How To Avoid Having A Water Damage Claim Denied
It’s important to have your plumbing inspected by a licensed professional on a regular basis, and maintain records of repairs and the professionals you have hired over the years to do inspections and maintenance. These records could become very important in the event of a claim.
Different portions of your home’s plumbing will have various life spans. Replace pipes that are beyond their intended service lives. In northern climates, be sure to leave your home’s heat on, even if it is set to low, during the winter, especially if you are leaving for an extended period of time.
Every home, regardless of climate, should have a water shutoff valve. Know where this valve is located, and make sure it is operable in case you need to turn off the water quickly.
Additional Coverage To Consider For Plumbing Issues
You can consider additional coverage optionsthat may help protect you from plumbing issues when your standard policy doesnt. The following options may be helpful, especially if you have older plumbing or you live an in area prone to sewage overflows:
- Flood insurance This type of insurance provides coverage for flood damage that occurs outside of your home, which may come in handy if you live on a floodplain or in a coastal community. Youll typically have to purchase it through the National Flood Insurance Program.
- Mold damage You may be able to purchase a mold rider thatll increase your coverage limit and may cover causes of mold typically not covered under a standard policy, such as mold that gradually grows in a damp area.
- Water or sewage backups This type of endorsement coverage will protect you in the event of sewer line or sump pump backups and overflows. Depending on the policy, you may be covered for the cost of repairs and cleanup.
What Types Of Water Damage Are Covered
As a general rule, water damage is typically covered if it results from one of the 16 common perils outlined in basic homeowners insurance, known as HO-3 policies. These named perils are listed in your policy. Some examples of water damage typically covered under a basic HO-3 policy result from:
- Burst pipes and plumbing fixtures
- Heavy rain, wind and hail
- Roof leaks caused by falling objects
- Appliances that break down suddenly
So, if your water damage was caused by a sudden and accidental peril listed in your policy, the damages are likely to be covered. When you file a claim for water damage with your insurance company, an adjuster will inspect your home and determine if the source of the water damage was preventable. Theyll review their findings with you as well as your policy language to determine if the damage is covered.
You May Like: Second To Die Life Insurance
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Plumbing Issues
Homeowners policies may cover plumbing issues depending on the nature of the damage. A policy may cover water damage if it happens suddenly or due to an unforeseen circumstance. But damage that happens gradually or from lack of upkeep usually isnt covered.
Remember, your exact home insurance coverage will depend on your insurance carrier, individual policy, and the state you live in.
What Can I Do As A Renter To Get Water Damage Coverage
Generally speaking, water damage to the rental unit is the responsibility of the unit owner, so any claim for water damage to the walls, floors, or ceilings should be insured by the owner. However, in the case of water damage, your personal property is not included.If you want to make sure your personal property is insured as a renter, be sure to purchase renters insurance, which will cover most of the damage and replacement costs for your personal belongings.
You May Like: What Is Non Medicare Insurance
How Do Adjusters Determine If My Plumbing Problem Is Covered
When you submit a claim for water damage due to a plumbing emergency, the adjuster will assess a few different things:
First, theyll evaluate the location of the damaged pipes or other alternate sources of damage. Theyll examine whether the damage listed in the claim was from a new leak or an old one. Theyll look for signs that this could have been avoided, such as rust or mineral damage. Finally, theyll evaluate whether or not the damage occurred due to simple wear-and-tear, or because of an accident or emergency. Their job is to determine if you, as the homeowner, could have reasonably prevented the problem. If not, then youll receive financial compensation.
When it comes to plumbing and water damage, homeowners insurance is fairly simple. As long as you take care of your plumbing, your insurance should cover you for any emergencies that occur.
When plumbing emergencies do happen, the pros here at Ben Franklin Plumbing has you covered. Call us as soon as you have a problem, and well do everything we can to limit the damage.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Plumbing Breaks Under Slab
- Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Plumbing Breaks Under Slab?
Your plumbing system is a vital part of your home, so you should be happy to know that homeowners insurance covers many instances of sudden and unexpected damage and breaks to your homes plumbing, as well as many instances of water damage caused by your plumbing, including the slab your home sits on. This coverage extends from your slab to anything that makes up your plumbing, including the pipes and faucets.
However, while unexpected damage is covered in many instances, there are also many instances of damage that isnt covered, such as general wear and tear and neglect on your behalf. Lets dive deeper into exactly what plumbing issues should and shouldnt be covered by a homeowners insurance.
Don’t Miss: License Suspended For No Insurance
Pipes That Freeze And Break Due To Neglect
Homeowners insurance generally wont cover water damage resulting from frozen pipes if its determined your house wasnt sufficiently heated when they froze. If your pipes froze because you left your home vacant for an extended period of time and forgot to shut off the water supply, that also wouldnt be covered.
