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Does home insurance cover water damage?

For homeowners, water damage is a constant concern. Insurance is a must for addressing perils that befall your property, but in some cases, water damage will not be covered. Because this area can be a bit complex, The Balance offers the following information on water damage and what is and isn't usually covered by insurance companies. 

Water damage caused by a broken pipe, sewer back up, or storm is usually covered by home insurance policies. Water damage caused by flooding may not be covered under home insurance, but homeowners can implement a separate home insurance policy to afford protection. Gradual water damage is not typically covered, however. This occurs when a problem in the home is ongoing and left unaddressed. As a result, the damage will occur slowly over time until a serious issue arises. 

For example, if there is a problem with your roof and it isn't repaired, water may seep in through the cracks and damage your attic or other areas. Water can also seep in through cracks in the foundation or via cracks in your plumbing system. Insurance policies are designed to address damage caused by sudden events. This is why damage that has happened on a gradual basis is not usually covered by most conventional home insurance policies. 

If you file a claim and it's denied based on its classification as gradual damage, it's important to take certain steps. Be sure to ask for a clarification of the denial in writing so you understand the specific reason. You should also seek clarification on who was responsible for denying a claim. In some cases, a claim may be denied by an insurance agent or at the behest of an insurance adjuster. Lastly, you can also request that the claim is looked at again for a second review. 

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