Does Renters Insurance Cover Water Damage?

Moshe Amos

Damage from water can result in serious material losses. You could end up spending much money trying to recover the destroyed property. The only option will be to replace almost everything the water has touched in most cases. As a renter, for you to handle such eventualities with ease, you need renters insurance.
Renter’s insurance defines property insurance for property renters, and it covers the policy holder’s belongings and liabilities. It also covers their living expenses whenever there is a loss.
Renter’s insurance only covers the damages that have occurred to your personal property. Subsequently, it will only help you protect your belongings and won’t replace things like pipes if the issue has something to do with plumbing. The maintenance of the building is your landlord’s responsibility.
As a renter, you need to understand what your policy covers. For instance, water damage and flood damage are occurrences that cause losses. Yet, the standard renter’s insurance covers neither of them. The insurance policy only covers water damage in a few instances, but it does not cover most losses. Whether or not the insurance will cover the damages depends on the cause.

When Do the Renter’s Insurance Cover Water Damages?

There are risks listed in your renter’s policy determining whether or not you will get compensation for your water damage claim. Obviously any damage not included in your policy will not be eligible for any claim.
Below is an outline of the standard named risks that apply to water damage:

Burst pipes

Renter’s insurance covers your belongings if there is damage from water pipes freezing and bursting. It could also be a case of old pumping that breaks and leaks.

Sudden water overflow or steam discharge

This danger covers you under the policy for cases like having a clogged toilet. However, this must be a one-time event. Also, the damage should result from something that happened over some time.

Rain and Hail

Renter’s insurance will compensate you if there has been water damage from rain and hail or if there are structural issues like roof leaking.

When Doesn’t Renters Insurance Cover Water Damages?

If there has been negligence of any kind that has resulted in damage, no insurance claim will be at the hands of the renter’s insurance.
Here are other instances of water damage that the renter’s insurance does not cover.

Sewer overflow or sump pump failure

When there is sewer overflow, the sanitary sewers release raw sewage. Sewer overflow can cause serious damage to your property. Renter’s insurance does not cover sewer overflow because such issues occur due to improper system maintenance.
Sometimes it is about failure to clear a clog with immediate effect. Such kind of damages from these mistakes is very costly to repair.
Some insurance companies have a separate endorsement of the main policy. The different approvals are to compensate you in case of such occurrences.

Damage from negligence

Your renter’s insurance cannot be responsible for any damages caused by your negligence. For instance, if you leave a window open and there happens to be a storm that will damage your personal property, do not expect compensation from renters insurance. This also holds for leaving the water running, and the sink plugged.
If you skip any routine maintenance and then there is water damage, you cannot make any insurance claim arising from the damages.


Damage arising from earthquakes is also not covered by the regular renter’s insurance policy since such damage relates to the earth’s movement. To caution yourself from the financial costs arising from an earthquake, you should get a separate earthquake insurance policy.


Renters insurance does not cater to the damages caused by floods. As a renter, you may have to consider purchasing a separate flood insurance cover to deal with such eventualities.
Take keen consideration of where you live and determine whether there is enough risk of flooding to cause you to pay for flood insurance. Despite it being vital, some renters do not understand the difference between making an insurance claim for water damage and flood damage.

What Is The Difference Between Insurance Claims For Water Damage And Flood Damage?

Between the landlord and the renter’s insurance, none of them handles claims covering the damage caused to your property by floods. Insurers understand the intensity of the damage that water can cause on the property. It is why insurers make sure they have distinguished the water-related losses they will cover from the ones they won’t.
Water damage results from structural or mechanical failure like pipe bursts, and it falls under a commercial business owner’s policy (BOP). Commercial water damage insurance may cover insurance claims from select natural causes of water damage, but you need to know that most large-scale disasters are not covered here.
According to the federal emergency management agency (FEMA), a flood is an event that causes a partial or complete influx in two or more acres of land that is usually dry under normal circumstances. It may be due to severe weather conditions or water rising to a point it overflows.
Commercial insurers do not take care of insurance claims tabled due to damages caused by floods. But, if you are a business owner, you can protect your business from incurring this kind of loss by equipping yourself with a separate property damage policy.

What Water Damages Is Your Landlord Responsible For?

As a renter, you need to know what damages your landlord is responsible for. Covering your personal belongings is the responsibility of renters insurance.
Landlords have a separate insurance cover to take care of the structure of the building. In case the damage happens because of the landlord’s negligence, they may have to use their insurance policy to cover your damages.

Does Renters’ Insurance Cover Water Damages I Cause To Others?

The renter’s insurance also includes a liability cover. The only condition to this is that the damage must be due to risk in your policy. In this case, the liability will kick in for the damage affecting other people. Meaning if an excluded risk causes the damage from water, your renter’s insurance won’t help you.

How to Prevent Water Damage:

You can prevent some of these issues or stop the damage from getting out of hand.

  • Locating your water shut-off valve

Have you ever thought of finding your water shut-off valve? Knowing where the shut-off valve is can help you mitigate your losses. If the damage is a plumbing issue, turning the valve off will prevent extensive damage.

  • Inform your landlord about leaks

A major issue can happen because of a small drip under the sink. If the leak goes unreported, the responsibility for the damage could switch to you. Alert the landlord immediately and note when you filed the request if the insurance wants to find out.

  • Use water detection devices

This is to alert you whenever the moisture levels in your house go above average. It will notify you if you leave running water in the tub.

The best way to avoid costly and complicated claims is to prevent them from happening. Prevention will save you from the stress of trying to navigate the named versus the excluded perils.
Simple practices like shutting the shut-off valve can protect you and others from damage. Also, be deliberate in learning the dangers that are on your policy. By so doing, you will stay on top of water issues.
Remember, you cannot make an insurance claim on flood damage. Always notify the landlord any time you notice an issue. However, should you need help, reach out to New York Total Damage Restoration. We mostly deal with damaged homes such as: water damage, fire damage, mold, asbestos ext. We deal with the insurance and make sure the client gets fully what he deserves and then with the money from the insurance we come in and restore the entire place to a high end renovation.


Moshe Amos

Moshe has more over 15 years as a licensed contractor in the New York City area. 

As a New York State-licensed Mold Assessor, he is especially knowledgeable about mold assessment and remediation.


Fire & Water Damage ‧ Mold Remediation ‧ Asbestos & Lead ‧ All Abatement ‧ Total Renovation