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My Basement Flooded. What Will Insurance Cover?

Flooded basement

A flooded basement is covered if caused by a peril named in your policy.

Catherine McQueen/Getty Images

  • Homeowners insurance will cover flooded basements from a burst pipe or a named peril.
  • Damage that occurs due to lack of proper maintenance is not covered.
  • Separate insurance is needed for water damage from natural disasters, sewer backup, or underground seepage.

A flooded basement can result in a substantial financial loss. That’s why it is essential to know if your

homeowners insurance

policy will cover damage to your basement due to a flood.

The short answer is yes, your homeowners insurance will generally cover a flooded basement. However, there are a few exceptions. How the water entered will typically determine if your policy will cover the damage.

When does homeowners insurance covered flooded basements? 

Homeowners insurance protects your dwelling and personal property from damage. A flooded basement is covered if it results from a covered event or an insurance peril. 

An insurance peril is an event that may damage your home or belongings, like theft, fire, or a storm. The peril coverage you have depends on the homeowners insurance you purchased. 

Standard homeowners insurance typically covers these perils:

  • Fire or lightning
  • Windstorm or hail
  • Explosion
  • Riots
  • Aircraft
  • Vehicles
  • Smoke
  • Vandalism
  • Theft
  • Falling objects
  • Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water or steam
  • Sudden and accidental tearing, cracking, burning, or bulging
  • Freezing
  • Sudden and accidental damage due to short circuiting
  • Volcanic eruption

Your homeowners insurance will usually cover a flooded basement caused by a broken appliance, a burst pipe, or overflow from a water source such as a pool, tub, or sink.  

If mold damage results from  from a covered peril such as a burst pipe, wind, or


storm, your homeowners insurance provider may cover it. Most homeowners insurance companies will deny coverage if mold is not related to a peril.

If your home gets mold due to flooding from a water source outside the home or a sewer backup, you will not be covered unless you have separate flood insurance or purchased a service line rider that covers sewer lines.

When doesn’t homeowners insurance cover basement flooding?

If the damage results from poor maintenance, your homeowners insurance policy will not cover a flooded basement. 

Natural floods caused by heavy rain and damage from sewer backups are among the perils that standard homeowners insurance policies typically don’t cover. Those will require add-on coverage or separate insurance.

Flood insurance policies exclude water damage from sump pumps, sewer water, broken pipes, rain from an open window, and windstorms, notes Ralph Blust, CEO of National Flood Services.

How to file a claim if your basement is flooded

If your basement floods, follow these steps to report and file a claim.

  1. Take pictures of damaged possessions and take note of the peril that caused the damage. 
  2. Contact your homeowners insurance company. Do so as soon as possible because your claim can be denied if you wait too long. 
  3. Contact that insurance provider if the damage is from a natural flood, earthquake, or landslide, which you will need separate coverage for.

The best time to prepare for a flooded basement is before it happens. You can avoid major financial hardship by knowing what instances your policy will cover basement flooding and purchasing separate coverages to fill the gaps.

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