Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pipe Replacement?

Fran Majidi
November 17, 2020

Let’s say a pipe bursts in your home. Will your homeowners insurance cover the amount it costs to replace the pipe? Let’s take a look. Water damage and pipe damage may be covered under your homeowners insurance policy if the damage occurs because of something sudden and accidental such as a broken pipe. But if the cause of the damage is gradual damage from lack of maintenance, the insurance company may not pay. Insurance companies exclude problems caused by wear and tear and gradual damage. So water damage that occurs gradually due to a leaky or rusty pipe is generally not covered in a homeowners insurance policy. Most insurance companies would consider your home’s plumbing to fall under normal homeowner maintenance and you would be responsible for making sure pipes are unclogged and generally well maintained. You’re also expected to be on the lookout for mold, mildew and other signs of water damage that may mean there is a small crack, fracture or leak.

Types of Water and Pipe Damages

Water damage that develops due to slow leaking, rusting or deteriorating pipes are not covered under homeowners insurance. Broken or burst pipes, which could damage the entire house, are covered under homeowners insurance if they break suddenly and accidentally. The water damage a burst pipe causes is also covered under the homeowners insurance policy.

But if you ignore a leaking pipe and it suddenly bursts, an insurance company may deny this claim since it was a long term problem that you didn’t attend to. An insurance company could even deny a burst pipe claim, if you are living in a northern climate and lack of heat in your home led to the freezing pipe.

What Happens After A Pipe Bursts

After a pipe bursts accidentally, homeowners insurance covers damages occurring to carpets, rugs, floors, paint and drywall. Any service you would need to clean up the water, dry out the house and to prevent mold would be covered in your insurance coverage as well.

Water Damage From Faulty Plumbing

Water damage from faulty plumbing may be covered by your homeowners insurance policy if the break was abrupt and didn’t accumulate over time. In contrast, if there is evidence that the leak had been happening for some time, an insurance company may refuse to cover the claim.

Wall Repairs

A plumber may need to cut into a wall to get to the suddenly burst pipe and any wall repair costs would be covered by homeowners insurance.

How Your Insurance Policy Covers Burst Pipes and Water Damage

The dwelling coverage of your homeowners insurance policy covers your water heater, your pipes, your ceiling repairs and built-in appliances and plumbing. The personal property coverage of your homeowners insurance policy covers your belongings if they are damaged by a burst pipe. Other structures coverage of your homeowners insurance policy covers water heaters, pipes and ceiling repairs if the damage took place in a guest house or other detached building on your property. Loss of use coverage will reimburse you for hotel and food expenses if the water damage has displaced you from your home.

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What Your Insurance Company Won’t Cover

An insurance company may turn down your insurance claim regarding a pipe in your home, if the pipe shows signs of rust and wear and tear. An insurance company also may turn down a claim regarding a pipe if you left your home freezing cold in the winter, causing the pipe to freeze and burst. Another reason an insurance company may turn down an insurance claim is the age of the plumbing. For example, if your water heater is more than 10-years-old, it needs to be replaced. And an insurance company may not reimburse you if the water heater should break.

Get Your Plumbing Inspected

Have your plumbing inspected by a licensed professional plumber on a regular basis. Keep records of repairs and maintenance. You may need this information if you ever make an insurance claim regarding your plumbing. These maintenance and repair records show your plumbing to be well maintained. Replace any old pipes that are beyond their service years. In northern climates, keep your home’s heat on low during winter months when you are going to be away from your home for a period of time. This will prevent your home’s pipes from freezing.

Review Your Homeowners Policy

Not sure if your insurance company will cover water damage from a burst pipe? Review the exact wording of your homeowners insurance policy with your insurance agent. Check out the exclusions to your policy as well. Re-examine the type of coverage that you have. Make sure you understand what is and what is not covered under your insurance policy. Perform regular maintenance on your home and on your home’s pipes. Make small repairs so you’ll avoid big ones later.

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