Does homeowners insurance cover rotting wood?

Most causes of wood rot are not covered by homeowners insurance. If the cause of wood rot is accidental water damage, your insurer may cover the loss.

Kara McGinley

By

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

Updated|2 min read

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Wood rot is typically not covered by homeowners insurance unless it is caused by a covered in peril in your policy.

Homeowners insurance provides coverage against sudden and accidental water damage, so if a pipe bursts and causes wood rot to your floor or ceiling joists, your insurer may cover the cost of repairs. But any growth of fungus or wet rot that happens over time typically won’t be covered.

If the damage is covered, whether or not you should file a claim will depend on the extent of the damage and repair costs.

Key takeaways

  • Most causes of wood rot are excluded from homeowners insurance coverage.

  • Homeowners insurance may cover wood rot if the damage is caused by a covered peril, like sudden and accidental water damage from a burst pipe.

  • If the wood rots over time or because of a lack of upkeep, homeowners insurance won’t cover repairs.

When does home insurance cover wood rot?

Homeowners insurance may pay to replace rotted wood if the rot was caused by a covered peril

Here’s an example.

Say your water heater ruptures and the water damage results in wood rot beneath your floors or somewhere else out of sight, homeowners insurance might cover the loss. 

Keep in mind that homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover mold or fungal growth, which is what can cause wood rot. So if your wooden window frame eventually molds and rots because of a gradual leak, you wouldn’t be covered.

When you file a claim you have to pay a deductible, which is the amount of money you first have to pay your insurance company before they kick in the rest. If your deductible is more expensive than the cost of repairs then you won’t be able to file a claim.

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Does homeowners insurance cover dry rot?

Like mold and other types of fungus, dry rot typically isn’t covered by homeowners insurance. Dry rot generally occurs because of humidity and poor ventilation, which are seen as preventable risks by your homeowners insurance company.

Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover maintenance issues, and since dry rot is basically wood decay, it likely wouldn’t be covered by homeowners insurance.

When does home insurance not cover rotted wood?

Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover preventable damage, which is why wood rot is rarely covered. Homeowners insurance never covers the following: 

  • Wear and tear

  • Damage that occurs gradually over time

  • Maintenance issues 

Home insurance only covers mold or fungus growth under specific conditions. If a leaking pipe or increase in humidity slowly causes wood rot, it wouldn’t be covered. Or if your window seals aren’t maintained properly and rain gets in and rots your floors, you also wouldn’t be covered. Homeowners insurance also does not cover pest infestations, so if termites destroy your wood furniture or cause wood rot in your cabinets, you wouldn’t be covered.

Homeowners insurance excludes coverage for flood damage as well. If you live in an area that’s high risk for flood damage, you should consider purchasing a flood insurance policy.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Kara McGinley is a senior editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

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