Does renters insurance cover water damage?

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Written by
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Reviewed by
Farmers CSR for 4 Years
UPDATED: 2022-01-17T21:31:52.299Z
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What you should know:

  • Renters insurance will protect your personal belongings when they’re in your home, but also when you take them around town with you
  • Personal property, liability, additional living expenses, and medical payments come with a basic insurance policy
  • You aren’t covered for water damage caused by negligence, floods, sewer backup, sump pump failure

Waking up to find a water leak or broken pipe damaging your belongings is a living nightmare. Accidents like this can ruin everything from your computer to your couch. While your landlord's insurance policy will cover the cost of building repairs, you’re solely responsible for your own belongings.

This explains why, when you first moved in, your landlord may have required you to show proof of renters insurance. But, does renters insurance cover water damage? The good news is that it does. However, even the best renters insurance has exclusions.

Curious to know more about which types of water damage your renters insurance will cover? This guide has everything you need to know, as well as the best way to find cheap quotes.

Before you find out how renters insurance can protect you from water damage, find out how much it will cost. Enter your ZIP code above for free renters insurance quotes from top companies.

Will renters insurance cover water damage?

Water damage emergencies affect about 14,000 Americans every day. It’s a common yet unfortunate scenario that can happen to anyone. Fortunately, renters insurance will cover you in case of water damage, but only for certain types, such as the following:

  • Burst pipes
  • Ceiling leaks
  • Toilet flooding
  • Washing machine overflow
  • Rain
  • Water leaks
  • Weight and pressure damage from frozen water

You’re also covered in case any water-related accidents damage someone else’s property. So, if you leave your bathtub running and that water causes a leak in your neighbor’s home, you’ll be covered for any damages.

Water Damage That Isn’t Covered by Renters Insurance

While you’re protected in case of accidental water or stream overflows, you aren’t covered from water damage caused by:

  • Negligence
  • Floods
  • Sewer backup
  • Sump pump failure

While renters insurance will protect you if a storm damages your property, it will not protect you if you were negligent and left a window open during a storm. In the case of flood damage, you’ll need separate insurance to cover you.

What to Do After a Water Damage Disaster

After a water damage disaster, you may feel unsure of what to do next or even how to file a renters insurance claim. With so much to consider, it helps to have an idea of what the process will look like.

Here’s what you’d need to do:

  1. Report any property damage to your landlord.
  2. Call your insurance agent to report the claim and to assess what your policy covers. You should also determine if you’ll need any emergency repairs.
  3. Document the damages either on camera or in writing before you start repairing anything.

It’s a good idea to have a home inventory or documentation of what your home looked like before the accident. Receipts and registrations can also be useful to help move the process along, but insurers understand if you don’t have those records anymore.

Will the landlord cover you in the event of water damage?

Many first-time renters may be under the assumption that their landlord’s insurance policy will cover their personal belongings in case of an accident. It’s a widely held belief, but unfortunately, it’s false. Landlord insurance vs. renters insurance are very different.

Landlords have insurance that covers only the building. So, if a broken pipe damages your belongings, the landlord is only responsible for fixing the broken pipe and any damage to the walls or floor. It’s up to you to replace any of your damaged property.

Other types of water damage, such as mold on the walls due to poor building maintenance, will also be the responsibility of your landlord.

While the specifics of a landlord’s insurance policy will vary, they might cover any flood-related water damage. However, that doesn't include personal property, like your couch. It will only cover things that are attached to the building. So, if your carpet is damaged from a flood, your landlord's coverage should pay for it.

Water Damage Prevention

Water damage can be difficult to prevent. But, you can take steps to help avoid it as much as possible. These include:

Avoid leaving your home when the washing machine or dishwasher is running.

Report leaks to your landlord as soon as you notice them to keep them from becoming a bigger problem.

Store any off-season items in waterproof bins.

Invest in water detection devices that can monitor your home’s moisture levels.

As a general rule, maintaining your home and paying attention to any potential signs of water damage can be an effective way to prevent damage.

