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It can be frustrating not knowing what type of coverage you have against water damage vs. flood damage vs. sewage damage. It's all water isn't it? Yes and it all can damage your home.
Here are some questions we frequently get in the office. What type of insurance coverage do I have against water damage? Is flood coverage included in my home insurance policy?
These are great questions to understand as we live under our beautiful Rocky Mountains. So let’s dive in.
What type of insurance coverage do I have against water damage?
Most homeowners’ policies cover water damage for sudden and accidental water damage.1 The key terminology is “sudden and accidental.” Examples would be pipe bursts or sudden storm-driven rain damage. Often, homeowners’ policies do not cover water damage from poor home maintenance. Examples of this would be unrepaired leaks or leaky appliances.
It is good to be a “Drip Detective”2 to figure out where leaks could be happening in your home.
Every homeowner’s policy is different so it is wise to contact your insurance agent to go over your water damage coverage.
Does my policy include damage from drain and sewer backups?
Sewer or water back up defines as water coming into your home from the pipes of a sewage or drainage system. Aging sewer systems, blockage of pipes, tree roots, and city sewer lines all can cause problems for your sewage system.
The typical homeowner’s policy does not cover for sewage backups. However, this is an easy coverage to add onto your policy as an endorsement. Often for an extra $40-$50 a year, you can be protected against sewage backups. 3
Does my homeowner’s policy include flood damage?
For the average homeowner’s policy, flood damage is not covered. Most insurance carriers define a flood as “a rising and overflowing body of water onto normally dry land … affecting two or more properties.” 4
Flood damage must come from natural water sources. This includes the overflow of inland or tidal water; runoff from surface waters of any source; mudflow; and erosion of land along a body of water caused by waves or currents of water.
Flood insurance is an option for most home and renters insurance policies. But you must have flood insurance to be insured from flood damage. You can also visit www.floodsmart.gov, the official site of the Federal Emergency Management Office (FEMA), for more information.