground, overflowing or surging bodies of water such as rivers, ponds, lakes and oceans. Flooding can be thought of as rising waters coming from the outside into your home. In these cases, you will need to purchase flood insurance to cover damage.
The best thing one can do when it comes to water damage and their homeowner’s insurance is talk with us. Each homeowner’s insurance company is a little different and coverage can vary. The last thing a homeowner wants is to discover their water damage claim denied after suffering a water damage loss.
Some of the insurers that cater to high valued homes offer broader coverage for backup of sewers and drains. For instance, Chubb, AIG and PURE all cover backup of sewers and drains with no limitation.
For more information on this confusing subject, please call me at 1-800-272-6055 X118.