The easy answer to that question is, that depends.
In many, if not most, cases, as long as you are unaware of a problem and the plumbing suddenly springs a leak, your homeowners’ policy should cover it. There is a catch, however; while your policy may cover water damage because the plumbing leaked, it is unlikely they will pay to repair the leak itself. Because of that, you may find the insurance company will cover the damage, but you’ll have to foot the bill for making sure it doesn’t happen again.
In summary, while your homeowners’ insurance policy will likely cover any water damage you may have due to plumbing issues, it most likely will not cover the repairs to the plumbing system itself.
Check Your Policy and Know Possible Policy Exclusions
Every homeowner should always be at least generally aware of what is and isn’t covered by their homeowners insurance policy. When something happens, you will experience greater peace of mind if you know what is likely to be covered in advance of your claim. To understand more about the types of damage your homeowner’s policy covers from the start, you should contact your insurance agent to discuss. If you’re worried about what your insurance doesn’t cover, give your insurance agent a call to find out what kinds of additional coverage may be added to your existing policy, such as coverage to pay for damage to your home caused by sewer and drain backups, which is not typically covered under a standard plan.
Most standard homeowners’ insurance policies come with common coverage limits and exclusions. For example, generally speaking, homeowners policies won’t cover damage caused by pipes that freeze and burst if your home is unoccupied at the time. You should also check to see if your policy includes a maintenance clause. If it has one, and you suffer damage that is caused by a condition easily fixable and which would have prevented major damage, the insurance company may decide to reject your claim, or they may pay the claim, then raise your premium.
At least one major study has determined that plumbing leaks and broken appliances are the most common causes of household water damage, since more than half of damages come from a broken pipe or a leaky appliance hose. As noted, most policies will cover the water damage from a hose that leaks or bursts, but won’t pay to repair or replace the hose or appliance. You are also responsible for paying any deductible that applies in those instances.
Prevent Future Problems and Coverage May Not Matter
Regardless of your homeowner’s insurance, you will want to protect your home from unnecessary (and potentially uncovered) water damage, which means taking simple steps now that can prevent a big headache later. For example, only operate appliances when you are at home. That way, if something goes wrong, you can easily shut off the water supply. In addition, perform regular maintenance, like checking appliance hoses for wear and tear. By conducting regular inspections, you can detect problems early, when they are cheaper and easier to fix.
If at all possible, invest in affordable, steel-braided hoses, which are available at home improvement and hardware stores, because they are more durable than rubber hoses. They are easy to install, and they can prevent a lot of problems later on. Also, to prevent damage from frozen pipes, always allow them to drip slowly when the outside temperature drops below 20 degrees Fahrenheit, and if you’re going to be away for an extended period during a cold spell, drain the water from your pipes as a way to prevent damage if pipes freeze.
Put simply, taking steps to prevent problems means it may not matter what your homeowner’s policy covers or doesn’t.