Standard homeowners insurance policies cover flooded basements when the water damage is caused by a covered peril, like a burst pipe, but not a natural disaster. Specifically, this type of basement damage falls under dwelling coverage.
Dwelling coverage refers to the part of a homeowners insurance policy that pays to repair or rebuild the actual structure of the home. It is typically the highest coverage limit in a homeowners insurance policy.
In claims involving flooded basements, the policyholder must prove that the cause of the flood is a covered peril for dwelling coverage to take effect.
Most homeowners insurance policies automatically cover flooded basements due to unexpected water damage (such as a leaky appliance or a burst waterbed). To cover other sources of flooding, a separate flood insurance policy may be necessary.
In this article:
When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Flooded Basements?
Generally, whether homeowners insurance covers flooded basements depends on the cause of the flooding. If it is a result of a covered incident, then the insurance policy will reimburse you for the damages.
Determining the cause of the flood can help you determine whether your homeowners insurance covers the flooded basement or not. Typically, insurance will cover a flooded basement if it is a result of any of the following:
- Broken or faulty appliances
- Bursting or leaking pipes
These are only some of the common perils causing flooding that are covered in standard homeowners insurance policies. Make sure you clarify with your insurance company which perils are included in your policy.
For flooded basements, the cause of the flooding is key in determining whether the policyholder can file a claim. Covered perils may vary depending on the type of homeowners insurance policy you buy. However, there are certain events typically included in standard policies.
For instance, standard home insurance policies tend to cover flooding due to a broken appliance like a washing machine or air conditioning unit, leaking water heaters and bursting pipes. If the flooding is caused by an overflowing tub, sink or pool, your policy may also cover it. Other possible scenarios wherein homeowners insurance applies include vandalism and water damage after a fire.
When Doesn’t Homeowners Insurance Cover Flooded Basements?
There are specific types of flooding that homeowners insurance does not cover. These include:
- Flooding due to a natural disaster
- Sewage backup
- Sump pump overflow
- Seeping groundwater
- Maintenance problems or negligence
In some cases, the insurance company may opt not to approve an insurance claim for flooded basements, even if the cause is a covered peril. This could happen if the insurer proves that you have somehow caused the peril yourself.
How to Prevent Your Basement From Flooding
Buying homeowners insurance is a smart way to protect yourself against expensive cost issues involving your home. However, it’s even better to prevent issues when you can. When it comes to flooded basements, ensuring proper maintenance and conducting regular inspections of your appliances, pipes and systems can help.
It’s crucial to routinely check your appliances, sump pump, pipes, sewer systems and drainage. Look for mold, discoloration or cracks in your walls and ceiling to detect early signs of water damage.
If you find damages after an inspection, make sure to fix them immediately. Get help from professionals if necessary.
Assess flood risk
If you live in an area prone to flooding, take precautionary measures to better protect your home. Doing this can also help determine whether you need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy.
Check your property
In addition to internal rooms, you should also check outside of your home. Clean or fix clogged gutters and maintain your lawn. Look out for pools of water around the foundations of your home.
Where to Buy Homeowners Insurance
Most major insurance companies, such as State Farm, Progressive and GEICO, as well as smaller ones like Lemonade or Hippo, offer homeowners insurance. On average, the cost of homeowners insurance is about $175 per month.
That said, costs may vary per company. Shopping around and comparing home insurance can help ensure that you are getting the best policy.
The price you’ll pay for a homeowners insurance policy also depends on the value of the items you own. Use MoneyGeek’s personal property calculator below to get an idea of how much coverage you may need.
About Mark Fitzpatrick