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Solved! Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage From Rain?

During heavy rains, homeowners may be left asking, “Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from rain?” In certain specific instances, the answer may be yes.
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does homeowners insurance cover water damage from rain

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Q: As my home gets older, I’ve started wondering about the quality of the roof. Specifically, what happens if my roof starts leaking during a rainstorm? Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from rain?

A: A home’s exterior helps keep the elements out while keeping heat or cool air in. As exterior components age or if a storm causes damage, homeowners may start to notice water leaks. This leads to the question, “If rain gets into my house, does homeowners insurance cover water damage from rain?”

The answer to that question depends on the specific way the rainwater gets into the home. In sudden, unexpected events like windstorms, homeowners insurance will likely cover some of the water damage. However, if the water damage is due to homeowner negligence, such as not repairing a leaky roof, homeowners insurance won’t cover the damage.

Homeowners insurance may cover water damage from rain, depending on how the rain entered the home and the resulting damage.

The best homeowners insurance policies usually cover a range of perils that can cause damage or destruction to a home. When it comes to water damage, a homeowners insurance policy could cover water damage to the structure or the homeowner’s personal property, depending on the type and cause of the damage. How the water enters the home is one of the most important factors in whether a homeowner will be able to have the rainwater insurance claim covered. If the water enters a home due to a sudden and unexpected incident, a homeowners insurance policy may cover damages.

For example, if a severe thunderstorm causes a tree limb to fall onto the roof of a home, resulting in damage, rainwater could leak into the home. In this case, provided the roof was in good condition prior to the storm, a homeowners insurance policy would likely cover any water damage from the event, less the deductible. This can vary among different types of homeowners insurance since some types cover more perils than others.

In general, water damage from rain that entered the home due to a covered peril, such as a windstorm, will likely be covered by homeowners insurance.

Storms that cause damage to the exterior of a home are one of the most common ways for rain to enter a building. Many homeowners insurance roof leak claims come after a strong storm hits the area. Common types of storms that can cause roof or siding damage and let rain into a home include:

  • Windstorms and tornadoes
  • Hail
  • Thunderstorms
  • Heavy rains leading to sudden roof leaks
does homeowners insurance cover roof leaks

Homeowners can usually file an insurance claim for water damage after one of these storms allows rain to get into the home.

Renters insurance may also cover water damage if rain enters the apartment or rental property during or following a storm. Unlike homeowners insurance, however, renters insurance doesn’t cover the structure of the rental property—that is covered by the landlord’s insurance. Renters insurance rain coverage instead focuses on replacing or repairing the renter’s personal belongings, such as clothing or furniture, if they are damaged or destroyed by a covered event.

Homeowners insurance will also typically cover water damage caused by the weight of rain, snow, or ice dams.

The weight of water in any form is surprisingly heavy—rain, hail, ice, or snow. When it pools on the top of a house, this weight can cause damage to the roof. In turn, this lets rainwater leak into the house from above. In severe cases, the weight of water, ice, or snow could even cause the roof to collapse.

Luckily, homeowners insurance generally includes protection if the weight of the water causes damage to the roof. In many cases, homeowners insurance will also help cover the cost of roof repair after ice or heavy snow damages it, provided the roof was in good repair prior to the event.

For instance, if partially melted snow turns to ice on a homeowner’s roof and forms a dam, which causes more water to build up on the roof, it could cause a hole to form in the roof. Water from ice, hail, snow, and rain could then enter the home through the hole. The cost to repair the damage is likely covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy.

Homeowners insurance may also cover mold as a result of rain damage caused by a sudden, covered peril.

In addition to homeowners insurance covering roof leaks that occur as a result of sudden or unexpected perils, homeowners insurance companies may cover mold remediation to get rid of mold that forms due to the leak. Anytime rain or other water enters a home unexpectedly, homeowners will need to be aware of the risk of mold growth and will want to keep an eye out for signs of mold so they can address the issue quickly.

does homeowners insurance cover water damage from rain

As an example, a hailstorm causes damage to a home’s roof and water starts to leak into the attic. The homeowner notices mold on the upstairs ceilings and checks the attic to find much of the floor covered in mold. Their homeowners insurance policy may cover the cost of the best water damage restoration services and mold remediation services because the rain entered the home during a covered accident.

Rain damage as a result of vandalism is also typically covered by a homeowners insurance policy.

Vandalism and break-ins often leave the exterior of a home damaged. Broken windows or doors could let rain into the property. If the homeowners are out of town or don’t notice the damage right away, that rainwater could cause water damage to walls, flooring, furniture, and more. The good news is that homeowners insurance generally covers vandalism and would likely cover the cost to repair the water damage, less the deductible.

