Will Your Insurance Cover Broken Pipes?
Homeowners insurance can be a lifesaver. If you have a major disaster, like a fire or a flood, you could be out tens of thousands of dollars for repairs or renovations. Fortunately, in most circumstances, your insurance should be there to pick up most or all of the cost. However, there are some scenarios where your insurance could refuse to honor a claim, leaving you holding the bag for the entire bill. For example, if you experience a plumbing leak caused by your own negligence, you might be on your own.
Gradual Leaks Need Not Apply
Water damage is one of the most common causes of homeowner’s insurance claims. And while your insurance company is there to help you in a time of need, that doesn’t absolve you of the basic responsibility to take care of your plumbing system. That means you’re still responsible for maintenance to prevent or remedy normal wear and tear. A prime example – if you experience gradual water damage from a hidden plumbing leak, your insurance policy is unlikely to cover the expenses, because finding and fixing the leak is considered a part of normal home maintenance.
Similarly, if you have an old washing machine or dishwasher that is on the fritz for a long time, you could be exposed to repair costs when the appliance finally bites the dust in a puddle of water. What’s more, most homeowners’ policies won’t cover sewage backup without a special rider, and flooding from an outside source like a river is almost never covered without specific flood insurance.
Sudden and Accidental Damage
Frozen pipes are another possibility to be aware of since they cause problems for many homeowners every winter. The same rules apply – if you don’t bother to prevent your pipes from freezing, you won’t be covered, especially if you leave your home unheated for days at a time.
So what will insurance pay for? In general, insurance exists to cover sudden and accidental damage to your home. That means if an appliance malfunctions unexpectedly, or a pipe bursts when it could not have been foreseen, you are likely to have recourse. Make sure you keep records of all your purchases and maintenance so you can prove to your insurer that you have been diligent about keeping up on preventative household maintenance, as this will increase your chances of having a claim honored.
Keep Your Household Plumbing in Tip-Top Shape
Check with your specific policy so you know for sure what is covered, what isn’t, and whether the insurer provides for things like remediation of mold damage that results from a plumbing leak.