Does Renters Insurance Cover Water Damage?
Natural disasters like hurricanes can wreak havoc on your property.
If you have water damage as a result of flooding from heavy rain and wind that ruins your personal effects, your standard policy will not cover you.
In fact, all renters insurance, including home insurance, does not cover water damage as a result of a deluge, a hurricane, or heavy rain.
Flood damage is understood to be water that comes from outside your rental or underground source--as opposed to something inside your rental like a broken pipe--that damages or destroys your personal effects.
As a general rule, renters insurance covers water damage from inside your apartment rental building.
So if you rent and want to be protected from water damage, which insurer should you sign up with?
We’ve made it a little easier for you. We tracked down the best renters insurance companies by category that offers some sort of financial relief from flood damage.
In addition, we’ve given you everything you need to know about water damage to make an educated decision when it’s time for you to purchase a policy.
Liberty Mutual: Best for Discounts
Liberty Mutual is known for its extensive coverage after a disaster strikes.
If there’s fire, earthquake, and flood damage in your home or rental, Liberty will pay the cost to rebuild your home exactly as it was before a covered peril.
What sets Liberty apart is the discounts they offer that can bring down the cost of your insurance.
- Bundling more than one Liberty Mutual insurance policy, like renters and auto insurance.
- Not filing a claim with your previous insurance carrier for at least five years.
- Getting a quote from Liberty Mutual before your current policy expires.
- Enrolling in automatic payments linked to a bank account.
- Purchasing a policy online.
- Choosing to receive policy documents electronically.
Liberty Mutual Renters Insurance Pros & Cons
- Available in all 50 states and Washington, D.C.
- Replacement cost coverage is available.
- Standard policy doesn’t come with water damage coverage.
- Earthquake coverage not available in all areas.
|J.D. Power (out of 1,000)||834|
|A.M. Best - Financial Strength Rating||A|
|NAIC Complaint Index||2.37|
Lemonade: Best For Water Back-Up Damage
Lemonade says that about 30% of policyholders’ claims are reimbursed instantly after submitting the claim online or via the app.
Other comparable companies take a few weeks to resolve a claim.
The company only has an online and app presence.
However, it’s easy to use, even if you are technologically challenged.
But best of all, you can add water backup damage coverage for as little as $.84 a month.
However, flood damage is not covered.
So, if there’s a flood, Lemonade will not cover damage to your apartment or rental house or your personal property.
Also, Lemonade does not cover damage to structures and personal property due to floods.
It also doesn’t cover earthquakes.
Read a full Lemonade home insurance review.
Lemonade Renters Insurance Pros & Cons
- Easy to file a claim, receive customer support, purchase a policy, and view your policy on website or app.
- Fast claims process.
- Affordable premiums start as low as $5.
- Ability to sign up for coverage within minutes
- Donates a portion of revenue to charity
- Not for those who want to talk to a live customer service agent.
- Not available in every state.
- Customer complaints about claims handling delays and policy cancellations.
- Coverage amounts vary by state.
|J.D. Power (out of 1,000)||853|
|NAIC Complaint Index||1.94|
Allstate: Best Overall for Water Damage and Flood Options
Allstate is one of the leading insurers in the nation and has the best standard coverage for water damages that occur in your rental unit or home.
In addition, if a type of water damage isn’t covered, you can purchase a separate policy as an add-on to ensure you have the right amount of protection.
For its standard policy, Allstate will pay for repairs if your drywall, for example, becomes drenched after your water heater bursts or a pipe bursts and leaks through the ceiling below.
In addition, if a pipe bursts and the water drains on your smart TV, Allstate will either replace the TV or repair it.
And if the plumbing leaks, such as when your washing machine supply hose breaks apart, the standard renters insurance will cover any damages.
But you will not be covered if water backs into your home through an outside sewer or drain.
Still, you can buy additional sewer or water backup coverage as an add-to your policy.
Finally, you can purchase a separate flood insurance policy with your renters insurance if there is flooding caused by storms, wet grounds, and overflowing water from rivers, ponds, lakes, and oceans.
Read a full Allstate renters insurance review.
Allstate Renters Insurance Pros & Cons
- Covers repairs if water leaks through the roof and into your unit.
- Furnace is covered under building coverage.
- Has a tool to help you calculate the value of your personal belongings.
- Provides additional coverage for valuable items like jewelry.
- Customers can choose an RCV or ACV policy for personal property coverage.
- Not explicit about what events count as covered losses.
- Personal belongings stored in your basement or below-ground room are not covered when a flood occurs.
- Flood insurance policy doesn’t cover outdoor property such as decks, fences, patios, landscaping, wells and septic systems, and hot tubs and pools.
