If a condo is where you’ve made your home sweet home, you’ll want to protect it as best you can. What happens if you end up with water damage in your condo? Is the damage covered by your condo insurance? Depending on the type of damage or flooding you experience, your condo insurance may or may not cover flooding.
Basic condo insurance will cover some forms of water damage but not all. Below we go through the situations your condo insurance likely would or wouldn’t cover expenses in the case of water damage or flooding.
Does Condo Insurance Cover Flooding?
Plumbing accidents – Yes
Most condo insurance policies will likely cover plumbing issues, like a burst sink pipe or HVAC malfunction or frozen pipe damage. Basically, if something malfunctions in your condo and causes water damage, your condo insurance will usually cover your expenses. This usually refers to “accidents” that weren’t predictable or caused by neglect or wear and tear.
Your condo insurance will usually cover any unexpected damage that happens: without liability (no one is found at fault) and originates within your condo (doesn’t come in from another location).
Wear and tear damage – No
Let’s say a pipe cracks and leaks—but it’s not an unexpected accident. The cause of the leak was from wear and tear because the pipes were rusted or the water heater was old. You didn’t take care of your plumbing, and now you have a problem.
Your condo insurance likely won’t cover any damages that are caused by your neglect. It is your responsibility to keep your appliances in working order. If an insurance inspector determines the damage is due to neglect, the company usually won’t pay out your claim.
Floods – No
Condo insurance, like most homeowners insurance, doesn’t cover flooding. “Flooding” refers to any water that touches the ground first and then comes into your home. This includes water damage from hurricanes, mudslides, and nearby bodies of water.
We highly recommend you consider additional flood insurance for your condo. Even low-risk and moderate-risk homes can run into unexpected floods from storms or broken pipes, and flood damage can be incredibly expensive.
Not sure if you need flood insurance? See the 11 questions to ask about flood insurance here and when you’re ready, give one of our insurance advisors a call at (855) 244-7671 to discuss whether flood insurance makes sense for your condo.
Water backup – No
Like floods, your basic condo insurance usually won’t cover water damage caused by sewer or drain backups. If the backup is caused by neglect from your HOA, the homeowners’ association master policy will likely take responsibility for the majority of the costs. If the cause can’t be determined or it’s a drain backup in your condo, you are likely responsible for your own expenses unless you have supplemental condo water insurance.
Common area damage – No
Let’s say there is water damage in the common areas of your condo community, like on the roof or the communal bike shed. You are not responsible to pay for these damages, so your condo insurance doesn’t come into play. The homeowners’ association holds a master insurance policy that covers liability and damage in common areas. You can learn more about the difference between your condo insurance and the HOA’s insurance here. (Ask your HOA for a copy of their policy when you move in, so you can ensure your personal condo insurance offers the difference in coverage.)
You are only responsible for common area damage if your neglect causes the damage. For example, if you have a burst pipe in your home and you don’t take care of it, it could damage the stairs outside your condo. This damage might be your fault—and you are thus responsible for the cost. If the original damage was due to a plumbing accident and not wear or tear, your condo insurance may step in to help cover these damages.
Now let’s say there’s water in a common area that then spreads into your condo and causes damage. Your condo insurance might cover the costs temporarily, but they will likely contact the HOA’s insurance company for reimbursement. Common areas are the HOA’s responsibility for maintenance, liability, and damage.
Neighbor’s water damage – Partially
Let’s say your upstairs neighbor’s pipe breaks. It causes water damage in their home and then leaks down into your place where it also damages your walls in furniture. In most cases, you are not responsible for this damage.
Your condo insurance might help you temporarily cover the costs for repair and replacement. Then, your insurer might work with your neighbor’s insurance company for repayment of your costs. This works well for you because you get the money you need to fix your home, but you don’t have to do any of the negotiations or interactions yourself.
However, some insurers may not even want to get involved because it’s not their responsibility (or yours). You may have to work with your neighbor and their insurance company directly.
Regardless, you want to have a discussion with your neighbor to determine liability and costs. You don’t want to have any issues with your neighbor moving forward, so open communication is always best from the get-go.
Flooding and other types of water damage aren’t always covered by your condo insurance. For full protection, you may want to consider purchasing additional coverage. We especially recommend considering flood insurance, as flooding is both commonplace and expensive—even in moderate-risk zones.
Find the right condo and flood insurance for your home. Call one of our insurance advisors at (855) 244-7671 start comparing quotes now!
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