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Water damage and freezing are leading causes of homeowners insurance losses. In 2019, property damage, which includes water damage and freezing, accounted for 97% of all losses with water damage and freezing comprising 29% of all losses, according to the Insurance Information Institute (III).The most recent III data available also shows that the average claim for water damage and freezing is around $11,000. Water damage can happen through a leaky roof or faulty appliances such as a water heater, dishwasher or a leaking washing machine. Typically, homeowners insurance policies cover water damage that occurs inside the home but doesn’t cover water damage from outside the home.

Key Takeaways

  • Homeowners insurance typically covers unforeseen water damage, such as accidental water damage from a leaking washing machine as long as it’s not due to negligence.
  • The average claim for water damage is $11,000.
  • Proactive maintenance is the best way to ensure that your appliances, such as a washing machine and dishwasher, don’t leak.
  • Homeowners insurance does not cover flooding, so if you live in an area prone to flooding, make sure to buy a flood insurance policy in addition to homeowners coverage.

Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from a washing machine?

Water damage is one of the most common reasons for home insurance claims, but insurers don’t treat water damage as a homogenous peril. A homeowners insurance policy will cover water damage when it happens suddenly and accidentally due to a covered peril, but won’t cover damage that occurs over time as that’s considered to be a maintenance issue.

Homeowners insurance typically covers unforeseen water damage, such as accidental water damage from a leaking washing machine as long as it’s not due to negligence. Generally, insurance companies can deny claims if they determine the problem stemmed from owners failing to do necessary upkeep to prevent damage from happening.

Insurance claim tips in the case of water damage

If you notice water pooling around your washing machine or if the connection hose is lose or wet, address the issue immediately. Contact your insurance company immediately to file a claim. Your insurer may send a water remediation team out to dry out the house and likely will conduct an investigation to determine how the accident happened.

Here are a few tips for filing water damage claims with your insurance company:

  1. First, take photos of the damage and water surrounding the faulty appliance to document the water leak.
  2. Call your insurance company to file a homeowners claim for water damage and ask them what happens next. Make sure to consult your policy as well to see what’s covered – especially if there’s any sort of hassle or questioning with your insurer.
  3. Stop the leak if possible and clean up the water so it doesn’t damage the surrounding area.
  4. Contact an assessor to get an estimate of the damage.
  5. Get the OK from your insurance company to repair the damage to your home caused by the water leak.

Remember, your insurance payout will be less the deductible you chose when you bought the policy. So, if your insurer says it will pay $4,000 to cover the water damage from a leaking washing machine and your deductible was $1,000, your payout will be $3,000. Keep this in mind when working with a water remediation expert so you don’t overextend yourself on repairs.

What causes a washing machine to leak?

Water leaking from a washing machine can be caused by several things: A leaky or malfunctioning water connection hose, the hose breaking or coming loose or the door seal/flange can get damaged, allowing water to leak from the front or sides of the machine. Finally, a disconnected or broken drain pump can send water flowing from the washing machine.

How to prevent your washing machine from leaking

Proactive maintenance is the best way to ensure that your appliances, such as a washing machine and dishwasher, don’t leak. Make it a regular habit to check the areas and fittings around these appliances to make sure they’re dry and secure, respectively.

  • Properly maintain your appliances: Inspect all water-based appliances – your washing machine, dishwasher, refrigerator and water heater – every month to ensure that water connections are secure and dry.
  • Check hoses to make sure they’re clear, operating freely and undamaged.
  • Ensure that all water supply lines are clean and free from debris.
  • Keep an eye out for water around all appliances – if you see even a small leak, something’s amiss and it needs to be handled immediately.

Frequently asked questions

Do I have to pay a deductible when my home insurance covers water damage?

Yes. Every claim you file with your homeowners insurance company will deduct your deductible from the payout amount due to you.

Will insurance pay for a new appliance after a water damage event?

No; your policy will cover the damage to your home but you’ll be on the hook for appliance repair or replacement.

Does homeowners insurance cover plumbing?

Not necessarily. The water damage must originate in the home for it to be covered by your homeowners insurance policy, so consider purchasing an additional provision that includes sewer backup insurance.

Does homeowners insurance cover the water heater?

Your policy will cover any damage caused by a sudden and accidental leak from the water heater, but the replacement of appliances is not covered by most homeowners insurance policies.

Does home insurance cover frozen pipes?

As long as you weren’t negligent by turning off the heat in your house during the winter, your insurer likely will cover the damage caused by frozen pipes that burst.

Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from broken or leaking pipes?

As long as the pipes have been maintained, homeowners insurance will cover the water damage caused by sudden and accidental leaking or broken pipes.

Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from the dishwasher?

A: Similar to the washing machine, a homeowners insurance policy will cover water damage due to appliance malfunctions, but will not pay to replace the dishwasher itself.

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Laura Longero
Executive Editor

 
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Laura Longero is a content strategist and communications leader with more than 15 years of experience in content development in journalism, marketing and communications for start-ups to global companies. She started her career as a reporter and editor and honed her journalistic skills at the USA Today Network, working in several roles, as well as managing content and writing at MoneyGeek and XYZ Media.

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