Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Plumbing and Pipe Leaks?

26 Jan
Home Insurance Cover Plumbing

Home Insurance Cover Plumbing – if the damage occurred gradually due to a slow and constant leak you may be on the hook for the cost of repairs.

There are few things worse than coming home to a room full of water thanks to a broken or leaking pipe.

While your homeowners insurance policy will absolutely cover most sudden and unexpected water damage due to a plumbing malfunction or a broken pipe, if the damage occurred gradually due to a slow and constant leak you may be on the hook for the cost of repairs.

Flood damage is also not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. In order to be fully protected against flood damage you must carry a separate flood insurance policy.

Depending on your exact policy it is also possible that mold damage may also not be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy.

Let’s have a quick look at the details of exactly what is covered and what is not covered when it comes to broken or leaking pipes and water damage.

Leaking or Broken Pipes

Under most circumstances your homeowners insurance policy should cover any sudden and accidental water damage that results from a plumbing failure. This can include a burst pipe due to freezing, a ruptured water heater or any other sudden and unexpected pipe breakage.

The key phrase here is sudden and accidental, if you fail to repair a minor leak and it later causes major damage to your home you may not be covered.

A homeowners policy should protect your dwelling as well as your personal property that is damaged by water. Your dwelling consists of the structure of your home and includes walls, roofs and floors as well as any built in appliances and mechanical systems such as heating, air-conditioning and water heaters.

In addition, your policy should replace any personal property that is damaged due to a plumbing failure. Personal property includes things such as your clothing, furniture electronics, books and other personal property.

It should be noted that most homeowners insurance policies have a cap on luxury items. Jewelry, artwork, collectibles and even firearms can have a coverage limit of roughly $1,500-$2,000. If you have the luxury items that exceed those dollar amounts you may want to consider adding a rider to your policy to fully protect your luxury items.

Finally, most homeowner insurance policies will also cover additional living expenses. This coverage reimburses you for hotel, food and travel expenses if you are unable to stay in your home due to water damage.

Plumbing Damage That is Not Covered

Sudden and unexpected plumbing damage should almost always be covered however there are situations where your insurance company will disagree with or deny your claim.

Once a claim is made an insurance adjuster will come out to assess the damage as well as look for the cause. They will often look at the location of the pipes and what caused the break or leak. They will also try to determine whether the water damage is from an old or new leak and if there are signs of deterioration such as rust or a lack of maintenance that led to the plumbing failure.

If the assessor decides that the leak was caused due to your failure to maintain your home it is possible your claim will be denied

The majority of homeowners policies will not cover water damage that occurs due to normal wear and tear or a lack of maintenance on your part. As an example if you notice a minor leak but failed to have it repaired and it leads to a much larger leak that causes significant damage to your home, you will not be covered.

Insurance policies require that you maintain your home to a reasonable degree and repair minor damage in a timely manner and if you fail to do so your coverage is void.

It is also possible that a burst pipe due to freezing may be denied but only if you completely turn off the heat in your home and the temperature drops causing your pipes to freeze and burst. If you maintain a reasonable temperature in your home burst pipes due to freezing should be covered.

Sewer Backup

A standard homeowners policy will not cover a backed up sewage system. However, the majority of insurance companies offer a very affordable rider that will cover sewer damage. Industry experts recommend purchasing this affordable coverage because sewer backups can be very expensive to repair.

Flood Damage

Flood damage is always excluded from standard homeowners policy. In order to fully protect your home from flood damage you will need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy. The National Flood Insurance Program sells flood insurance and pricing can vary dramatically depending on the location of your home.

Flood insurance can be a financial lifesaver if your home is flooded. The cost of repairing your home and replacing all your personal property can be astronomical. If you live in a flood zone you should absolutely consider purchasing a flood insurance policy. 

Mold Damage

In most cases, homeowners insurance does not cover mold damage. There can be exceptions if the mold results from a covered leak. As an example if you have a burst pipe due to a covered risk such as freezing and the water damage created a mold issue your insurance company should pay to repair the mold damage.

Most homeowner insurance policies do limit mold damage coverage and reimbursement for mold remediation. Limits can range between $1,000 and $10,000 and in many cases that will not be enough money to properly repair extensive mold damage. Review your policy to verify the limits and if necessary purchase a mold rider to up your coverage levels.

The Bottom Line

When it comes to burst or leaking pipes and water damage the most important thing to do is to make immediate temporary repairs to avoid further damage. This will help ensure that your insurance company will cover the damage.

If you fail to repair or fix small leaks you may find yourself on the hook for the damages if it eventually becomes a major issue.

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