Q

Does home insurance cover wood rot?

A

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.

Wood rot is typically not covered by homeowners insurance unless it is caused by a covered in peril 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 will likely cover 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 covers 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 you file a claim, you first have to pay a deductible. If the cost of wood repair is less than your policy deductible, then you won’t be able to file a claim

When does home insurance cover wood rot?

Homeowners insurance may pay to replace rotted wood if the rot was caused by a covered peril. For example, if your water heater ruptured and the water damage resulted in wood rot beneath your floors or somewhere else out of sight, homeowners insurance might cover the loss. However, homeowners insurance typically doesn’t cover mold or fungal growth, which is what can cause wood rot. For example, say your wooden window frame eventually molds and rots because of a gradual leak, you wouldn’t be covered.

Keep in mind that 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, it’d be smarter to pay out of pocket to repair or replace the rotted wood.

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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 wear and tear, damage that occurs gradually over time, or maintenance issues. It also only covers mold or fungus growth under specific conditions. That means 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.

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is an insurance editor at Policygenius, specializing in home, auto and renters insurance. She previously worked as a freelance writer and copywriter, and has been writing about insurance since 2019. Kara is an expert at making complicated topics like property insurance simple to understand. Her work can be found in Teen Vogue, The Culture Crush, and more.

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