Does insurance cover homeowner maintenance mistakes?

UPDATED: Oct 1, 2022

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Does insurance cover homeowner maintenance mistakes?

A homeowner replaced a gutter system, and designed a system of plastic pipe to carry water away from the house. The homeowner also had dug up the ground to the bottom of the basement wall in order to apply a sealant to the outside of the basement wall. Well, during a very heavy rain, the rainwater was not carried away from the house by the not yet properly installed plastic pipe, but formed a pond of mud and water formed along the basement wall, and the basement wall cracked and buckled in a few inches. Does homeowners insurance cover something that was caused be either stupidity or just bad timing?

Asked on November 5, 2017 under Insurance Law, New York


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 5 years ago | Contributor

1) No, a policy will typically not cover damages caused the homeowner's own negligence or fault--it covers damage outside the homeowner's control. Insured's can't cause the damage and then get compensation for it.
2) Most homeowner's policies do have exclusions for flood damage under many circumstances. Such exclusions are legal, so if the terms of this policy exclude coverage from flooding from surface water (water not carried away properly), that exclusion would very likely bar coverage.

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