As with most things “insurance,” the answer is it depends. A standard homeowners policy covers water damage from rain that comes into your home due to a covered peril, such as a storm.
An example would be rain that seeps through the roofing which got damaged by a windstorm. Insurers also pay for accidental damage, such as if a falling tree shatters a window and rain pours inside. However, gradual damage, such as rain leaking through a hole in the roof over time, is not covered. In addition, homeowners insurance excludes flooding, which requires a separate policy.
- 1 What Types of Rain Damage Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
- 2 Rainwater Damage Your Homeowners Insurance Excludes
What Types of Rain Damage Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?
Homeowners insurance policies specify what types of rain damage they cover. Covered rain damage includes wind-driven rain, damage from the weight of rain, snow, or ice, mold, and vandalism.
Your homeowners insurance pays for damage caused by wind-driven rain that enters your home due to high winds from storms. The key for underwriters in making a claims decision is whether the high winds caused rain to pour into your home, such as through a broken window, or heavy rain caused your property to flood. In the latter case, your homeowners insurance would deny the claim. You could only receive compensation from a separate flood insurance policy.
Weight of Rain, Snow, and Ice Dams
Homeowners insurance pays to repair damage to your property and personal possessions caused by the weight of rain, snow, or ice. For instance, should an ice dam on your roof result in a collapse that leads to water damage, the event is likely covered. The same applies to snow and rainwater.
Water that enters the property often causes mold. If rainwater from a covered event caused the mold, then your homeowners policy will pay for remediation and repair.
For example, imagine a tree branch cracked a window and rainwater rushed into your house, resulting in mold. Your homeowners insurance policy would likely pay for remediation or replacement of molded structures and items.
However, mold that occurred gradually because of a lack of maintenance, such as a hole in the roof that was allowed to grow, your homeowners insurance company will refuse to cover the mold damage.
Vandalism is a peril covered by standard home insurance policies. For example, if vandals broke a window and rainwater entered through it, your insurance would cover the damages.
Note that most homeowners policies exclude vandalism coverage for homes vacant for more than 60 days unless you add a vacant home rider.
Rainwater Damage Your Homeowners Insurance Excludes
Some damage from rainwater is up to you to cover, including the following:
Rain from Floods or Storm Surges
Standard home insurance policies exclude flooding or storm surges. For instance, should a night of heavy rain flood your basement, a standard homeowners policy won’t cover it. To protect your home against floods and storm surges, obtain a separate flood insurance policy. You can usually obtain one from the same company that writes your homeowner’s insurance.
Rain That Entered Through a Corroded Structure
Homeowners insurance companies can be sticklers about maintenance. For this reason, it’s not wise to count on coverage for rainwater that seeps into your home through an already leaky or damaged roof. The same applies to any neglected structure that results in a rainwater leak that otherwise would not have occurred.
Rain Damage That Happens Over Time
Rainwater damage from sudden events is what your homeowners insurance covers. However, rainwater damage occurring over extended periods is unlikely to gain claims approval.
If rainwater in your home is allowed to remain without remediation for days, weeks, or months, the damage grows worse and causes new problems. Your insurer will not want to pay for damages that could have been prevented. For example, a claim for damage because of rain slowly dripping through a leaky skylight likely faces denial.
Rain Damage Caused by Neglect
Rain damage sometimes happens because of homeowners neglect, such as leaving a window open during a storm. Unfortunately, many insurance companies deny these types of claims.
It’s comforting to know that rainwater damage is covered when it pours into your home due to a storm or other covered event. Though standard homeowners policies exclude flooding, you can obtain separate coverage for that eventuality. Provided you have adequate coverage and keep your home in good repair, you are well-protected against rainwater damage.