Yes, landlord insurance does cover water damage, with some caveats. According to the Insurance Information Institute, water damage is one of the most common and expensive claims that cost billions for homeowners and landlords every year.
The best way to protect yourself from this type of damage is to make sure you have the proper insurance coverage for your rental property. That way, when a winter freeze strikes and damages your property, you can make an insurance claim to recoup your losses.
Determining what is and isn’t a covered loss can be challenging for many property owners. Landlord insurance provides excellent coverage for a range of items, such as accidental damage from a fire to vandalism of the property.
In the case of burst pipes on your rental property, you want to make sure that you won’t need to pay for the replacement cost of the property out of pocket. The good news is that your landlord insurance policy will generally cover water damage. However, there are exceptions to what is covered.
What Types of Damage are Covered by my Rental Property Insurance?
As a general rule of thumb, water damage is covered under your landlord insurance policy as long as the damage is sudden and accidental. Damage from a burst pipe during a freeze? You will most likely be covered and should make a claim. Did a nasty storm damage your roof? Also covered!
In the event of a covered water damage event, the amount of coverage you will receive will depend on your insurance policy.
The items covered under this type of event will usually include the property damage, any of your personal belongings used to maintain the damaged rental, and the loss of rental income for the period that your building could not be used.
Karren from Clearsurance provides a good example, “The damages covered are for those that are considered sudden and accidental. For example, if the bathroom floor is damaged after a bathtub overflows, landlord insurance can help cover the cost of repairs.”
Landlord insurance coverage does not include your tenant’s personal property, so we recommend making sure your tenant has a renters insurance policy of their own. Your tenants having their own renters insurance also has the added benefit of lowering your own personal liability and can lead to lower insurance premiums in the long run.
What Types of Water Damage Will not be Covered by my Landlord Insurance?
Much like homeowners insurance policies, most landlord insurance policies will not include flood damage or other natural disasters such as earthquake damage as a covered loss.
Flood is traditionally understood as outside water coming in. Water damage occurring over time (i.e. not sudden) should not becovered. And water that backs up from an outside source like sewage is not covered.Evan W. Walker | Owner of The Law Office of Evan W. Walker
To make sure you’re protected against the loss of rental income and damages to your rental property, you’ll need to purchase separate flood insurance in the case of a flood. Most insurance companies will be able to help you determine the amount of insurance coverage you may need for your property in the event of a flood.
Your landlord insurance will not cover water damage that occurred over a longer period of time due to negligence, such as water damage caused by a leaky washing machine.
If your tenant owns the washing machine, you may be reimbursed for any replacement costs through their renter’s insurance or use their security deposit. If the water damage occurred because of natural wear and tear over time, it will not be eligible for an insurance claim. (Also see Functional Replacement Costs)
Generally, water damage is covered by the landlord’s insurance unless it is caused for negligence. Any sudden and accidental events like a burst pipe are covered by the policy. However, if there is a leakage for many months and not repaired, it will not be covered. The insurer may mark it as an act of negligence.Fred Hoffman | Co-Founder of Seniors Life Insurance Finder
What if my Tenant is Injured due to Water on my Property?
Let’s say your tenant slips and injures themselves due to ice on your rental property’s staircase for informational purposes. Afterward, they sue you for the medical fees and other damages. Your landlord liability insurance may cover the legal fees that are incurred from this event, as well as any medical fees due to their bodily injury also may be covered, depending on your policy.
The liability coverage in your landlord insurance policy is there to make sure that you are covered for events that involve these legal and medical fees.
Diana Rodriguez-Zaba, the president of Service Master Restoration by Zaba, states that landlords are responsible for the structure only and not the tenant’s personal property or tenant negligence. Landlords are responsible for:
– Sewage back-ups
– Burst pipes
– Fires caused by faulty electrical issues.
– Roof leaks
– Ice dam damage
Bottom line: Make sure that the property coverage you have protects against the various types of common damages for property owners. If you have any questions about what may or may not be covered under a standard landlord insurance policy, feel free to talk to one of our insurance agents at +1 (888) 966-1611.