Is Your Pipe Repair Covered by Homeowner Insurance?
Your homeowner insurance is designed to protect you from unexpected issues that cause damage and the need for high cost repairs to your home. This coverage can protect you from issues stemming from faulty installation to aging plumbing. This applies to almost every aspect of your home including insulation, electrical wiring, and plumbing. Should your home have a fracture, collapse or failure of your pipes, it is likely that the damage will be covered under your policy. Whether you are covered will depend on where and when the pipe fails and the nature of the plumbing problem.
When a Pipe Breaks
Typically, unless there is some degree of negligence, a pipe break
is likely to be sudden and covered by your insurance. Should the water line under the property be compromised by fire, earthquake or another environmental issue, prevention of damage is not possible. On the other hand, if your pipes brake due to years of wear and tear, or they have been poorly maintained, there is less chance that your claim will be approved. Most policies cover accidental, non-negligent damage rather than pipe degradation.
When the claims adjuster assesses your claim, they will evaluate the estimated age of the plumbing system, the location of the damage, general weathering and if there are any indications of aging such as rust or corrosion. The claims adjuster will need to consider whether it was possible that the damage could have been prevented with regular care. If your plumbing has been regularly maintained, it is likely that there are no negligent factors, and you would receive full coverage.
Where the Pipe Breaks
Beyond potential negligence and age, the actual location of the damage could also affect your claim. If the break is directly under the foundation, it is very likely that your claim will be approved. Unfortunately, this may not be the case if the break is beyond the foundation. When the pipe is connected to the municipal system, you may have difficulty proving the pipe is on your property and thereby covered by the homeowner insurance.
Your Specific Policy
Before you worry that your claim may not be approved, you need to consider the details of your specific policy. Each insurer has their own particular guidelines and terms for homeowner policies, so you may find that you are covered. Before filing a claim, it is important to check your policy to see how you are covered for pipe damages. Your policy documents should detail the broad coverage for any scenario and whether you are protected from a particular pipe break or plumbing issue. You may want to actually do this WELL BEFORE you actually need your insurance.
One of the best ways to protect your home from damage is preventative maintenance and care. If you can demonstrate to your carrier that any damage is not the result of poor care or negligence, you are more likely to have your claim approved. Sudden, unavoidable damage is covered under almost every homeowner insurance policy, so you should find that you won’t be stuck with the bill for repairing the damage.
By Giovanni Longo President Flood Brothers Plumbing
Giovanni Longo is a 3rd generation master plumber who has been practicing his craft and trade in the greater Los Angeles area for well over a decade and a half. A plumbing and hydraulics-engineering innovator, Giovanni’s particular world-class expertise focuses on dealing with challenging sewer system designs as well as resolving complex commercial and residential draining issues. As a certified Flood Mitigation expert, he is also well versed in a wide variety of water damage and remediation solutions.