Water damage statistics

Water damage is a common headache for homeowners and one of the leading causes of property loss. Here’s a breakdown of water damage and property loss claims in the U.S.

Kara McGinley

By

Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is an insurance editor at Policygenius, specializing in home, auto, and renters insurance. She's been writing about insurance since 2019, and her work and insights have been referenced in Kiplinger and WRAL.com.

Published August 30, 2021|1 min read

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As of 2019, "water damage and freezing" is the second most common category of home insurance claim, according to the Insurance Services Office (ISO). Water damage related claims have seen an uptick over the years, for several reasons, like aging homes with plumbing issues [1] and an increase in coastal flooding [2] .

Homeowners insurance usually covers water damage from broken or frozen pipes, but won’t cover damage caused by flooding. Here’s a rundown of home insurance water damage statistics and considerations.

Water damage claims by the numbers

1 in 50: Estimated amount of insured homes that claimed a water damage or freezing loss each year from 2015 to 2019 [3]

29.4%: Percentage of total losses attributed to water damage and freezing in 2019 [4]  

$11,098: The average cost of a water damage or freezing claim from 2015 to 2019 [5]

43%: Percentage of people who incorrectly believe home insurance covers flood damage

1.9%: Percentage of insured homes that experienced a water damage loss from 2015 to 2019 [6]

53%: Percentage of non-weather water damage claims related to plumbing issues [7]

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Types of water damage covered by home insurance

Below are instances of water damage that are covered by homeowners insurance:

  • Burst, broken, or leaking pipe or plumbing

  • Weather-related damage, like rain, snow or ice

  • Frozen pipes or plumbing

  • Types of sudden and accidental water damage, like if your washing machine leaks

Types of water damage not covered by home insurance

Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover every type of water damage. Below are examples of when home insurance wouldn’t cover a water damage loss. 

  • Flood damage

  • Water damage from an earthquake or earth movement

  • Sump pump backup

  • Sewage or drain backup

  • Surface water

  • Water damage that occurs over time, like if a pipe was leaking for months

  • Maintenance issues