Most Common Home Insurance Claims

WRITTEN BY: Mark Romero


Home insurance is more complex than it seems on the surface. As far as claims go, you can file for a wide variety of differing causes. If your home was damaged in a house fire, it’d mean something very different for your claims process than if your home was damaged in a burglary or if you got a roof leak.

We know that sounds unnecessarily confusing. But in general, home insurance claims can be split into five main types:

  1. Weather Damage
  2. Water Damage
  3. Liability Claims
  4. Fire Damage
  5. Roof Damage

#1 Most Common Home Insurance Claims: Weather

First on our list is the most common type of insurance claim: weather. This is a wide category — hurricanes, tornadoes, and hailstorms all fall under weather claims. Wind and hail are the most commonly filed types of claims. Chances are, you’ll have at least one weather incident during your time as a homeowner. But because these are very common claims, the process for filing should be very clearly outlined in your contract.

What’s not covered:

It’s important to remember, though, that weather claims aren’t quite as all-inclusive as one might think. Floods and earthquakes aren’t covered here. So if you live in an area that’s particularly prone to either natural disaster, it may be worth taking out some extra insurance.

And even for things you think are fully covered, like hurricanes, you’ll need to check your specific contract to be sure. Some insurers will only cover hurricane damage up to a point or will technically cover it but exclude any flooding resulting from it. 

Finally, you should remember that almost all insurance policies exclude normal wear-and-tear from their coverage —  so you can’t exactly file a home insurance claim if your front door has worn down over time from the rain just because it’s old.

Instead, save those weather claims for the extreme events, like a broken window from a hailstorm or the hard winds of a hurricane.

#2 Most Common Home Insurance Claims: Water

One in four homeowners will experience water damage —  it’s no joke. That’s why it’s important to be protected. Water damage comes in many different forms. For example, your home could be harmed during a heavy storm or hurricane (in that case, it’d also fall under a weather claim).

Or you could suffer some kind of sewer problem, where a toilet or a drain gets backed up. If an appliance leak or a pipe suddenly breaks and sprays water all over your home, that would also be a water-related claim.

The key to water claims: act fast

Homeowners should also be advised that treating water damage quickly is extremely important. You might not think it’s a big deal, but that broken pipe or leak in your roof could lead to mold and other issues faster than you might think. Plus, mold is not just expensive to fix. It could be dangerous for your health.

What’s not covered:

It may seem counterintuitive, but flood damage is not considered a water claim. It usually requires a separate insurance rider. Furthermore, many insurance policies won’t cover water damage if it results from normal wear-and-tear, like everyday rainstorms over the years, old crumbling pipes, or a longstanding problem that was never fixed. You usually need to notify your insurer pretty quickly.

#3 Most Common Home Insurance Claims: Liability

You might not know this, but if someone is injured while on your property, you could be liable if the cause was due to an unsafe or unmaintained element of your house. For example, if someone slips and falls into your pool because you don’t properly cover and clean it, you could be looking at a potential liability suit.

Fortunately, home insurance covers liability, as well as its related expenses. This includes any medical or legal bills you might have to pay if someone is accidentally injured in your home. 

Liability claims can be split into dog bites and everything else. 

Dog bites are self-explanatory, but the rest of the liability claims are a grab bag: maybe someone slipped on an icy sidewalk or tripped on a loose rug on your floor.

Or maybe someone got hurt in or around your pool or trampoline. (Note: pools and trampolines are some of the riskiest items you can have regarding home insurance.

If possible, it’s probably better to either avoid them completely or be very careful.) Regardless of the cause, it’s your responsibility if an accident happens on your property.

Some dog breeds can affect your insurance rate.

Finally, yes, having a dog can affect your insurance rate. That’s because dog bites are a huge liability issue.

If you have a small dog or one from a typically friendly breed, like a labrador, you may not pay much more in terms of premiums.

But a dog from a breed with a slightly more dangerous reputation, like a pitbull or a rottweiler, will almost certainly affect your premiums or coverage.

In some cases, home insurers won’t cover dog bites at all. So if you have a dog or plan to have one in the future, this is one area of your contract you should pay special attention to.

#4 Most Common Home Insurance Claims: Fire

Fire claims are the most expensive kind of claim and the reason home insurance was invented in the first place. It makes sense, right? What could be a bigger headache than your entire house burning down in a fire?

Furthermore, these claims are generally large and complicated because the damage doesn’t just stop at the initial fire. Smoke, water, and mold could all damage your property during and after the fact if you have a house fire.

Because fire claims present such a large and complex problem, they can take a long time to resolve. If it’s a big fire and your home is unlivable, you may incur living expenses —  temporary lodging, groceries, even medical bills — until your home is fixed and safe to return to.

Your home insurance policy almost certainly covers those living expenses, but there may be a cap on the payout or similar caveats to look out for.

#5 Most Common Home Insurance Claims: Roof

The type of roof you have can dramatically affect how much you pay for insurance or even whether or not you’re able to get it in the first place. Roofs are an expensive component of your house, require regular maintenance, and cause many claims. You probably won’t have a problem getting insured if you have a metal, slate, or tile roof.

Wooden roofs and sometimes asphalt roofs might give insurance companies pause simply because they’re riskier to insure. If you live in a dry area prone to fires, having a roof made of wooden shingles could make finding insurance very hard.

As mentioned before, most insurers won’t cover normal damage from age. So if your roof develops a leak over time or if you fail to maintain it properly, it’ll likely be on you to replace or repair it. On the other hand, filing a claim might be a good idea if your roof is damaged by fire, a windstorm, or hail.

How To Get Coverage for Common Home Insurance Claims

Home insurance is more complex than it seems on the surface. As far as claims go, you can file for a wide variety of differing causes.

If your home was damaged in a house fire, it’d mean something very different for your claims process than if your home was damaged in a burglary or if you got a roof leak.

It’s important to be aware of these distinctions when selecting an insurance policy and, even more important, when making a claim.

Thankfully, getting quotes online is easy and only takes minutes. Comparing policies and providers is the best way to ensure you get the most comprehensive coverage at the best price.