Water damage is a little bit of a mixed bag when it comes to insurance policies. Ultimately, it depends on the policy. However, the most common rental insurance policies only offer limited coverage for accidental water damage. Let’s take a closer look at what that means.
What is Renter’s Insurance?
Renter’s insurance provides some protection for your personal belongings in the event that they are destroyed while in your rented home. Many landlords require tenants to carry renter’s insurance, and even if it’s not required–it’s a good idea to protect your belongings.
But what exactly does it cover?
Renter’s insurance typically covers:
● Theft of Personal Property
● Permanent Loss (e.g., destroyed by fire)
● Loss of Use (temporary living expenses)
● Personal Liability for Accidents & Injuries
● Limited Coverage for Water Damage
● Limited Coverage for Natural Disasters
Common Types of Water Damage
So, does the renter’s insurance cover water damage? The answer is a solid–maybe. We don’t mean to be wishy-washy, but water damage is a broad term. Let’s take a look at what your renter’s insurance policy is likely to cover when it comes to the different types of water damage
● Water Leaks: A little leak under the sink is common and frequently goes unnoticed until there is some water damage. Leaks can be big or small, ranging from a slow drip to something more like Niagra Falls occurring under your sink or behind your washer.
● Burst Pipes: Another common and more acute water damage problem comes from a burst pipe. This can happen when temperatures plunge to subzero readings or even just below freezing in climates that aren’t equipped for colder temperatures. A burst pipe can flood the affected area with a significant amount of water. Does the renter’s insurance cover water damage from burst pipes?
● Backed Up Drain/Sewer: When there is a clog in your plumbing, the water and waste flushed down the toilet don’t go out to the sewer or septic as intended. Instead, it comes back up inside your home in some of the most repulsive ways possible. Unfortunately, most renter insurance policies don’t cover backups. However, you can purchase additional coverage for this type of water damage.
● Flood Damage: Sometimes the modern convenience of indoor plumbing isn’t to blame at all. Mother Nature can wreak havoc, flooding an area and unfortunately filling your home with floodwater. But, does renter’s insurance cover water damage from a flood? The answer here is typically no. However, if you live in an area prone to flooding, you can purchase special flood insurance to protect your stuff.
● Accidental Overflow: Accidents happen, and sometimes we start to fill the sink or bathtub only to get distracted. An accidental overflow is when water damage or indoor flooding is caused by human error.
Is the Tenant Responsible for Water Damage in a Rented Home?
The property owner should carry an insurance policy that covers structural repairs and flood mitigation services. So, regardless of the cause, the tenant is not typically responsible for water damage in a rented home. Renter’s insurance and supplemental rental flood policies are designed to protect you and your belongings, while the landlord’s property insurance will protect the structure.
So, Does Renter’s Insurance Cover Water Damage?
If you rent a home and your belongings are destroyed due to accidental water damage, your renter’s insurance policy can help replace your stuff or cover temporary living expenses while you’re displaced. However, if you’re wondering if your renter’s insurance will cover property damage, the answer is typically no. It’s not intended for that purpose and your landlord should carry a separate property insurance policy for that purpose. For help addressing water damage and preventing mold, call J&R Restoration.