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Water Damage--Are You Covered?

Water Damage

Water damage is every renter’s nightmare. Faulty appliances, broken pipes, leaking roofs, acts of nature and even forgetful neighbors can transform your once pristine home into a soggy mess. Unfortunately, water damage is a common problem. It’s best to know what to expect and how to protect yourself in the event that it occurs.

Check Your Rental Agreement

The insurance held by the property owner will cover external damage to the building, including the roof, but will not cover the loss or damage of your personal belongings. Policies vary, however, about internal fixtures such as walls, floors, plumbing and carpeting. In some cases, you may be responsible for any interior damages caused by water. Review your rental agreement or lease carefully to determine who is responsible for repairs. It’s important to verify where you stand if water damage occurs, so you can take steps to protect your possessions and your pocketbook.

What Renters Insurance Will Cover

Renters insurance policies are invaluable and can often be added to your existing auto policy for a small premium. A good renter’s insurance policy will cover the loss of any personal items destroyed by water damage. Make sure that interior fixtures such as walls, pipes and carpeting are specifically mentioned in your policy. One exception, though, is that if the damage was caused by an appliance that was not properly maintained. In that case, your insurance will not replace the faulty appliance.

What About Flooding Caused by Acts of Nature?

Renters insurance generally will not cover water damage caused by naturally occurring floods. If flooding is common in your area, you can get around this gap in coverage by adding a rider to your current policy or by purchasing a separate policy specifically to protect you and your belongings against flood damage.

What If I Can’t Live in My Apartment?

If the damage to your apartment is so severe that the unit is unfit for habitation, your renters insurance policy will generally cover the cost of a comparably priced unit where you can stay until the necessary repairs are completed.