2016/09/11

Does Regular Home Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Home Insurance For Water Damage

Home insurance can be a financial blessing when faced with a natural disaster. However, a basic home insurance policy is not likely to cover you when faced with water damage in your basement. How can you protect yourself and make sure you have the right insurance coverage for water damage in your basement?

In the case that your basement floods and there is substantial water damage, or your sump pump fails after a lightning strike, the reality is that a basic homeowners insurance policy may not have you covered. In fact, because homeowners insurance is not regulated like the auto insurance industry, each policy is different and may not protect you fully in the event of a flood or leak in your basement.

What You Need To Know About Home Insurance and Water Damage

Leaky Basements

Leaky Basement Foundation Cracks

If your basement is leaking and there is a crack in your foundation or window well, this will likely not be covered under a basic home insurance policy. In most cases, this will be considered a maintenance issue hence, the homeowner’s responsibility to take care of.

To control and damage caused by leaks, regularly check your basement walls for cracks and make sure there the caulking around windows and doors is in good shape.

It’s also a good idea to check your downspouts and gutters to make sure they are clear and moving the water away from your home.

Flood Damage

If there is a large storm with massive amounts of rain, there may be too much water for the municipal system to handle and it comes up through the drain and floods your basement. In this situation, it is necessary to have sewer back-up coverage which is normally above and beyond the basic insurance coverage.  And there is also likely a limited amount of coverage.

So, if your newly renovated basement complete with new furniture and electronics cost you $20,000, your policy for sewer back-up may only cover up to $10,000. Make sure you know what your insurance policy covers and what the limits are.

Sump Pump Failure

Installed Sump Pump

In most cases, a sump pump fails because of a loss of power. There are several reasons you could lose power. There could be a storm causing a local power outage, a tripped circuit breaker or a blown fuse; a damaged power feed line or even something as simple as an unplugged pump.

Another common reason for sump pump failure is a mechanical problem, such as a faulty part or an aging pump. The pump may be burned out or jammed with mud or a stone. It could have a broken impeller, drive shaft or the float switch could be stuck or broken. A backup pump isn’t going to protect you from mechanical failure so it is wise to purchase a separate alarm that will alert you to a system failure in addition to your backup pump.

Most mechanical problems with the sump pump are float related. If the pump does not start, the float may be hanging on something in the tank. A simple repositioning of the pump should solve the problem. If this fails, the float may need replacement. If the pump fails to shut off when the water level drops to the bottom of the sump tank, this indicates you need a new float.

Pump overload usually occurs when an excess of water flows into the sump pump. When this happens the pump is unable to handle all of the incoming water and it malfunctions. Also, a pump will overload if foreign matter becomes trapped, partially clogging the pump. This will cause the motor to start to run slower and eventually the sump pump will stop working.

If your basement relies on a sump pump, you need a backup sump pump! For a small one-time investment, you get basement flood protection and peace of mind. The backup sump pump is an inexpensive form of flood insurance. To be absolutely certain that you are covered in the event that your sump pump fails and your basement is flooded, you will need additional Sump Pump Failure insurance coverage. 

Related: 3 Rules To Follow When Installing A Sump Pump

The main takeaway here is that homeowners insurance is there to protect you when disaster strikes, but does not absolve you of your responsibilities as a homeowner. Make sure you know what’s covered in the event of a flood and what’s not. The extra $$ you pay for flood insurance could save you thousands if you find yourself under water.

Related: What To Do When Your Basement Floods: 5 Crucial Steps


RCC Waterproofing and Foundation Repairs has been servicing Ontario customers for 96 years. Their repairs have outlived lifetime warranties by at least two times. The company provides professionally trained sales representatives to view, assess and quote on repairs. The installers are employees of RCC and most have long term working relationships. RCC carries full insurance including WSIB coverage and HST registration.

RCC Waterproofing offers:
  • A Lifetime Waterproofing Guarantee!
  • 24-hour emergency services for Ontario residences
  • Fully trained technical sales representatives to view, assess and quote the repair
  • 96 years of third-generation family success both in products and services and superb warranty
  • Full-service options, providing either exterior or interior repairs depending on issues, location, and structure
  • A successful record of servicing over 75,000 customers

To learn more, contact RCC Waterproofing at 416-747-1920 or Toll-Free 1-888-766-2071 or Contact RCC for a Free Inspection