Vandalism coverage has limits, however. In general, the property must be occupied for the homeowner to receive coverage for vandalism. Homeowners are encouraged to read their policies carefully to see if there are any coverage limits. For example, a policy may specify that the insured property must not be vacant for 60 days or more. If an accident such as vandalism occurs and allows rain to get into the building, the insurance company might reject the claim.

However, if the water damage is a result of flooding from heavy rain, homeowners insurance will usually not cover it.

Floods and flooding are typically excluded from homeowners insurance. If heavy rain results in a flood, such as in the case of torrential rain leading to an overflowing riverbank and flooding a neighborhood, homeowners without flood insurance wouldn’t be covered by their homeowners insurance.

Additionally, a homeowners insurance company is likely to classify the water that seeps into a home after heavy rains as flooding. For example, a large rainstorm could cause groundwater to seep into a home’s basement, causing flooding. The homeowner can file a claim, but in most cases, any water that accumulates on the ground and enters the home is considered flooding, and is therefore not likely to be covered.

Homeowners will want to clarify with their insurance company the difference between water damage and flood damage according to their policy. This could give them a better idea of whether or not their homeowners policy covers certain types of water damage.

does homeowners insurance cover water damage from rain

Homeowners insurance typically won’t cover water damage from rain if it was caused by homeowner neglect, such as leaving a window open during heavy rain or failure to address a known issue like a leaky roof.

In general, homeowners insurance companies require a home to be in good overall condition in order to approve a claim made by the homeowner. When it comes to water damage from rain, it’s important that homeowners understand their responsibility to maintain their homes. One of the best water damage insurance claim tips for homeowners is to properly maintain their homes to increase their chances of a favorable claim result.

For example, if a homeowner neglects to clean their gutters and a storm brings heavy rain, it could cause water to overflow out of the gutter and run down the siding, causing mold in the walls of the house. The homeowner may make a claim and the insurance company will send out a claims adjuster to the property. If the adjuster sees the overfilled gutters and identifies them as the cause of the water damage, the insurance company will typically deny the water damage claim. This is because, had the gutters been cleaned and maintained, the water damage likely wouldn’t have occurred.

Gradual water damage caused by rain is also not likely to be covered by homeowners insurance.

A key component of a successful water damage insurance claim is that a sudden and unexpected incident causes the damage. If water damage occurs slowly and gradually, the damage isn’t considered “sudden.” The homeowners insurance company would most likely deny the claim due to negligence from the homeowner.

If a homeowner notices a leak in their home, it’s their responsibility to file a claim or make repairs as soon as they discover the damage. If they ignore the leak, the water damage is likely to worsen over time, thereby increasing the cost of repairs. Although the average insurance payout for water damage depends on both the cause and amount of damage, insurance companies generally deny any water claims that are the result of neglect.

Homeowners who live in areas that are prone to flooding will want to consider a flood insurance policy to protect them from water damage from heavy rain and other types of floods.

While a basic homeowners insurance policy doesn’t cover floods or flooding, homeowners may still be able to protect their homes. The best flood insurance companies provide coverage for the home and the policyholder’s personal property if it’s damaged or destroyed by a flood. Homeowners who live in a floodplain or flood-prone area will want to strongly consider insurance for flooding to protect their properties—and mortgage lenders are likely to require it.

does homeowners insurance cover water damage from rain

Flood insurance policies are typically separate from a homeowners insurance policy. This means the homeowner will likely have an additional insurance premium to pay. The cost of flood insurance depends on several factors, mostly related to location, such as:

  • Whether the home is in a floodplain
  • State and ZIP code
  • Proximity to rivers and other waterways
  • Elevation of the overall property

Other factors that affect the cost of flood insurance include:

  • Construction type of the home
  • Age of the home
  • Type of policy
  • Deductible and the coverage amount

Homeowners can also look into adding endorsements to their homeowners insurance such as water backup coverage for additional protection against water damage from rain.

Homeowners whose homes aren’t at risk of flooding but want additional water damage protection can ask their insurance company about water damage endorsements. One of the most common endorsements is water backup coverage. This coverage generally helps cover the costs of repairing and mitigating water damage due to water backing up in a home. For example, a basic homeowners insurance policy likely wouldn’t cover water damage caused by a drain or sewer backup or a failing sump pump, but a water backup endorsement likely would.

For homeowners considering additional flood or water backup coverage, it’s important to keep the cost in mind. Adding endorsements to an insurance policy generally increases the cost of homeowners insurance. Homeowners are encouraged to compare the cost of additional coverage against their risks to choose the coverage that’s right for them.