What Is Sudden And Accidental Water Damage
Sudden and accidental means without warningi.e. you couldnt have predicted the problem would occur. This phrase is used to distinguish between water damage claims that usually are covered and those that usually arent.
For example, lets say youve had a leaky bathroom faucet for months and months Dripping water pools on the countertop and flows down the wall. Then one day you notice mold behind your sink and vanity. An insurance company might argue that this is a case of insufficient maintenance on your part, and would likely deny the claim.
Other common examples: a leaky roof, clogged gutters, frozen pipes that burst while youre on winter vacation in Florida. In all of these cases, an insurance company may say that youthe homeownercould have taken steps to prevent the water damage. And you may be stuck footing your own repair bill.
Don’t Miss: Why Life Insurance Is Important
What Exactly Is Homeowners Insurance
A standard homeowners insurance policy insures your homes structure and the catalogued belongings within. A typical policy covers damages incurred by specific types of disaster or accidents. They may also cover bills incurred when if someone else is injured while visiting your home.
There are three main subsets of homeowner insurance coverage: dwelling coverage, property coverage, and ALE coverage. In case of an emergency, dwelling coverage insures the structure of your home and its built-in appliances. Property coverage protects your personal properties. ALE coverage, or Additional Living Expense coverage, helps account for costs of being displaced from your residence after damage. Every policy is different. Most insurance companies offer packages that include one or all of these clauses, depending on what youre looking for.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Your Septic System
Your septic system is covered as part of your other structuresâ insurance.
Generally, your other structures will have insurance coverage for 10% of what your home is insured for. For example, if your home is insured for $250,000, the policy will cover your septic system for up to $25,000.
A special note is on sewer backups. You can often add a âriderâ for coverage of potential sewer line backups. This goes for both systems as well as homes that are connected to the city line. Ask your carrier about this, as itâs often inexpensive to do so at around $50/yr for $5,000 in coverage. Here is some additional info.
Recommended Reading: Website To Compare Car Insurance
Additional Coverage Options For Water Damage
Your standard homeowners insurance policy only covers damages from certain water losses. The following policy options or endorsements help offer the protection you need when your standard policy does not.
- Flood insurance: Flood coverage usually has to be purchased as a separate policy through the national flood insurance program or through a private insurer that offers this policy. It is essential coverage and may be required depending on where you live, which can save you thousands of dollars in home repairs if you live in a flood-prone region.
- Water or sewer backup: If the water or the sewer line running between the city and your house backs up and damages your property, your insurer will not likely pay for it. A water or sewer backup coverage is the endorsement you need to cover those expenses.
- Sump pump backup: You use a sump pump to get standing water or sewage drained out of your house. But sometimes, this pump might back up and cause leaks and flooding. A standard home insurance policy does not cover such incidents, and you might consider purchasing a sump pump backup coverage.
- Mold damage: Home insurance often does not offer coverage against mold damage. You might want to talk to your insurance agent about additional coverage you can purchase if your property is susceptible to mold.
A Pipe That Bursts Suddenly Is Covered By Homeowners Insurance
When a homeowner is wondering, “Does homeowners insurance cover plumbing?” it’s helpful to know that it usually covers sudden and accidental water damage. Damage from a pipe that bursts unexpectedly should fall within that category. The repairs of the pipe itself won’t be covered, but cleanup of the water-related damage is.
Don’t Miss: Life Insurance For People Over 80
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage From Leaking Plumbing
Homeowners insurance may help cover damage caused by leaking plumbing if the leak is sudden and accidental, such as if a washing machine supply hose suddenly breaks or a pipe bursts. However, homeowners insurance does not cover damage resulting from poor maintenance. So, if damage results after you fail to repair a leaky toilet, for example, homeowners insurance likely will not pay for repairs.
A Home Warranty May Help Cover Plumbing Damage When Homeowners Insurance Wont
For homeowners who dont like the nasty shock of sudden repair bills, a home warranty can be a good addition to a homeowners insurance policy. Since so many issues and repairs arent covered by homeowners insurance, the home warranty can pick up some of the coverage. A home warranty is a service agreement that covers the repair or replacement of appliances and home systems. These items that the home warranty company will repair and replace are specified on the service contract. These agreements typically run for 1 year and offer additional peace of mind to homeowners who may not have a lot of money saved up to pay for a new water heater or washing machine. However, a home warranty wont pay for the resulting damage from a leaking water heater or washing machine, regardless of whether it was caused by a sudden and accidental incident or a gradual leak, so its not a replacement for homeowners insurance.
