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Is my water damage ‘Sudden’ or ‘Hidden Gradual’ damage?


“A few months ago there was a large storm with hail that caused damage to the roof, but we didn’t notice how damaged the roof actually was. It ended up being a leak that caused further damage over time, and became very costly to fix. Would this be classified as storm damage or gradual damage? What are the differences in terms of claims?”


Initio provides cover for sudden, unexpected or unforeseen events and generally will exclude cover for general wear and tear, or damage that arises over an extended period of time. However, many house insurers like initio will have an additional extension on the policy for ‘Hidden Gradual Water Damage’.

This means there are two types of water damage that can be claimed under insurance: ‘Sudden Water Damage’ or ‘Hidden Gradual Water Damage’.

For cover under the Hidden Gradual Damage extension the water damage must have accrued over a period of time, such as a slow leak, and come from an internal ‘hidden’ water pipe, waste pipe, or tank. Hidden gradual water damage is limited to $3,000.

Immediate water damage such as a burst pipe or overflown sink are considered sudden damage and is covered up to the full sum insured of the house.

Therefore, the resulting damage from the storm would not be covered under the hidden gradual damage extension, as the source of the leak was not from a hidden pipe.

However, storms are considered ‘sudden’ damage meaning the resulting water damage from the storm is covered. Despite that the leak in the damaged roof was ‘gradual’ water damage in nature, the costs to repair would still be covered under insurance as the initial cause from the storm was sudden.