Other Types of Damage that Renters Insurance Covers While you won’t be covered if your building were to flood, you and your things are covered when it comes to:

  • Fire
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Falling objects
  • Windstorms or hail
  • The weight of snow and ice
  • Smoke damage
  • Lightning
  • Riots or civil commotions

As long as the damage doesn’t extend over your coverage limit, you’ll receive enough money to cover the replacement cost to whatever is lost because of the above events. Of course, you will need to pay money towards this personal property coverage before your insurance company can pay you for any needed repairs or replacements.

What to Know About Renters Insurance and Water Damage

If you don't already have it, you may be wondering, what even is renters insurance? Basically, it’s insurance designed for those who are renting their homes. It can protect your personal property and even cover medical payments.

Here are the four many types of insurance coverage that come with a basic policy:

Personal Property – In the case of an accident, fire, oranother disasterr (such as certain types of water damage), renters insurance covers everything from your electronics to your clothing.

Liability Insurance - Liability coverage will protect you in case you’re responsible for injuring someone or damaging their property while they’re in your home. It will cover the cost of any repairs or medical expenses.

Additional Living Expenses – If an accident happens in your home and you have to live elsewhere temporarily while repairs are done, this will cover the costs. It can pay for hotel rooms, meals, and other expenses due to the inconvenience.

Medical Payments – Unlike liability, this will cover the medical expenses for anyone who’s injured in your home regardless of whether you’re responsible for the injury.

You can add on additional coverage to a renters policy as well with most companies. Options will vary, and so will how much renters insurance you need.

How does personal property coverage work with renters insurance?

Renters insurance will protect your personal belongings when they’re in your home, but also when you take them around town with you. Whether your purse is stolen in your home or while you’re walking down the street, you’re covered.

What belongings does renters insurance cover?

Renters insurance will cover most of the items you have in your home. This includes:

  • Electronics, such as televisions, computers, phones, and other appliances
  • Clothing, jewelry, and other valuables
  • Art and decorations
  • Furniture and home appliances

Certain types of property may require scheduled personal property coverage. This may be the case for more expensive or valuable belongings, such as your jewelry collection or coin collection. Because of limited coverage, if anything were to happen to your more valuable belongings, you might not receive enough under standard renters insurance to cover it.

Scheduled Personal Property Coverage

When you have valuable and expensive possessions, such as jewelry or vintage items, you want to make sure that they’re covered in case of an accident. But, a standard renters insurance policy may not be enough.

Scheduled personal property coverage is a supplemental policy that offers greater coverage for your collectibles. Some advantages of this policy are:

You’re fully protected even if you accidentally lose or damage the item (for instance, if you were to drop a wedding ring down the drain).

If anything happens to the item, you’ll receive the full cost of the item, rather than a limited, predetermined amount.

The Cost of Renters Insurance

The average cost of renters insurance per year is around $179, which is cheaper than the average cost for homeowners insurance. That’s primarily because you’re only buying coverage for your belongings instead of the house.

However, the cost of your renters insurance does depend on a number of factors, such as your:

Coverage – A standard renters insurance policy may include personal property and liability coverage, as well as others. But, you can also get additional coverage, such as scheduled personal property coverage, which offers more protection but does increase the amount you’ll have to pay each month.

Claims History – If you’ve made several claims within a short time frame, you may be at risk of having to pay a higher premium. Essentially, this type of history will cause your insurance company to believe that you’re more likely to make future claims. So, they may end up charging you more to protect themselves.

Deductible – Your deductible amount has an effect on your premium. It's the amount you pay upfront before your insurer pays for the rest of your claim. A lower deductible means a higher premium and vice versa.

Renters Insurance and Water Damage: The Bottom Line

Renters insurance protects your personal property in case of certain types of water damage, such as from a broken pipe, as well as in situations where you may be at fault for damaging someone else’s property.

Are you interested in learning ways to save on renters insurance while still getting quality insurance coverage? Insurers may offer you a lower rate if you install security devices, such as a smoke detector, or if you go a certain number of years without making a claim. However, the best way to save is to shop around.

Our comparison tool allows you to find and compare insurance quotes online for free. This way, you know you’re getting the best policy at the best price. Enter your ZIP code for renters insurance quotes to cover water damage today.


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