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Homeowners insurance coverage and burst pipes

Are Burst Pipes Covered In My Home Insurance Policy?

Pipe leaks and burst pipes can do serious damage to a house if left unattended. But with repair costs averaging at $900, a lot of people can end up prolonging the damage because they still need to manage their resources to accommodate such an expense. Fortunately, typical homeowners insurance can provide some financial coverage for such repairs.

However, just like with any other home insurance, insurers will still need to investigate the damage to your home to confirm whether they can cover your house repairs or not. Read on below to find out how insurers decide on which types of plumbing damage they can cover.

How Do Insurers Assess Plumbing Damage?

The key to finding out whether the plumbing damage in your home will be covered by your insurer or not is knowing how the insurance adjuster will assess the burst pipes or pipe leaks in your home. 

You see, even though homeowners insurance usually covers damages caused by burst pipes or pipe leaks, there are still certain scenarios that can cause your insurance claim to get rejected. Insurance adjusters usually look for evidence that can tell them whether you could have prevented the damage or not. If they prove that the damage could have been prevented, your insurance claim may get rejected. 

Some things the insurance adjuster will investigate include:

  • Where the pipes are located
  • Other sources of plumbing damage
  • The age of the damage (If it’s new or old)
  • Signs of wear and tear like rust

The Types of Plumbing Damage That’s Covered

House damages from burst pipes and pipe leaks are some types of plumbing damages that can be covered by the standard homeowners insurance policy. Here are three common clauses in homeowners insurance policies that can help you fully understand the specific types of damages your home insurance can cover:

1. Property Coverage

This means your homeowners insurance will provide coverage for damages personal property. Personal properties include appliances, furniture, clothing, and jewelry. Do take note that when it comes to jewelry, your insurer will only reimburse you up to your limits.

2. Dwelling Coverage

The dwelling coverage states that your home insurance will cover the costs of repairing damaged structures like walls and floorboards in your home.

3. ALE Coverage

ALE stands for “Additional Living Expenses.” Additional Living Expense coverage refers to reimbursements to food, lodging, and clothing expenses if you need to find accommodation while your home is uninhabitable due to repairs.

The Causes of Plumbing Damage That’s Not Covered 

As mentioned above, burst pipes and pipe leaks can be covered by home insurance policies but there are still scenarios that can cause a rejected insurance claim. Causes that may lead to rejected home insurance claims include the following:

Flooding

If your insurance adjuster sees any signs that the damages in your home is flooding, you can expect your insurance claim to get rejected. Flooding isn’t included in most homeowners insurance policies. It’s a good idea to look into a separate insurance policy for flooding if you live in a flood-prone area.

Mold

Similar to damages caused by flooding, you will also need to get a separate insurance policy for mold damage. However, if the mold is caused by leaky pipes, your homeowners insurance claim may get accepted by your insurer. 

Maintenance

Since plumbing failure usually occurs due to lack of maintenance, insurers choose not to cover plumbing damages caused by wear and tear. It is for this reason that homeowners should always file insurance claims immediately after discovering plumbing damage in their homes. The age of the damage itself is a determining factor that insurance adjusters always investigate.

Sewage

Sewage back up is another plumbing failure that may not be covered by your home insurance policy. Unless you availed a sewer backup as a rider, your chances at getting an insurance claim for sewage back up damage approved is very slim. 

Winter

Though burst pipes are often covered by most homeowners insurance policies, burst pipes during the winter season are a completely different case. People who leave their homes without heat during the winter season are susceptible to frozen pipes that can burst anytime. Burst pipes caused by freezing isn’t usually covered by homeowners insurance because it’s viewed as a completely preventable cause.

Tips for Getting Your Insurance Claim Approved

Now that you’re familiar with how insurance adjusters investigate plumbing damages and what types of damages are and aren’t covered by homeowners insurance policies, here are a few tips to take note of to increase the chances of having your insurance claim approved.

1. Perform regular maintenance

Performing regular maintenance checks is one thing you can do to ensure a payout for a claim. Remember, when it comes to house damages, insurance adjusters check whether the damage is old or new. If you always perform maintenance checks, you would be less likely to end up with an old plumbing issue.

2. Keep things clean

Try to perform general cleaning once or twice a month in your basement, laundry room, garage, cabinets under sinks, and crawl spaces. Doing so will help you avoid mold problems that may not be covered by your home insurance.

3. Report damages immediately

Do not wait to file a report once you find plumbing damage in your home. The longer you wait to report the damages, the smaller your chances of getting your insurance claim approved will be.

4. Consult a contractor

If you’re unsure as to what caused the plumbing damage in your home or if you simply want to know how much your house repairs will cost, the best thing you can do is consult a contractor. Contractors can help you find out the root cause of your plumbing issues and they can help validate the insurance adjuster’s assessment.

5. Avoid using the word “flood”

One of the things that can ultimately slim your chance of getting your home insurance claim approved is any sign of flooding. This is why it’s best to avoid using the word “flood” when you’re speaking to your agent. 

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