Water In My Basement?

Here in Pennsylvania, many homes have basements and people are looking for extra livable space. So many have finished their basements turning them into valuable living and storage space. However a question that is often brought up is, “What is covered if I get water in my basement?” Water leaking in through the foundation walls or through the floor is a common issue for some on a regular basis or during storms.

Most homeowner’s insurance will cover water damage due to sudden leaks from a pipe bursting.  Slow leaks over a period of time are often excluded. So if you have a sudden pipe burst in your basement, most likely your insurance will cover the damage above your deductible amount.

Some homeowner’s insurance policies come with an additional water back up coverage add on. This allows you to have a limited amount of coverage for water and sewer damage coming from your drains, septic lines, or sump pumps. This is often a suggested coverage for an additional fee for those who have finished basements – especially ones with a bathroom in the basement!

Lastly, you can purchase flood insurance for your property whether you live in a high risk flood zone or not.  For it to be considered a “flood”, water must cover the ground on your property and an adjoining property (unless you have a large property, then it has to cover two acres on your property). Flood insurance only covers limited items in a basement though. These include electrical systems, hot water heaters, heating/cooling systems, freezers, washers, and dryers. Flood insurance does not cover finished basement rooms, furniture, or anything stored in the basement though.

Generally if you have water that comes in through the walls or floor of your basement, there is a gap in coverage where often none of the water coverages available will cover any damages.  If you have not finished your basement yet and have gotten water in the basement before, you may want to not finish the basement or store valuable items on the floor.  If you do finish your basement, keep in mind that you take on the risks of paying for repairs yourself if you do take in water from the walls or foundation.