Is Water Damage Covered by Insurance in South Dakota?

Find out when water damage is covered by home insurance and how to prevent this type of disaster in the first place.
High pressure pipe leaking. Is water damage covered by insurance in South Dakota?

Water damage is a major concern for homeowners in South Dakota, considering about one in 50 insured homes will file a claim for water damage or freezing every year.  Not only is it important to try to prevent water damage, but to know if you'll be covered, if and when it does happen.

A South Dakota independent insurance agent can help you get set up with the right homeowners insurance to protect against water damage. But first, here's a breakdown of the types of water damage that are covered by home insurance, when they are covered, and also how to prevent this disaster.

How Is Water Damage Covered by Home Insurance?

The coverage provided by home insurance protects you against water damage in several ways:

  • Dwelling coverage: Home insurance reimburses you for damage to your home's structure or dwelling caused by many types of water damage.
  • Contents coverage: Home insurance also reimburses you for damage to your personal property like clothing or furniture if it's hit by certain types of water damage.
  • Additional living expenses: If your home gets damaged so badly that you need to stay somewhere else while waiting for repairs, this coverage can reimburse for things like hotel stays, takeout meals, etc.

Your South Dakota independent insurance agent can further explain all the ways in which your home insurance can protect you against water damage.

How Does Water Damage Happen?

There are endless ways that water can enter your home and cause damage, but some of the most commonly reported are:

  1. Leaky plumbing: The overall top cause of water damage to homes stems from plumbing that's leaking.
  2. Clogged gutters: When gutters are clogged, it can cause a buildup of water that backs up and seeps into the home, causing damage.
  3. Old appliances: Appliances that haven't been updated or maintained are another top offender for water damage, such as washing machines with old hoses.
  4. Clogged toilets: When toilets back up and overflow, the water must go somewhere, and it often causes damage when it does.
  5. Busted pipes: Temperature fluctuations are a major cause of busted pipes within the home, easily leading to water damage.

Being familiar with the most common causes of water damage to homes can help you better prepare your space and hopefully prevent these issues from ever happening.

When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Homeowners insurance covers water damage if it's due to a listed peril. These causes of water damage are usually covered by home insurance:

  • Accidental leaks and busted pipes: If your pipes are leaking or busted by accident, your home insurance should cover any resulting water damage.
  • Extinguisher residue: If you had to use an extinguisher or sprinkler system to put out a fire in your home, this type of water damage is also covered.
  • Leaking roofs: If your roof is leaking due to a covered cause such as after getting struck by a tree branch, water damage to your home should be covered.
  • Ice dams: Ice that builds up in your gutter that leads to water damage may be covered if it wasn't caused by a lack of maintenance.

Your South Dakota independent insurance agent can help you review your home insurance policy and list every cause of water damage that's covered by your policy.


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When Doesn't Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Depending on the cause of water damage to your home, you might be out of luck trying to get your insurance to cover it.

These causes of water damage aren't covered by home insurance:

  • Lack of maintenance: Failure to upkeep your home's gutters, etc., can lead to a water damage claim being denied by your insurance company.
  • Intentional acts: If you damage your home on purpose, your insurance company won't cover the claim.
  • Floods, hurricanes, and tsunamis: Your home insurance won't cover flooding and resulting water damage due to storms like hurricanes. You'd need a separate flood insurance policy for that.
  • Swimming pool leaks: Water damage that stems from a swimming pool on your property isn't likely to be covered by home insurance.
  • Sewer backups: Damage caused by a backed-up sewer isn't typically covered by home insurance unless you added the sewer backup endorsement to your policy.

If you still have questions about which types of water damage are covered by your home insurance, your South Dakota independent insurance agent can help.

How Do I Get Flood or Hurricane Coverage?

Flood insurance is sold through the National Flood Insurance Program, which is a part of FEMA. Your South Dakota independent insurance agent can help point you in the right direction to find the right coverage to protect your home against water damage from natural flooding.

Keep in mind that flood insurance often comes with a 30-day waiting period before it's effective, so it's best to have a policy well before storm season rolls around. As for hurricanes, windstorm coverage is included in your home insurance. However, if you live in a windstorm-prone area, this aspect of your coverage might come with a higher deductible.

How Can I Help Prevent Water Damage?

Before worrying about which types of water damage are covered by your home insurance, it can be helpful to start with preventing it from ever occurring in the first place.

Prevent water damage to your home by following these steps:

  • Check hoses: It's important to inspect your washing machine and other appliances' hoses at least annually to prevent water damage.
  • Inspect your roof: Get your roof professionally inspected annually to check for areas that could allow water to leak into the home.
  • Keep your roof free of snow: Keeping your roof free of snow can prevent ice dams, and thereby prevent water damage.
  • Keep your gutters clear: Regularly check your gutters for leaves and other debris buildups to prevent backups and unnecessary leaks.
  • Drain water heaters: At least twice each year, drain your water heaters to flush debris and prevent backups and other issues.

Starting with a good defense against water damage to your home can help minimize your chances of ever having to deal with a mess or file a claim.

What about Mold Removal and Mitigation?

Your home insurance most likely will cover the resulting mold if the water damage to your home was due to a covered peril. So if you had a busted pipe that resulted in water damage that led to mold, your home insurance would probably pay to take care of the mold along with the other damage.

If the mold in your home was caused by a non-listed peril, such as a leak on your property from your swimming pool, you'd likely have to pay for the mold removal yourself. Make sure to check your specific home insurance policy with the help of your South Dakota independent insurance agent to be sure of when mold removal is covered.

Why Choose a South Dakota Independent Insurance Agent?

South Dakota independent insurance agents simplify the process by shopping and comparing insurance quotes for you. Not only that, but they’ll also cut through the jargon and clarify the fine print so you'll know exactly what you’re getting.

South Dakota independent insurance agents also have access to multiple insurance companies, ultimately finding you the best home insurance coverage, accessibility, and competitive pricing while working for you.

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