What Water Damage Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover?

April 25, 2021 | Attorney, Matthew Dolman
What Water Damage Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover?

Does my Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Florida can easily be considered one of the wettest places in the entire country. Floridians are no strangers to what all that water can do to their homes. This possible water damage is a constant threat to a typical Florida home that most homeowners try to combat with homeowners insurance to cover water damage and avoid costly, out-of-pocket water damage restoration. In the event that your home sustains enough water damage that warrants the need to file a homeowners insurance claim, it's important to not only know all the different ways that water can compromise your home and how to get the most out of your water damage claim but to also know what kinds of water damage are not covered. Nonetheless, whether it's a water leak or a pipe leak, if you decide to pursue a homeowners insurance policy claim, you want to make sure you have a skilled property damage attorney who handles water damage insurance claims.

Types of Water Damage Not Covered By Homeowners Insurance Policies

When Floridians hear the words “water damage”, they cannot help but have their thoughts drift to the possibility of flooding or storm surge submerging their home. Flooding and storm surge is a somewhat common occurrence in Florida thanks to the ravaging storms and hurricanes that bombard the coastlines in summer. On the bright side, it is usually pretty apparent whether or not a home is at risk of flooding thanks to these natural forces. Proximity to the coast and large bodies of water, as well as a low elevation, are taken into account not only by homeowners but insurance companies as well. Insurance providers will naturally make their rates and deductibles a bit more difficult to manage when a home is at high risk of flooding.

Flooding is Not Covered by Homeowners Insurance

An important distinction between flooding and other forms of water damage is that flooding is generally not covered by your standard homeowner's insurance policies. This includes flooding from flash floods and storm surges. While some may call a washing machine overflowing, a water heater breaking, or a pipe burst filling their bathroom with water “flooding”, it does not follow the official definition of flooding. To be considered flooding, water would have to rise from a source that originates outside the home and then comes in and damages the property. In order to cover water damage claims caused by flooding, a separate flood insurance policy is needed. A good way to tell if you have a flood claim is if several houses have been affected by the same rising level of water.

Flooding Damage to a Home Covered by Flood Insurance

When a home gets flooded, the water damage doesn't resemble your typical burst pipe. Instead, a flood is usually about as bad as it gets short of a high-pressure water cannon blasting holes throughout the home. When a home is flooded the water doesn't just dampen up the place and then eventually dry up. Water has a way of finding its way through every single nook and cranny possible and then some. This can inflict unprecedented damage to a home. Electrical systems can be damaged or destroyed, ruined by water that finds its way to sensitive points. Water can actually seep into certain parts of a home and get trapped; further increasing water damage to property by rotting away the wooden structural elements of a home and compromising the house. Flood water is also notorious for how unsanitary and potentially bad for your health it can be. After floodwater stands in a home for a while, it really seeps all the pathogens, bacteria, and whatever other nasty things may be lurking into the bones of the house. One common side effect of this is the growth of harmful molds. On top of all this, there is all the usual damage to the contents of the home and include damaged items such as furniture, electronics, and personal effects that will be soaked with water and ruined. However, this is where having flood insurance can be a lifesaver.

Gradual Water Damage and Homeowner Insurance Policies

If the grand canyon was formed by the gradual erosion of water imagine the property damage it can possibly do to a home if given enough time. People don't realize how many nooks and crannies are in a house that can trap water. Trapped water can slowly but surely erode away even the sturdiest of materials.

Types of Gradual Water Damage

Gradual water damage can arise in a variety of forms that people only catch when it's too late. A leaky roof or leaky pipes can cause more than just water stains but also damage behind walls ceilings, and floors without homeowners realizing until something stops functioning or the problem worsens into something else. Seepage can occur through cracks in a home's foundation and slowly damage it. The gradual damage of a home can include rotting wood, mold growth, structural damage, damage to electrical systems, and corrosion. All of these are very expensive things to repair yet homeowners insurance companies deny claims of gradual water damage. The reasoning behind this is that insurance companies maintain that their service is to provide compensation in the case of sudden and accidental damages rather than something that happened over time like gradual water damage.

Faulty or Lack of Repairs is not something Standard Homeowners Insurance Covers

When a roof leak is the result of a roofing contractor's error, if the plumbing is done incorrectly, or if the proper steps are not taken to maintain water systems in a home and it results in water damage, then homeowners insurance claims may be denied. That is why temporary repairs are usually not the best answer, as they may not only make the problem worse but also result in denial of coverage. This is done on the basis of the failure to maintain or maintain correctly demonstrating negligence. If the water damage could have been avoided by the proper repairs then the insurance company will likely deny the claim. So, before you spend time filling out claim forms and file a home insurance claim, it's good to understand the roots of the problem. Nonetheless, it's still a good idea to have property insurance for water damage.

Contact a Skilled Homeowners Insurance Lawyer with Any Questions.

It is important to keep these exemptions to your homeowner insurance coverage in mind when you review the details of your insurance. Always remember to look over the details of your insurance plan carefully and remain informed on how insurance companies can deny you money for an accident they do not cover. If you or a loved one are having trouble getting an insurance company to pay you the full value of your claim after your home has suffered water damage, then do not hesitate to contact Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA about a free consultation on your claim. Our skilled Lawyers have the expertise you need to secure the settlement that you deserve.

You can reach us in one of these 3 ways:

Please feel free to contact us with any questions. You can reach us in one of these 3 ways:
  • Call Dolman Law Group Accident Injury Lawyers, PA at (727) 451-6900
  • Click the Live Chat button in the bottom right corner of this page


Matthew Dolman

Personal Injury Lawyer

This article was written and reviewed by Matthew Dolman. Matt has been a practicing civil trial, personal injury, products liability, and mass tort lawyer since 2004. He has successfully fought for more than 11,000 injured clients and acted as lead counsel in more than 1,000 lawsuits. Always on the cutting edge of personal injury law, Matt is actively engaged in complex legal matters, including Suboxone, AFFF, and Ozempic lawsuits.  Matt is a lifetime member of the Million Dollar Advocates Forum and Multi-Million Dollar Advocates Forum for resolving individual cases in excess of $1 million and $2 million, respectively. He has also been selected by his colleagues as a Florida Superlawyer and as a member of Florida’s Legal Elite on multiple occasions. Further, Matt has been quoted in the media numerous times and is a sought-after speaker on a variety of legal issues and topics.

Learn More