Water damage claim tips and statistics

Water damage is one of the leading causes of property loss, with claims averaging $11,098.

Kara McGinleyPat Howard 1600

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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.

&Pat Howard

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

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Water damage or freezing was the second most frequent home insurance claim made from 2016 to 2020, according to the Insurance Information Institute. [1] Water damage related claims have seen an uptick over the years due to aging homes with plumbing issues and an increase in coastal flooding. [2] [3]

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. 

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Water damage claims statistics

  • 1 in 60 insured homes filed a water damage claim from 2016 to 2020 [4]

  • Nearly 20% of home insurance claims were attributed to water damage and freezing in 2020 [5]

  • $11,650 was the average water damage claim payout from 2016 to 2020 [6]

  • 43% of people mistakenly think home insurance covers flood damage [7]

  • 1.61% of insured homes experienced water damage from 2016 to 2020 [8]

  • 53% of non-weather water damage claims are related to plumbing issues [9]

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Water damage claim tips

In order to get home insurance to pay for a water damage claim, it will need to have been caused by a covered peril, or loss. Below are the different types of water damage that home insurance may cover.

  • Burst, broken, or leaking pipe or plumbing

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

  • Frozen pipes or plumbing

  • Sudden and accidental water damage, like if your washing machine leaks

Here are some steps you should consider taking when filing a water damage claim:

  • Find the source and make temporary repairs to prevent further damage.

  • Take photos or videos to present evidence to your insurance company.

  • Contact your insurance company and submit your proof of the water damage loss.

  • Wait for the claims adjuster to assess the damage and reach a claim settlement.

  • Consider hiring your own licensed contractor for a second opinion.

→ Read our step-by-step guide to filing a water damage claim

Types of water damage not covered by home insurance

Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover every type of water damage. Here are a few examples when your home insurance won’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

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References

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Policygenius uses external sources, including government data, industry studies, and reputable news organizations to supplement proprietary marketplace data and internal expertise. Learn more about how we use and vet external sources as part of our

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  1. Insurance Information Institute

    . "

    Facts + Statistics: Homeowners and renters insurance

    ." Accessed November 12, 2021.

  2. Insurance Business Magazine

    . "

    Study: Water damage claims surging

    ." Accessed November 12, 2021.

  3. The New York Times

    . "

    New Data Shows an ‘Extraordinary’ Rise in U.S. Coastal Flooding

    ." Accessed November 12, 2021.

  4. Insurance Journal

    . "

    Top Homeowners Insurance Claims

    ." Accessed August 30, 2021.

Authors

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.

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Pat Howard

Managing Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

gray twitter icon linkgray linkedin icon link

Pat Howard is a managing editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where he specializes in homeowners insurance. His work and expertise has been featured in MarketWatch, Real Simple, Fox Business, VentureBeat, This Old House, Investopedia, Fatherly, Lifehacker, Better Homes & Garden, Property Casualty 360, and elsewhere.

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