What Plumbing System Parts Are Not Covered By Choice Home Warranty
Choice Home Warrantys user agreement is a useful sample contract that outlines specific exclusions for plumbing coverage. Below are some examples of items that may not be covered by your home warranty plan:
- Known or unknown pre-existing conditions
- Leaks or breaks caused by roots or freezing
- Stoppages and clogs that cant be cleared by cables due to roots or collapsed/damaged lines outside of the homes foundation
- Faucets, fixtures, and showerheads
What To Do If You Have A Leaking Pipe
When you notice a leak, move quickly. Water damage moves fast and can quickly cause thousands of dollars in repairs. In the event of a plumbing leak, here are the steps to follow:
- First you need to find the source of the leak and stop the water from flowing to other parts of the house.
- Take pictures of any damage caused by the water.
- Remove any excess standing water, and make the necessary repairs to prevent further water damage from occurring. Move undamaged items away from the region of the damage. Do not throw anything away until your insurance company’s adjuster can inspect it.
- Look over the details of your policy and make sure the problem is covered by your home insurance. Filing a claim for an uncovered peril will not only be automatically denied, but it may also still raise your premium.
- Compile a list of the damaged items. This is easiest if you have a home inventory list you can refer to while making your list.
- Give your home insurance company a call and initiate the claim process. If you’ve had to do any mitigating repairs, make sure to let them know. They will send you the appropriate documents to fill out and tell you what other steps you need to take.
- Your home insurer will arrange for an adjuster to come to your home to inspect the damage. Make sure you’re available when the adjuster arrives to answer any questions they may have.
Recommended Reading: How Much Does Long Term Care Insurance Cost
Additional Insurance Policies That May Help With Plumbing Damage
If you are worried about water damage to your home from burst pipes, you may want to consider adding certain coverages to your homeowners insurance policy.
- Flood Insurance Homeowners insurance does not typically cover damage caused by an overflowing body of water, like the ocean, river, or lake. To get coverage for these events, you should purchase flood insurance.
- Mold Damage Insurance If your property is at high risk for mold damage, your insurance provider may be able to offer you additional coverage for this risk.
- Sump Pump Insurance If your home uses a sump pump to remove water from your basement or crawlspace, youll most likely need a separate sump pump insurance policy to cover water backups from the sump pump.
Homeowners Insurance May Cover Plumbing Issues If The Damage Happened Suddenly And Unexpectedly
Homeowners insurance may cover plumbing issues depending on the exact nature of the damage. Learn when insurance covers water damage and when it doesnt.
Keeping up with home maintenance is costly enough, but plumbing issues can cost thousands of dollars, if not more, to repair. Homeowners insurance covers damage to some plumbing issues, but what is and isnt covered varies based on the insurance company, policy, and type of water damage.
Lets take a look at what homeowners insurance typically covers, and whether you should purchase additional coverage to provide more protection that your standard policy wont.
Don’t Miss: Colonial Penn Life Insurance Payment
Ensuing Loss And Water Damage Are Covered
There are two types of plumbing systems in most Florida homes. Supply plumbing includes pressurized pipes that carry water into your home and to your fixtures and appliances. Sanitary plumbing, or waste lines carry used water from your toilets, showers, bath tubs, sinks, washing machines and dishwashers to your septic tank or to the sewer.
If water accidentally escapes from either of these plumbing systems, either because the pipes burst, or a cast iron drain pipe has rusted, all damage thats caused by the water is covered .
There must be water damage in order for the loss to be covered. If you have clean water spill onto a tile floor from a broken sink faucet and it causes no damage, there is likely no coverage and no viable insurance claim.
If the water has caused damage, however, your claim is viable. Water leaks may very easily damage laminate floors or lower quality cabinets and vanities. More substantial supply line leaks can cause tiles to de-bond or crack after swelling and contracting the mortar underneath. Water can also easily damage drywall and baseboards.
What To Do If Your Claim Is Denied
If you were denied coverage that you think should have applied to the damage caused by a leaky pipe, you might consider getting a second opinion by a licensed professional or consumer advocacy organization that is familiar with insurance in your region.
Your insurance company may also have an ombuds that can help review your file. You can also contact your state insurance commissioner for guidance or to file a complaint.
Polybutylene And Galvanized Steel Pipes
Home insurers sometimes exclude coverage for polybutylene and galvanized steel pipes in their policies.
Home insurers sometimes exclude coverage for polybutylene and galvanized steel pipes in their policies. Water systems built from these two materials galvanized steel and polybutylene as faulty materials. Builders extensively used polybutylene and galvanized steel materials in plumbing systems during the 20th Century. Some won’t cover these plumbing systems made from these materials.
Galvanized steel, used in home plumbing systems built before the 1960s, leaks dangerous lead in the public water systems.
Polybutylene is a plastic resin that dominated water systems from 1978 to 1995. Chlorine erodes polybutylene pipes, causing them to become brittle, leak water and eventually burst.