I am often asked this question, and the answer is: “It depends.” It depends on the type of water damage that has occurred and what the source of the water is. It also depends on what type of coverage you have on your Homeowners Insurance Policy.
Water damage due to rising water from outside of the home, such as a river overflowing its banks and rising into the home, is called “Flood Damage” and is specifically excluded from Texas Homeowners Insurance policies. No coverage is provided for this. A separate Flood Insurance policy is available and is written though the National Flood Insurance Program, a federal program. If you are located in a designated flood zone you definitely will need a Flood Insurance policy and your mortgage company will require this coverage. If you are not located in a flood zone, this coverage is not required but you may want to consider it anyway. Contact our office for additional information on Flood Insurance.
The type of water damage that is typically covered under a Texas Homeowners Insurance policy is the type that originates from within the home. Such as a water line bursting or a water heater bursting and flooding the home.
There are two primary types of water damage coverages, for homeowners insurance purposes. The first is what is called “Sudden and Accidental Discharge of Water”. This is when a sudden burst of water floods the home. An example would be a water heater bursting or a washing machine hose breaking and suddenly flooding the home with water. This can do major damage, especially if you are not home when it happens. This type of damage is typically covered under a well endorsed homeowners insurance policy.
The second type of water damage is that which occurs as a result of slow leaks. Possibly a leaking water line or a shower pan leak. These typically do a smaller amount of damage and are often less than the homeowners insurance policy deductible, unless they are left unattended for an extended period of time. If that happens these can become major claims as well. Because of this, many homeowners insurance companies do not cover damage for slow leaks. They consider this a maintenence related claim and feel that if the homeowner takes care of the issue as soon as it becomes apparent, it would not be a big deal. Some insurance companies do cover this type of water damage, as well. It’s good too have both covered, if it is not cost prohibitive from a premium standpoint.
Another type of water damage coverage on a Texas Homeowners Insurance Policy is “Backup of Sewers and Drain Coverage.” This would cover you in the event a toilet backed up and overflowed into the home. This can be a big deal, especially if the bathroom is located upstairs. Most policies do covers this now days, but it is generally an additional endorsement to the Texas Homeowners Insurance policy. However, some policies do include it automatically.
So, once again, the answer is: “It Depends”. Check with your agent and/or insurance company or contact our office to verify what specific type of coverage you have or to discuss this coverage in more detail.