Types of Water Damage That May Not be Covered When Filing a Water Damage Claim

In home insurance claims, water is among the most common causes of damage. As a homeowner, you need to have knowledge on filing a water damage claim, as it can be helpful, especially if you find yourself suffering from such loss. The first step is to know the different types of water damage, especially in states that are prone to flooding and storms.


Water Damage Claim: What are the types of water damage in a home?

There are 6 main causes of water damage that you need to know as a homeowner, so you can prevent them as much as possible. Continue reading to find out what the risks are, and if an average insurance policy will recognize them.

Accidental/sudden Discharge

The sudden or accidental discharge of water in homes is exactly what it sounds like. This is any kind of presence of water that was unplanned, and could not have been otherwise prevented. They can come from any of these common sources:

  • Sprinklers
  • Pipes
  • Air conditioner
  • Hot water tank
  • Steam boiler
  • Heating system

Storm-related damage

Storms are the most highly-recognized causes of water damage in homes. People who live in areas that are prone to natural disasters are aware of the risks, and are advised to look for a corresponding insurance policy.

Homeowners who are affected by tropical storms and hurricanes are sure that their insurance company will cover any damages that will occur during the storm season. However, many insurance companies aren’t so lenient when it comes to other causes of water damage.


Floods are another common cause of water damage that can plague thousands of properties and homes every year. These types of disasters may be caused by increasingly heavy rains, melting snow, or overflows in channels.

Mold-related damage

Water damage related to mold can occur over an extended period of time. So, when mold is present in a home, it’s most likely caused by water getting into certain areas that are undetected. This can be viewed as a neglectful act on the homeowners’ part.

Sewer overflow/backup

When this occurs, sewer water is discharged into the surrounding neighborhoods and homes. A sewer overflow/backup problem is usually mistaken for an accidental discharge of water, but that’s not the case. This issue is viewed separately in the eyes of an insurance company, which is why you need to keep this in mind as a homeowner.

Gradual water damage

This is the complete opposite of accidental/sudden discharge. Instead of a surprise overflow of water, this water damage begins with a smaller event, such as a drip or leak. This escalates into a bigger problem over time if remains ignored.

Below are some examples of water damage that can happen gradually:

  • Seepage through cracks
  • Corrosion or deterioration of surfaces
  • Leaking pipes


What types of water damage may NOT be covered when filing a water damage claim?

Most home insurance policies cover many types of water damage automatically. However, there are a few causes that do not make the list. While this depends on the individual coverage, the events below will most likely not be covered when filing a water damage claim.

Damage from Flooding

Flooding is usually not covered in basic home insurance policies, and that’s because this standard has everything to do with the insurance company’s business end. To be more specific, this type of water damage requires very high settlement amounts to cover for repairing the damages from flooding in any given area. The monthly premiums that homeowners pay usually do not total up to an amount that’s even close to what is needed in the event of a disaster.

And even though floods may not be covered, there’s no need to worry if you’re located in a high-risk area. A flood insurance policy is specifically designed for this purpose. Homeowners who don’t have this coverage should know what their home insurance policy covers, especially when filing a water damage claim.

Gradual water damage

Any kind of water damage that will occur gradually will not be covered by your insurance. This consists of any kind of drips or leaks that slowly worsen over time until replacements or repairs are done. This includes water damage related to mold, because of the long amount of time needed for any kind of growth to appear.

Why do insurance companies reject this type of water damage? The answer to this question goes back to the responsibility of the homeowner. While it’s true that accidental leaks and openings can cause water to damage homes at any given time, but the progression of the problem becomes a result of negligence.

Responsible homeowners should keep up with their home and property, which means that any potential damage should be stopped at the source, resulting from frequent and thorough inspection. In the eyes of an insurance company, water damages that could have been prevented will not be reimbursed in most cases.

Sewer overflow/backup

An average policy will not automatically include this type of water damage, although other policies will. This doesn’t generally come in basic insurance package, and homeowners are given the option to add it if they want, for an additional charge. Thus, if you think you might be at risk for this problem, then it would be a good idea to add this service as needed.


What types of water damage are covered when filing a water damage claim?

As explained before, different types of water damage can happen in a household, and some of these can be covered fully or partially, while others will be fully denied. It all comes down to how it exactly occurred. To be more specific, insurance companies will take a look at whether the damage occurred gradually or accidentally.

Accidental water damage

Home insurance policies usually cover ALL types of accidental water damage. This includes anything unplanned or sudden, such as a pipe that spontaneously busts and releases water inside the home. What insurance companies look for in situations like this is the role of the homeowner.

If the events that cause the water damage is not preventable through regular maintenance, then the insurance company will most likely grant a settlement check so they can repair the loss.


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