- If you purchase flood insurance, you'll typically need to wait 30 days for your policy to go into effect,
- Coverage amounts for personal property, loss of use, liability, and medical payments vary by state.
|J.D. Power (out of 1,000)||837|
|A.M. Best - Financial Strength Rating||A+|
|NAIC Complaint Index||2.05|
Chubb: Best for High Limits of Coverage
Chubb is a high-end insurance company that targets people of wealth.
For this reason, the insurer is the only company available with such high limits of coverage.
That’s $15 million in total property coverage for rentals, homes, vehicles, and personal possessions.
You can also choose your limits. Personal liability starts at $1 million, but if you need more coverage, you can go up to $100 million.
Its flood insurance is comprehensive and stands out from what other insurers offer.
That’s because the many coverages you need to pay extra for with most other insurers are available without additional cost.
So that means no endorsements and add-ons.
For example, Chubb's standard policy covers water damage due to a burst pipe or clogged sewer drain, unlike many other renters insurance providers.
Also included are replacement costs and a cyber and identity theft policy.
Chubb Renters Insurance Pros & Cons
- Offers its own flood insurance.
- If you file a claim, it will take less than 24 hours for an agent to contact you.
- Comprehensive list of policy inclusions.
- Replacement cost coverage included as standard.
- Concierge service for wildfires and hurricanes.
- Sold through agents only.
- Expensive premiums.
|J.D. Power (out of 1,000)||896|
|A.M. Best - Financial Strength Rating||A++|
|NAIC Complaint Index||0.02|
Assurant: Best for Competitive Rates on Flood Insurance Policy
Assurant is one of the nation’s leading providers of flood insurance.
It offers the best protection against floods. That’s not hyperbole.
Assurant has thirty years of experience in floods and flood damage and offers the most competitive rates for a flood policy add-on.
Assurant is also considered the second-largest carrier offering flood insurance.
If your rental or home is damaged due to a flood and you have to move elsewhere, Assurant will pay for additional living expenses.
You can protect yourself if you purchase an add-on in the event you have damage from a backed-up drain or sewer.
Assurant Renters Insurance Pros & Cons
- Competitive rates on flood insurance policies.
- Standard renters policy covers replacement cost, which helps you avoid getting ACV.
- Bedbug damage, food spoilage, and additional living expenses for flood evacuation are covered.
- High number of customer complaints.
- Few discounts offered.
- More expensive than its competitors.
- Below-average customer service.
- Slow claim service response time.
|A.M. Best - Financial Strength Rating||A|
FloodSimple: Best for Customer Service
Available in all 50 states, FloodSimple offers flood insurance exclusively for renter-occupied apartments, houses, condos, and townhouses.
For those who live in flood-prone areas or high-risk zones, FloodSimple is not the right insurance for you.
FloodSimple only offers coverage in low-risk zones, such as dwellings that are far away from bodies of water like oceans, rivers, and more, and areas that are not susceptible to hurricanes or other natural disasters.
In this way, FloodSimple can offer you coverage at an affordable rate.
FloodSimple doesn't even require an elevation certificate.
That’s because the insurer assesses rental units or homes on a case-by-case basis using the experience of a seasoned underwriter and the technology of computer scoring.
FloodSimple also has the best customer service all around. You can find information about your policy 24/7 using their easy-to-use website.
You can get a quote instantly and determine online if your unit is in a flood zone with its lookup tool.
FloodSimple has the highest rating of any insurer on the internet, and that’s due to its excellent and responsive customer service, as well as its ability to email you a quote within 24 hours or less (it’s often less).
Pros and Cons FloodSimple Insurance
- The company’s mantra is to make buying flood insurance drastically easier.
- Highest consumer ratings on the web.
- Instant quoting tool.
- Policies in 41 states.
- Nine states are not eligible for policies.
- Leaves customers in high-risk zones in the dust.
How We Decided
We gathered information from multiple trusted sites in renters insurance and the websites of insurance companies and narrowed our search down to the needs of residents looking for water damage coverage by prioritizing the following:
Coverage and Discounts
A reputable insurance provider should have a range of policy coverages to cover your needs.
So we looked at renters insurance policies based on how much coverage they offered.
We looked at the basic or standard coverage options, unique features that other insurers don’t have, and add-ons or riders to make sure you are sufficiently covered for peril and to make sure you feel safe in your apartment.
We also looked at discounts that each insurer offered, such as bundling and security options in your rental. We looked at those companies that offered the most discounts that could lower your policy rates. This allowed us to narrow down our search further. The more discounts an insurer had were added to our list.
We only considered insurers that had a website and/or app to make your life easier and to save you time from having to be on hold over a long period via phone before you could talk to a live agent.
Only those with an easy-to-use and easy-to-navigate website and app were considered.
Plus, both website and app had to have features that made your life easier, such as signing up for a policy online, making a claim, paying your premium, and finding additional coverage that you can buy as an add-on.
Customer reviews were used to narrow down the options. The reviews also helped determine each category. Using customer reviews allowed us to see how customers chose a company based on affordable cost, accessibility, and overall coverage.
