Home Home & Garden Does Renters Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Does Renters Insurance Cover Water Damage?

by Tracy Finke

Flood, water damage, and leaks are all issues that renters worry about. However, a little-known sort of renters insurance does provide coverage for these situations. In cases where the immediate cause of loss is a flood, overflow of a bathtub or sink, or when an appliance in the rental unit causes personal property damage, this coverage is known as “water damage to personal property.”

If you have renters insurance, here are some scenarios in which you could receive coverage for your personal property due to water damage:

The most crucial thing to know about the water damage exemption is that it only applies if the primary cause of loss was flooding, overflow of a bathtub or sink, or when an appliance in your rental unit caused water damage to your personal belongings.

Here’s one illustration of how this coverage works: One morning, your neighbor gets up early and takes a shower before leaving for work. Unaware to her, there is a little hole in the pipe that delivers water to your apartment.

Water leaks into your apartment, damaging the hardwood flooring in the living room and soaking some of your personal belongings that are nearby. Because the leaky pipe caused this loss, your renter’s insurance would cover it (the water damage).

If you have contents coverage on your renter’s policy, it will pay for any items damaged in this incident up to the limit of liability listed on your declarations page. You can learn more about how water damage is covered by contents insurance by visiting this website.

Renters insurance will safeguard your belongings against the majority of losses that might occur during your stay and help you avoid paying for your own repairs or replacements out of pocket if something goes wrong, such as a burst pipe.

Does renters insurance cover water damage from ceiling leaks?

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Renters insurance policies often cover a variety of perils and events that might damage your personal belongings. Things like fire, lightning, explosion, burglary, vehicle or aircraft impact, and smoke are among them.

Ceiling water damage resulting from ceiling leaks is not covered, as it is when plumbing problems (burst pipe or faucet) cause water damage. The source of the leak – the damaged plumbing in the ceiling – must be compensated for under your policy.

If you contact your insurance carrier promptly about the problem, they may be able to resolve it before it gets any worse and additional damage occurs, bringing in more expenses for repair or replacement of things like drywall or flooring at no cost to you.

Does renters insurance cover water damage from a burst pipe?

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Yes, if your policy contains the “water damage to personal property” coverage and the direct cause of loss is from flood, overflow of a bathtub or sink, or when an appliance in your rental unit causes water damage to your belongings.

Renters insurance will protect your belongings against the vast majority of losses that can happen during your tenancy and help you avoid paying for repairs or replacement out of pocket if something does occur, such as flooding in your rental home.

Water damage is not limited to floods alone but could extend to broken pipes causing water damage in the walls or ceilings directly above items in closets or on shelves. You can check with your insurer to see what coverage is included in your plan.

Does renters insurance cover flood damage?

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A standard renters policy does not provide coverage for floods, but many insurers do offer supplemental or endorsement (because this is considered an “endorsement”) coverage to add on if you’re in a high-risk area. For example, in Florida, Citizens Property Insurance Corp. offers a separate flood insurance policy.

If your home’s been damaged by a flood and you don’t have flood insurance, your renter’s policy might help if it provided “off-premises” coverage. If you live near the coast or another vulnerable area where hurricanes are common, then you should definitely look into the possibility of purchasing additional off-premises coverage to protect yourself from uninsured losses due to flooding.

Does renters insurance cover water damage from a plugged drain?

If you plug your drain and water comes back up through the drain into your unit, then yes, most renters’ policies will cover this loss. This is considered “backup of sewers or drains.” Your policy might also include sewer stoppage coverage to address the same issue if it’s not caused by a plugged drain.

Does renters insurance cover water damage from appliances?

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Typically, any plumbing-related loss to personal property caused by an appliance failure in your rental unit would be covered under your contents insurance policy. Whether that includes replacement costs due only to depreciation (better known as wear and tear) is up for debate among insurers. Some companies won’t replace items just because they’re old; others might but usually expect you to pay something towards the replacement cost.

Does renters insurance cover water damage from a broken hot-water heater?

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Renters insurance often covers the cost of damages resulting from a broken hot-water heater, but your policy will pay no more than it would have cost you to repair or replace the unit – not what you would receive in a settlement with a third party.

There is another exception – if your rental agreement stipulates that you are responsible for maintaining and repairing appliances within the property (usually only with older units), then your insurer may choose not to provide coverage for any appliance that breaks down accidentally as a result of neglect or lack of maintenance.


Renters insurance covers personal belongings against various perils that include water damage. It is, therefore, unlikely that you would not be covered for water damage due to leakage or overflow from plumbing in the ceiling – especially if you contact your insurer promptly about this event. If they find out about it after considerable damage has occurred, additional expenses might incur and they may decline coverage. When in doubt check with your company before starting any repairs.