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Water leaks are a common occurrence in homes. Most of the time, the damage is minor and can be fixed before any real problems arise. However, there are occasions when the damage is so extensive, you may be thinking you want to reach out to your homeowners insurance company. Lucky for you, most standard policies cover water leaks unless they are caused by negligence on the part of the owner. Here are a few instances when homeowners insurance may or may not cover a water leak.
Most likely you would never expect a tree to fall onto your roof. But if it does and it causes damage to your shingles and water enters your home, you will probably be covered for the water damage. Why? Because it was an unexpected event.
An unexpected event is a sudden occurrence that you had no way of preventing because you didn’t know it was going to happen the way it did. Yes, you may have known a storm was coming to the area, but you most likely could not predict a tree was going to fall onto your house.
Let’s imagine another storm is on its way. Just a few weeks ago, you noticed a few shingles were missing from your roof above the garage. The storm passes and it looks like your home made it through fine. However, a little bit of time passes and you notice a watermark on the ceiling of the garage. You climb in the crawl space and discover water had leaked through the roof where the missing shingles were located. Because you could have replaced the shingles, this could be considered preventable damage. If your insurance deems it so, the water leak damage may not be covered in this case.
Improper home maintenance
If you live in an area that regularly has freezing temperatures in the winter, an important part of home maintenance is preparing your pipes for the cold weather. For some homeowners, this includes turning off your outside faucets, draining any excess water and wrapping any sections of the faucet and pipes that are exposed to the freezing weather.
However, suppose this year you were behind on your home maintenance and a cold front blew in. The temperatures are so low that your pipe to the backyard outdoor faucet freezes and breaks, causing a water leak in the wall of your home. Your insurance may not cover the damage, because you did not perform proper maintenance on your home.
Special circumstances may require additional insurance. For example, most of the time, if a water leak is caused by a hurricane or tornado, the homeowner would need to have special flood insurance that specifically covers natural disasters to pay for the damage. A lot depends on the area the home is located in, so it’s important to consult with your insurance company to see if you need that coverage. This may apply as well if your home is located in a flood zone.
One of the most important things to consider when wondering if homeowners insurance covers a water leak is to identify the cause. If you’re performing regular maintenance on your home and taking care of evident repairs, then not only will your home have a longer life, it will prevent damage and unnecessary insurance claims.
Always have a clear understanding of what your homeowners insurance policy covers and if there’s a need for additional coverage for special circumstances. Doing this could protect you and your home from undue hardships.