Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pipe Replacement?
While it’s not always required by law, homeowners insurance is a must-have for many. Homeowners insurance protects you from unexpected costs caused by damages and mitigates losses to your private property and assets in your house.
In plumbing, home insurance covers damage and losses caused by accidental and sudden damage to your pipes, including plumbing malfunction or a burst pipe. Homeowners insurance also covers some damage when you’re not liable, namely, damages caused by your neighbor’s plumbing or if the plumber makes a mistake during repairs or while installing your pipes.
However, there are limits to your home insurance coverage. The type of coverage you can get depends on your insurance company. Some examples of this are sump pump coverage and water backup coverage.
Most policies don’t cover damages caused by gradual deterioration of your pipes, such as ones caused by leaks, corrosion, or normal wear and tear. When there are signs of negligence, such as lack of maintenance or old plumbing systems, your insurance might also not cover damages or repairs. Additionally, most insurance providers won’t cover mold and water damage caused by flooding.
However, you can purchase additional coverage or a rider for a small monthly fee to add coverage to your home insurance plan. For example, most policies only cover flood damage when:
- It’s caused by broken appliances, such as a water heater or a washing machine.
- It’s caused by frozen pipes bursting.
- A tub, pool, or sink overflows.
In most cases, adding a flood insurance policy to your existing plan will allow you to file an insurance claim for flood damage (even if it’s a natural disaster) for a small monthly fee.
What Coverage Do I Need for Broken Pipes?
The damages caused by broken pipes affect much of your property’s value. Make sure you include the following sections in your home insurance policy: dwelling coverage, loss of use coverage, and property coverage.
Dwelling coverage includes the physical damage to the structure of your home, connected structures, and the structure within. However, if you have a detached building in your home, such as a separate garage, it might not be covered within your dwelling coverage. Your homeowner’s insurance covers plumbing repair costs through dwelling coverage and most likely the costs of repairing your pipes. It’s best to check with your insurance agent to learn exactly what’s covered by your insurance company, including the limit and deductible of your homeowner’s insurance.
Since it covers the cost of repairing or rebuilding components of your house’s structure, the limit of a dwelling coverage depends on the estimated cost of rebuilding your house. Your dwelling coverage limit will also determine the limit of the rest of your homeowner’s insurance policies.
Loss of use coverage
Loss of use coverage, or often called “additional living expenses coverage,” covers a portion of your reasonable living expenses in the event that your house becomes uninhabitable because of losses. This includes costs such as temporary housing, pet boarding, moving costs, and other living expenses.
In most cases, your loss of use coverage depends on the limit on your dwelling coverage and is a percentage of it. It’s best to check with your insurance provider as the limit varies for each.
Personal property coverage reimburses you for damaged assets that are caused by covered incidents. The policy usually covers the cost of replacing or rebuilding your personal property. These include things like furniture, clothing, jewelry, and electronics.
Certain luxury items, such as jewelry and electronics, may have a sub-limit to how much which will be covered by your insurance.
How Can I Tell if I Have a Leak?
Having the above three insurance coverage types is perfect in case a pipe burst causes significant damage to your home and belongings. However, even if you’re covered by insurance, that doesn’t mean you can ignore the leaks in your plumbing system.
Remember that your insurance coverage is void if the insurance adjuster, a trained investigator that determines your liability in an accident, decides that you’ve been negligent as a homeowner. You still need to do regular maintenance to make sure that you can prevent any failure or water damage in a timely manner.
Routine maintenance of your plumbing system is necessary, and fixing leaky pipes is critical if you want to avoid big accidents like a pipe burst.
Here are some of the signs of a leak:
Smell of mold
The smell of mold, or a musty smell in one of your rooms, signals the growth of mold. It thrives in places with high moisture content, which indicates a possibility of a leak.
Some types of mold are even detrimental to your health, and you need to contact specialists to remove these kinds of mold. If you sense mold is developing, contact a professional immediately.
Sound of dripping water
Listening for the sound of dripping water is one of the fastest ways to discover leaks.
Besides the sound of dripping water, other unusual sounds can also signify a failure in your plumbing system. If you hear hissing or rattling in your pipes, it might mean that you have a pinhole leak or something came loose in your plumbing system.
Unusually high water bill
Another noticeable sign of a leak is an unusual spike in your water bills. According to the US Environmental Protection Agency, fixing small leaks can help you save 10% on your water bills. It’s also mentioned that if a family of four uses over 12,000 gallons per month during winter months like January or February, it’s highly likely that you have a leak in your home.
Soft or dark spots on ceilings, walls, or floors
Water spots are soft and discolored areas that usually show up beneath the leak. In your ceilings, these spots are commonly accompanied with sagging, which could be dangerous (it may even mean your ceilings are at the risk of collapsing).
If your ceiling, walls, or floors are made of wood or drywall, it’s likely that the damage will be more noticeable as they absorb moisture.
Decreased water pressure throughout the house
Decreased water pressure is another sign of a water leak, and it’s one that should signal you to start looking for the source!
However, decreased water pressure can also be caused by a blockage in your pipes. Whether it’s a leak or a blockage, call your plumber right away. They’re both problems that can cause extensive damages if ignored.
When you discover leaking pipes, or suspect a leak, call a professional plumber right away for an inspection. You also need to be responsive to other maintenance issues, as your homeowner’s insurance will be void if the adjuster discovers that you’ve been negligent.
ePIPE’s Fast and Affordable Solution
Having homeowners insurance will allow you to have peace of mind, as you won’t have to worry about the damages caused by faulty piping.
However, it’s only one piece of the puzzle. For the insurance to be truly usable, you need to be vigilant and proactive.
Keeping up with regular maintenance on your pipes is one precursor you need to fulfill, as you need to show your insurance adjuster that you’ve not been negligent.
Discovering leaks is tricky at times, and you’ll likely need a professional to confirm your hunches. Rather than going through the stress of finding leaks in your pipes before it’s too late, restore your pipes with ePIPE today. Preventive measures like ePIPE’s protective barrier coating is a fast and affordable method of pipe restoration.
Nobody wants to file a water damage claim. Contact us today to see how you can avoid doing so with ePIPE!