Given our most recent dumping of snow here in the mid-west and the storms on the coasts, we can all agree we live in a very "wet" country. Whether a heavy snow, a nice spring rain, a deluge, or a flood, the water that each of these natural events creates can enter our homes and do significant damage. Does our homeowners coverage protect us?

 As usual, yes and no.  Here are the details.

Under the typical homeowners policy available in most states, rain entering a home due to damage caused by a covered peril is generally covered.  A covered peril could include a storm that damages the roof, windows, or siding.  What is not a covered event is the continued or repeated seepage of water.  In other words, if your roof is older and causes leaks, the resulting damage is probably not covered.  Bottom line, if a thunder storm, wind shear, tornado, hail, etc. damage your home and rain enters, the resulting damage should be covered.

So, what happens when the rain hits the ground and then enters a home, or an overflow of a nearby stream?  This is one of the most confusing areas of homeowners insurance coverage.  Generally speaking, if water collects on the ground near your home, enters the home and creates damage, there is no coverage under a typical homeowners policy.  In addition, defined floods are not covered under a typical homeowners policy.  You can purchase flood insurance but in order for flood coverage to trigger, the gathering of water near your home must meet the following definition:

"A general and temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area, or of two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from: overflow of inland or tidal waters, or unusual and rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source."       
- National Flood insurance policy

Obviously a flood, as described above, is not a common occurrence, but when floods occur, they can be extremely devastating to a home so it is a very good idea to completely research if your home could be flood prone.

At this point, there is no insurance solution for coverage for either water seepage for your roof or seepage from water on the ground.  Your best defense is to keep your roof in good repair and to have it inspected as the manufacturer suggests.  You should also watch carefully for any gathering water around your home and take steps to divert the water from collecting.

Insurance coverage for water is very comprehensive but in the cases of "no coverage" discussed above, the actions of the homeowner to prevent damage from occurring is the best solution.

***This literature is descriptive only.  Actual coverage is subject to the policy as written.  This information may also vary by state.
Posted 11:34 AM  View Comments

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