You’re catching up on laundry on a late-Sunday-afternoon, watching your favorite Netflix series while you wait for your whites to finish, then suddenly you hear some noises from down in the basement that don’t’ sound familiar. You hurry down the stairs only to find water running all over the floor of your basement. What is this and how did it happen? More importantly, will you have to cover the damages?
To answer this question, first determine where the water is coming from. Is it water backup? Is this water stemming from a past home maintenance issue that you failed to fix?
What is water backup?
Water backup is an accumulation caused by a stop in water flow, when something has prevented the water from continuing down its path and it is forced to reverse direction and go back the other way. A collapsed drain pipe can cause a backup or a blockage can cause a backup; the blockage prevents the water from going forward, and the water has to reverse itself.
Are water backups covered in home insurance?
Most standard homeowners policies provide protection from water damage if the cause is sudden and accidental. For example, according to the Insurance Information Institute, you’ll likely be protected if your drywall is drenched after your water heater ruptures or an upstairs pipe bursts and water saturates the ceiling below. However, not all water damage is considered sudden or accidental.
What types of water damage isn’t covered by homeowners insurance?
- Damage from unresolved maintenance issues
- Replacing or repairing the source of the water damage. For example, insurance may help you repair the drywall or replace flooring, but it won’t replace the washer that overflowed and caused the flooding in the first-place.
- Water backup from an outside sewer or drain. It is possible to purchase additional sewer or water backup coverage to 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 homeowners policies.
Do you need to purchase sewer or water backup damage coverage?
Whether or not you need to purchase this coverage mostly depends on the items that are in your basement. Do you have an unfurnished basement without much value? Do you store all your prized and inherited possessions in the basement? Your answer will determine whether or not you need to add water backup coverage to your insurance.