What Kind of Water Damage is Covered Under Renters Insurance?
Many who opt for renters insurance don’t know how much their insurer covers water damage.
It’s true that renters insurance doesn’t cover water damage, but you have to look at the particulars to see what kind of water damage is offered by your policy.
Water damage coverage depends on the source of the water and where it came from.
For example, renters insurance covers water damage in your rental due to accidental overflows or a discharge of water.
But your insurance typically won’t cover water damage that’s the result of backed-up sewage or flood damage.
And your landlord is not responsible for water damage that ruins your personal belonging.
The landlord is only responsible for the exterior of the apartment.
But the good thing is that the landlord is responsible for replacing any pipes if your plumbing system suddenly goes AWOL.
And the landlord is also responsible for preventing and repairing leaks.
Anything in your apartment that is damaged by water coming in from outside is paid by you if you don’t purchase a flood endorsement from your insurance.
What is Flood Insurance?
Although standard renters insurance policies cover some forms of water damage to your personal property, renters insurance does not cover flood damage to your belongings due to hazardous weather conditions like hurricanes.
Flood insurance usually is a separate policy designed to help protect your rental and belongings if they are damaged in flood. This stand-alone flood insurance policy can be added to your coverage as a rider or add-on.
It’s especially important to have this add-on if your unit or apartment is on the ground floor, below the ground, or on the first floor.
|Damage From:||Damage To:|
|Water from internal sources like plumbing leaks.|
Does Renters Insurance Cover Ceiling Leaks?
Yes. If there’s a leak from your ceiling and water drizzled from another unit in your building and destroyed your property, you can make a claim with your policyholder.
For example, if the water leaked onto your expensive couch, laptop, or television, and eviscerated these items, your policy will pay up to the insured limit.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Water Damage from a Toilet?
If there is accidental overflow or discharge from your toilet, renters insurance will replace your damaged personal belongings.
But if your toilet floods due to your negligence, your insurance will not cover this.
For example, if your toilet is clogged and you didn’t fix it or if you didn’t hire a plumber and the clog overflowed and caused damage to your floor, your insurance won’t cover the costs to repair or replace the floor.
Neither will your landlord.
In fact, due to the overflow that could damage the unit below you, your landlord may sue you for the cost of repairing the damages.
But rest assured that your renter's insurance will pay for any legal costs.
Still, renters insurance doesn’t cover damage from water that backs up through sewers or drains.
And it won’t cover damage caused by seepage from underground water.
So water backup is only covered if the backup is not caused by flooding or a sump pump, as well as human error or negligence,
So if a failed sump pump causes water to back up in your basement, or if water from a burst pipe damages your walls or floors, your insurance will not cover this.
Important to note here is that if water damage is excluded but then causes another form of loss, such as by fire, you may be able to file a claim for damage to your property.
Accidental Discharge or Overflow of Steam
As suggested earlier, accidental overflow of water or steam is covered if you have plumbing, heating, or air conditioner problems.
And if a sprinkler system becomes damaged and drips water right onto your laptop, you will be covered.
Some insurers also cover an overflow of water from an appliance, like your washing machine.
But if your washing machine overflows due to a malfunction, an insurer will not cover any damages.
An insurer will cover a leak in an air conditioner or a busted hot water heating system.
If these appliances and HVACs tear, crack, burn, or bulge, your property will be covered if it gets damaged.
If there is water discharge from your rental’s plumbing, HVAC system, or household appliance, and the water freezes and damages items you own, your renters policy will reimburse you.
In addition, your insurance will cover you if you tried to maintain heat in your unit or tried reasonable measures to remove freeing water from your appliances.
Does Renters Insurance Cover Storm Damage?
Renters insurance protects your property from heavy rain and storms, but not in all instances.
Renters insurance covers damage to your property from incoming water if a window breaks during a storm due to heavy wind.
Wind damage is usually covered in a standard policy, regardless of who you are insured.
And if a storm destroys your rental unit or home, your insurance will cover the repair costs and loss of use because your dwelling is inhabitable.
On the other hand, if you are irresponsible and leave a window open during a storm and your furniture and other properties get damaged, your insurer will not cover any costs needed to replace them.
What is Excluded from a Typical Renters Insurance Company?
In a word, anything that came with your rental includes fixtures like ceiling chandeliers or appliances like refrigerators.
If these get damaged, it’s the landlord who shells out the money to replace them.
Disasters That Are Not Covered
Along with floods, some disasters that are not covered include earthquakes and terrorist attacks.
If you live in an area that is prone to earthquakes, most insurers offer earthquake protection as an add-on to your policy.
Renters have the option to purchase coverage only for the contents within the rental.
That’s because the landlord pays for structural damage to an apartment complex, a condo building, or a townhouse using the landlord’s insurance.
Renters are entitled to the same maximum coverage limits on the same items as homeowners.