Water Damage Claims

Water damage is one of the most common reasons for filing an insurance claim with your carrier. While coverage typically excludes perils like flooding or sewage backup, a homeowners policy should cover other sudden or internal perils like a burst pipe. Your dwelling coverage protects against structural damage if it was inside the property. Other weather-related perils causing damage can also be covered under your policy.


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Mold is a common aftereffect of water damage that can lead to further damage to both the property and any of its inhabitants. We recommend making the necessary repairs as quickly as possible to avoid any potential health risks. If mold is determined to be a result of neglect or gradual deterioration, your insurer will likely not cover any damage associated with it.


Decay relates to the break down of the quality of an object. In this case, foundational materials can decay as a result of water damage. This decay could attract other issues like termites and carpenter ants, thus creating more damage to your property.

Roof Collapse

For those in regions with snowfall, there is an increased risk of roof collapse due to the weight of snow is possible. Snow is made up of water, and one inch of water weighs 5.2 pounds per square foot. Your roof becomes increasingly prone to collapse as more weight accumulates on top.

Ice Dams

Ice damming is another potential source for roof damage and is caused when the warm air that circulates through a house meets the ice and snow on a roof causing the bottom layer to melt. Water then flows toward the edge of the roof, an area often poorly supported and without warm air underneath it. This water will eventually freeze at the edge and the continued water flow will work its way under your roof shingles. From here the overflow water trickles down into your ceiling and potentially your home.

Water Damage FAQs
Our Team is Here to Answer Your Questions

Damage from water and damage from flooding are two different forms of coverage in an insurance policy. The former is typically included in standard homeowners insurance policies while the latter is not. FEMA defines flooding as:

“A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of 2 or more acres of normally dry land area or of 2 or more properties (one of which is the policyholder’s) from:

  • Overflow of inland or tidal waves; or
  • Unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source; or
  • Mudflow; or

A collapse of subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water because of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that results in a flood as defined above.”  

In most states, flood damage is excluded from a standard homeowners insurance policy. You will be required to obtain flood coverage through a public entity such as the National Flood Insurance Program or FEMA. You can alternatively obtain flood coverage through an authorized private carrier.

Most policies will not provide coverage for damage because of a sewer or a drain backup or a failed sump pump. Your policy may include added endorsements that allot coverage for sewer, drain, or sump pump backups up to a limited amount of money. It is important to read through your policy to determine the scope of your water damage coverage and any possible exclusions that may exist. Another option is to purchase a rider for sewer backup damage.

Water that accidentally discharges from a broken appliance may be covered under your homeowners insurance policy. Frozen pipes may also fall under your policy’s coverage, but there are often conditions attached such as maintaining heat in your home or properly winterizing your home.

A water exclusion clause restricts certain forms of water damage from being covered under an insurance policy. These clauses limit the water-related claims an insured can successfully make. Damage caused by flooding, standing water, groundwater, and drain or sewage backup typically fall under exclusion clauses.

Damage from snow, collapsed roofs from ice dams, and wind-driven rain may potentially be covered if the damage is proven to be a cause of a covered peril or weather condition.

What to do
if your

  • Indicate any urgent repairs needed at your property. Water can leave your home susceptible to further damage if not properly dealt with. Be sure to document any expenses incurred from temporary repairs.
  • Take photographs of any damage in its original state. This information is helpful toward filing a successful claim.
  • Consider hiring a public adjuster or damage assessment expert to assess the conditions of the damage. The insurer will likely send out their own adjuster, but it can be helpful to have an independent appraisal.
  • Be aware that this type of damage can lead to subsequent damages in the form of weakened doors, walls, windows, appliances, and other structural issues.

Is All Damage Caused By Sewage or Water Infiltration Excluded By My Homeowners Insurance Policy?

Homeowners insurance policies ordinarily exclude losses caused by water or sewage which backs up through sewers or drains. Does it follow that all water or sewage that infiltrates a home through sewers or drains constitutes excluded back up?

My House Has Suffered Water Damage, Am I Covered?

Unfortunately, many people are under the mistaken belief that their homeowner’s policy will cover this type of damage, but that is not always the case.

Avoiding Denials of Water Claims Based on “Long Term Damage Exclusions”

Our blog offers details on how to avoid claim denials due to long term damages.

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