Will My Homeowner's Insurance Cover Water Damage Due to a Leaking Dishwasher?

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

Water damage can occur in a variety of ways. Unfortunately, it tends to cause serious damage regardless of its source or the means by which the offending liquid is transmitted. Water has an unmatched ability to corrode and discolor household infrastructure and furnishings. Water damage caused by a leaking dishwasher can be especially problematic.

Most dishwashers occupy a prime location near the physical center of a home's kitchen. Water that leaks from a dishwasher may destroy or discolor all or most of the kitchen's floor tiles, the electrical wiring that serves other kitchen appliances, and any wallpaper or wood trim with which it comes into contact.

In certain circumstances, your homeowner's insurance policy may cover the effects of dishwasher-related water damage. To increase the chances of this outcome, file a claim with your insurer as soon as you discover the leak. You'll need to prove that the leak occurred suddenly and was not the result of improper maintenance. If your dishwasher is relatively new and shows few other signs of wear and tear, your insurer may believe this version of events.

If your dishwasher is older and shows obvious signs of neglect or age, your insurer may argue that you should have replaced the machine before it reached its current condition. If the leak occurred at the junction of the dishwasher's water line and the pipe that connects to your home's water supply, your insurer will argue that you caused the leak by neglecting to maintain your home's plumbing system.

Even if your homeowner's insurance company does not cover the costs associated with repairing the dishwasher-related damage, you may have two other options for securing partial reimbursement. First, read your dishwasher's warranty. If your machine is brand new and causes a catastrophic leak due to a manufacturing flaw, the manufacturer may be liable for the damage to your kitchen. Since recovering such damages may be complicated and time-consuming, you shouldn't expect to receive a payout. The company may still provide you with a complimentary new dishwasher.

You may also look over the work records on your home. If you recently hired a third-party contractor to remodel your kitchen, check to see whether they made any changes or improvements to the area around your dishwasher. If the remodel involved substantial work around the dishwasher or required the unplugging and re-installation of the dishwasher itself, it may have caused the leak.

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