Does Renters Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Understand the types of water damage that are covered by your renters insurance policy.

Renters insurance can provide peace of mind by protecting your belongings in case of unforeseen events like water damage. While most renters insurance policies cover water damage resulting from various situations, it’s essential to know that there may be exceptions.

Understanding what your policy covers is crucial to ensure that you’re adequately protected and prepared. In this post, we’ll discuss the ins and outs of renters insurance and water damage, including:

Table of Contents

When does renters insurance cover water damage?

Renters insurance policies are specific about water damage coverage, as some types are covered while others are not.

Fortunately, most renters insurance policies will cover water damage caused by leaking plumbing, radiators, air conditioners, and appliances. If your washing machine malfunctions and causes damage to your personal belongings, you should be covered. Your liability coverage can also protect you if the washing machine leaks and damages a neighboring unit.

However, renters insurance typically does not cover flooding. To ensure complete protection, you may need to purchase a separate flood policy.

If you have any questions about the specifics of your policy, consult with your independent insurance agent.

What types of water damage does renters insurance cover?

Generally, renters insurance policies cover water damage caused by internal sources, such as leaks from toilets, faulty washing machines, or frozen pipes.

Keep in mind that renters insurance is designed to cover your personal property and potential liabilities. That means any damage to structural elements – like walls, ceilings, or flooring – is the responsibility of your landlord.

Water leaks

Renters insurance typically covers leaks caused by issues with interior plumbing, such as toilet overflows and washing machine malfunctions. If such a leak occurs and your belongings are damaged, your policy should cover the repair or replacement costs (after you pay your policy’s deductible).

To help prevent incidents like this, it’s important to make sure that your plumbing system is regularly maintained and that any signs of leakage are promptly addressed.

Burst pipes

If you experience water damage due to cracked or burst pipes in your home, your renters insurance policy may be able to help cover the associated costs.

Let’s say your pipes burst due to freezing temperatures while you’re away on vacation, causing extensive damage to your personal property, including computer hardware, furniture, and small appliances. In this scenario, renters insurance can help cover the cost of repairing or replacing those items.

Frozen water

Renters insurance policies ordinarily cover most damage caused by frozen water. This includes ice or snow that gets into your living area, as well as the water that circulates through your interior plumbing, HVAC system, and appliances.

But it’s important to note that some insurance providers may only consider frozen water damage to be a covered peril if you took reasonable precautions to maintain heat in your unit. So, if you’re going out of town, it’s a good idea to shut off your water supply and keep your thermostat set above 55 degrees Fahrenheit.


Your renters insurance policy may help cover water damage caused by rain, but there are some conditions to bear in mind.

Rain damage is often included as part of windstorm and hail coverage, but only if the rain gets into your living space through a hole in the walls or roof that was caused by the windstorm or hail.

If the rain got in because of corrosion or rot in the roof, you might have to file a claim through your landlord’s insurance policy. Some renters insurance policies may have provisions for roof collapse caused by rainwater, so it’s important to compare policies to find the coverage that suits your needs.

What types of water damage doesn't renters insurance cover?

While renters insurance typically includes a broad level of coverage for water damage, it’s important to be aware of the types of water damage that aren’t covered. Some events may be covered by your landlord’s policy, and others may require a separate policy or may not be eligible for coverage at all.

Always consult your insurance provider to clarify the extent of your specific policy and any potential exceptions.


Renters insurance generally does not cover water damage caused by flooding.

Floods are excluded from most standard renters and homeowners policies, which define floods as water that rises from the ground, including overflow from bodies of water, tidal waves, or discharges from dams or levees. Even leaks caused by water seeping through the ground may not be covered.

To protect your belongings from flood damage, you may need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy.

Sewer malfunction

Your renters insurance policy likely won’t cover water damage caused by sewer systems.

This includes water that enters or backs up from sewers, drains, or any system that’s designed to remove water from your home, such as a sump pump. However, some insurance providers offer sewer backup, septic backup, and sump overflow coverage as add-ons to existing policies.

In any case, it’s important to ensure that your landlord regularly inspects and maintains the property’s sewer connections.

Certain property damage

It's important to note that renters insurance typically does not cover property damage that would fall under the landlord’s policy. If your home experiences water damage caused by a faulty roof or plumbing system, your landlord’s insurance policy would likely cover the cost of repairing the structural damage to the building itself. That includes things like staining and mold growth on your interior walls. But your landlord’s policy may not cover damage to your personal belongings.

It’s wise to find out what’s covered by your renters insurance and what falls under the responsibility of your landlord’s insurance. That way, if you ever experience a loss due to water damage, you’ll be able to minimize out-of-pocket expenses by filing a claim with the appropriate provider.


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Talk to an Independent Insurance Agent If You’re Still Unsure What Water Damage Is Covered Under Renters Insurance

Working with an independent insurance agent can be beneficial when it comes to protecting against water damage and other risks of being a renter.

Independent agents work with multiple insurance providers, which means they can compare policies and help you find the right coverage for your needs. They can also help you understand what is and isn’t covered, provide expert guidance on reducing risks, and support you in navigating the claims process in case of an unexpected event.

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