Most homeowners in the US have a dishwasher sitting in their kitchen because it’s essential for loading dishes, pans, utensils, and pens. The dishwasher can cause water damage to the tune of thousands of dollars in your household. Water damage can cause discoloring, corrosion of furnishings, and damage to the infrastructure of your kitchen or any other area where it’s stored. Water leaks from a dishwasher start from the bottom of the dishwasher and leak on to the tiles that make up the kitchen floor. Depending on the severity, this can mildly damage the wood trim or it can leak all the way to the electric wiring and the wallpaper. This is one of the main causes of insurance claims in the kitchen.
So, does homeowners insurance cover water damage from the dishwasher? Yes, water damage from dishwashers is covered under homeowners HO-3 and HO-5 policies. The cost to repair the kitchen damage is covered but the cost to repair the dishwasher is not covered. The insurance company may refuse to cover you for your claim if the dishwasher had slow leaks and the owner didn’t repair it on time. If the homeowner reports the damage when the cabinets have rotten, the claim can be denied as well.
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This guide will focus on all damage related to dishwasher water leaks in the home. The dishwasher is filled with gallons and gallons of water and this water can leak out and flood the kitchen. The way dishwasher leaks occur is when the hoses in the dishwasher rupture during a wash cycle. Most home insurance companies will not cover a replacement for the dishwasher but they will cover the damage that ensued. However, you will have to pay a deductible even if your claim is accepted. Hiring a plumber to fix the dishwasher can cost as little as $100-200, so make sure to fix any minor leaks to safeguard your home.
How to Prevent Water Damage from Dishwashers: Top Signs
The key to filing a successful claim for dishwasher water damage is to prove that you were negligent in the leak. This is why you have to patch up any minor leaks or damage to the dishwasher in advance. There are certain signs you can look for to make sure your dishwasher is functioning optimally. If you suspect there are leaks, you can carry out a small inspection. Look for the following signs and consult a plumber if any are present:
- Water Stains. Analyze the surrounding area of the dishwasher and make sure there aren’t any water stains. If the dishwasher is located near a wall, move it and check for water stains on the wallpaper or floors. If you see any discoloration or staining, this is a sign you have a leak.
- Bad Smells. If you notice any strange smell in the kitchen area near the dishwasher, this is a sign that you have a water leak. The water can provide a perfect ground for mold growth because mold grows on moist surfaces. Check whether there are mold formations near the dishwasher and patch up the leaks.
- Flooding. The definite sign you have a problem with a dishwasher is it causes a flood in your kitchen. Some floods can be minor and only flood a small part near the dishwasher while others can be serious and flood the entire kitchen floor.
Pro Tip: The claim outcome will depend entirely on the circumstances surrounding the water damage. In all cases, you must show negligence. This means you have to carry out the aforementioned inspections in advance and show that despite your efforts – you had no control over the outcome of the water damage.
If you file a claim with the insurance company that writes your homeowners’ policy, they will reimburse you as long as you show that the water damage happened by accident. That is, it was not caused by a lack of maintenance. The easiest way to prove that is to purchase a newer dishwasher from the last few years. New dishwashers will not have these kinds of problems. The adjuster will side with you in these situations.
Why Insurance Companies Reject Your Claim
There are reasons why the homeowners insurance company can outright deny your claim and make you pay for the repairs out of pocket. The main cause for rejection is a dated dishwasher. Old dishwashers are not in the best shape and they are prone to bursting.
Another cause for rejections is past leaks. If you had any leak in the past near the dishwasher, the insurance company will also reject your claim. The claims adjuster will carry out an investigation and find out whether the damage was caused by neglect or you couldn’t have prevented it.
Can You Get a Partial Settlement?
In some cases, the insurance company will pay partial compensation even if you were at fault and the water damage was caused by neglect. This type of settlement is only available if you still have a warranty on the dishwasher. In this case, they’ll replace the cost of your dishwasher because it’s covered under the “personal items” coverage you have on your homeowners’ policy. However, the insurer won’t pay for the damage in the kitchen.
In some cases, the damage might be caused by the piping powering the dishwasher. Have you hired any contractors in the kitchen recently? It’s possible that they’ve made a change in the piping in the area that caused the water damage. If this is the case, you can show your claims adjustor proof they had a part in it and the insurance company will also pay for the damage in the kitchen.
Preventive Measures for Water Damage
There are few preparations you can carry out in the kitchen to prevent water leaks from the dishwasher (aside from looking out for leakages). For one, you can replace the rubber hose on the dishwasher. The rubber hose is used to supply the water to the dishwasher and if you use it for more than a year, it tends to deteriorate. You can replace the hose with a new metal/silver hose that you can find at the hardware store. The average rubber hose costs only $20-30 and you can install it by yourself at home. If the pipe bursts, you can minimize the damage by shutting off the water supply under the sink.