How to make a home insurance claim for water damage

TAMIKA SEETO
Finance Journalist · 19 August 2021
Water damage is one of the most common home insurance claims made in Australia. So whether you’re dealing with a burst pipe or you have a leaky dishwasher on your hands, here’s a closer look at how to make an insurance claim.

What is water damage?

There are a number of ways that your home and contents could be damaged by water. This includes water leaking, bursting or overflowing from appliances like your fridge, dishwasher or washing machine, as well as things like drains, pipes, baths, sinks and toilets. Your home could also be water damaged by external events like floods and storms.

Does home insurance cover water damage?

At the time of writing, all home insurance policies on Canstar’s database include ‘escape of liquid’ as a standard inclusion. This typically covers you for loss or damage caused by water leaking, bursting or overflowing from appliances, fixtures or plumbing.

Insurers will typically only cover an escape of liquid if it is sudden or accidental. That means you generally won’t be covered if the water damage is caused by wear and tear or gradual water damage that you could have reasonably been aware of. Examples of this may include gradual water leakage or damage caused by rust, corrosion, mould or mildew.

It’s worth reading your policy document as this will explain what you will and won’t be covered for. For example, some policies cover the cost of finding the cause of the water damage if the source is unclear. However, policies may not cover the actual cost of repairing or replacing the item that the water escaped from (like fixing a broken pipe).

Many home insurance policies also cover loss or damage caused by flooding or storms as a standard or optional inclusion. Read more about flood insurance.

If you’re comparing home and contents insurance policies, the comparison table below displays some of the policies currently available on Canstar’s database for an Australian aged under 50, seeking cover in NSW or ACT for a cost to replace building and contents of below $550,000. Please note the table is sorted by Star Rating (highest to lowest), followed by provider name (alphabetical) and features links direct to the providers’ websites. Use Canstar’s home insurance comparison selector to view a wider range of policies.

How to make a water damage claim

To make a water damage claim through your home and contents insurance, you can follow these steps:

  1. Prevent further damage if you can and if it is safe to do so. For example, if you have a leaking pipe, you may want to turn off the water at the mains to help stop the flow of water.
  2. Gather as much evidence of the water damage as possible. If you can, take photos and videos and make notes about the damage.
  3. Contact your home insurer and make your claim. Make sure you have your policy number and information supporting your claim at hand. If specific items have been damaged, it’s worth having information about the make and model available too.
  4. If the water damage has been caused by a damaged appliance or pipe that is still leaking, you may need to contact a qualified plumber or relevant technician to repair it. It’s worth speaking to your insurer before making any repairs.
  5. Your insurer may send someone to visit your home and assess and report on the damage.
  6. If your claim is successful, your insurer will arrange for the repair or replacement needed.

If you need further help making a claim, reach out to your home insurer for assistance.

Tips to make a successful water damage insurance claim

While there is no way to guarantee a successful water damage claim, there are some steps you can take to help improve your chances of having your claim accepted:

  • Conduct regular maintenance on your home. This includes inspecting flexi hoses (hoses that are usually used in dishwashers, washing machines, sinks and taps) for any signs of damage. This is important because your insurer typically won’t cover you if the water damage is caused by a leak that you could reasonably have been aware of.
  • Maintain records of any repairs you have had over the years.
  • Make sure you read your policy document so you are aware of the circumstances you are and aren’t covered for.

Insurers are required to respond within 10 business days of receiving your claim, based on the General Insurance Code of Practice. If they need more information about the event from you, they will also need to let you know within this timeframe.

Cover image source: Andrey_Popov/Shutterstock.com


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