Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from rain?

Homeowners insurance generally covers water damage from rain if it enters your home due to a covered peril, like a windstorm. But keep in mind a standard policy doesn’t cover flooding.

Stephanie Nieves author photoKara McGinley

By

Stephanie Nieves

Stephanie Nieves

Editor & Home and Auto Insurance Expert

Stephanie Nieves is a former editor and insurance expert at Policygenius, where she covered home and auto insurance. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Money, HerMoney, PayScale, and The Muse.

&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.

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If rain damages your home or belongings, whether or not you’re covered by your homeowners insurance policy depends on how the rain enters your home and the kind of damage it causes. A standard policy generally covers water damage from rain if an extreme weather condition causes the rain to enter your home, like if an ice dam causes part of your roof to collapse and rain gets in. But rainwater that results in a flood would not be covered, nor would rain that gets in through a pre-existing hole in your home. 

Key takeaways

  • A standard policy typically covers water damage from rain if it enters your home because of damage from another covered peril, like during a windstorm.

  • Any damage from rain that is sudden and accidental may be covered, like if a tree breaks a window and water gets in.

  • Insurers won’t cover gradual damage, like rain leaking in through a hole in your roof over time.

  • If your home floods because of heavy rain, the damage wouldn’t be covered. You'll need a separate flood insurance policy to pay for any damage from flooding.

What types of rain damage does homeowners insurance cover?

Homeowners insurance generally only covers water damage from rain if it entered your house because of a covered peril.

Wind-driven rain

Damage from wind-driven rain that travels into your home through high winds during a storm or tornado is typically covered by home insurance. But, again, if your home just floods due to a night of heavy rain, you would not be covered by your standard homeowners insurance policy.

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Weight of rain, snow, and ice dams

Homeowners insurance covers damage to your home and personal property from the weight of rain, snow, and ice. If an ice dam forms on your roof and causes it to collapse suddenly, leading to rain and ice entering your home, you'd be covered for both the damage to your roof and for the damage from the rain. The same goes for your home, belongings, and other covered structures on your property if they’re damaged by the weight of rain, snow, or ice.

Mold

Rain that enters the home can lead to mold, and depending on how the rain got in, your homeowners insurance might cover removing the mold

For example, say a tree branch cracks your window and rain comes into your home, leading to mold growing inside your drywall. Your homeowners insurance will most likely cover the damage because the initial damage was sudden, and caused by a covered peril

But if you’ve neglected to maintain your leaky roof and rain gets into your top floor causing your ceilings to grow mold, your insurance likely won’t cover you since the water damage was gradual and the result of poor maintenance.

Vandalism

Vandalism is covered by most standard home insurance policies, including if your home is broken into while you're away and rain comes in through the broken door and damages your belongings. 

However, an act of vandalism would not be covered if your home has been vacant for 60 days or more, unless you’ve added a vacant home endorsement to your policy.

What types of rain damage are not covered?

Here are a few circumstances when rainwater damage would not be covered by your home insurance policy.

Rain that causes a flood or storm surge

A standard home insurance policy won’t cover flooding. If a night of heavy rain causes your basement to flood, the water damage would not be covered. 

To protect your home against floods and storm surges, you should purchase a separate flood insurance policy, which you can usually buy through the same company that insures your home.

Rain that enters through a corroded structure

If rainwater enters your home through an already leaky or damaged roof, your insurer won’t cover the repairs

Any time a poorly maintained structure causes rainwater to damage your home, your homeowners insurance won’t cover associated losses because those structures must be in good condition prior to the event to be eligible for coverage.

Rain damage that happens over time

Water damage from rain that develops over time is neither sudden or accidental, so it wouldn’t be covered

When rainwater in your home is left unaddressed for weeks or months, the damage has a chance to get worse and new problems can develop. If rain slowly drips in through a leaky skylight and you try to file a claim for damage that developed over weeks or months, your insurer will likely hold you responsible for the damage.

Rain damage caused by neglect

If the rain damage is your fault, say you left a window open, or was caused by an issue you knew about and failed to repair, your homeowners insurance wouldn’t cover you. 

In general, insurance companies won’t cover damage caused by neglect. When rain enters your home through a poorly maintained structure, the rain can cause all sorts of water damage to your home. But the neglect is the initial cause for the rain entering and therefore isn’t covered.

Frequently asked questions

Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from a leaking roof?

It depends on why the roof is leaking. If it’s leaking because it’s old or from general wear and tear, any resulting water damage would not be covered. But if a wind storm rips part of your roof off and rain gets in, that will most likely be covered.

Does homeowners insurance cover a basement flooding from rain?

Your homeowners insurance might cover water damage in your basement if it was caused by something like a burst pipe, but generally, homeowners insurance does not cover flooding. That means if your basement floods during a hurricane, you’ll need a separate flood insurance policy to cover the flood damage.

Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from sump pump failure?

No, homeowners insurance excludes coverage for sump pump or water backups. But you can add water backup coverage to your policy for an additional fee to protect yourself from the risk of water damage from sump pump backups. Keep in mind that this doesn’t cover the pump itself, just the damage it causes if it overflows.

Authors

Editor & Home and Auto Insurance Expert

Stephanie Nieves

Editor & Home and Auto Insurance Expert

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Stephanie Nieves is a former editor and insurance expert at Policygenius, where she covered home and auto insurance. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Money, HerMoney, PayScale, and The Muse.

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

gray linkedin icon link

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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