Whether or not damage from an overflowed toilet is covered by your insurance will depend on your specific policy. Water damage is not typically included in a homeowners insurance policy, but rider policies are often included for a minor additional cost. Other damages relating to a toilet overflowing may be covered, depending on your policy and the insurance laws of your state of residence.
Know Your Policy
It is vital that you understand your home insurance policy and any inclusions or exclusions it contains. Insurance is regulated on a state-by-state basis, resulting in variations of coverage, especially in controversial categories such as mold, mildew and incidental damage. If your policy does not specifically state that water damage is covered, contact your insurance company to establish what your coverage includes.
If your toilet has overflowed as a result of a blocked sewage line maintained by the county or city, the damages are usually covered by the insurance of the community organization. Before you file a home insurance claim, contact the consumer agency, providing your water and sewage services to find out whether the damage is your responsibility. As a general guideline, sewage lines leading from your home to a city sewage system are your responsibility, but blockages in the main line are not.
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Mold and Mildew
Mold and mildew, which can result from a toilet that has overflowed, have become a major factor in home insurance claims. Without clarifying research to establish any definitive health risks, insurance companies have been forced to pay as much as four times more in insurance claims relating to mold and mildew in recent years, according to the Personal Insurance Federation of California. In most cases, mold and mildew are categorized as water damage, but you will have to refer to your own insurance policy or insurer to determine how such cases are handled in your circumstances.
Incidental damages include replacing carpet, drywall and flooring. Having water damage coverage usually includes these incidental damages, but it is important that the claim is filed as soon as possible. If your toilet has had a slow leak for a long period of time, the insurance company may be entitled to deny the claim on the grounds that you have not performed the necessary maintenance to prevent the damage from happening. Personal negligence denials are difficult to overturn, and most home insurance policies include specific provisions that describe what constitutes home owner negligence.
Minor Damage and Deductibles
If your toilet has overflowed and caused a minor amount of damage, it may be in your own best interest to make the repairs yourself. Water damage claims are subject to policyholder deductions, which means that the cost of the repairs may be low enough that filing a claim is not warranted after the deductible amount has been paid. You could file a water damage claim to cover the difference, but doing so may result in a rise in premiums that far outstrips the costs of paying for the repairs out of pocket.