Plumbing problems aren’t just a nuisance. They can also cause major damage to your home. We’ve seen small pinhole leaks which resulted in thousands of dollars of damage to homes. Yes, all those small drops of water can quickly add up into a home disaster. Luckily, most home insurance policies do cover water damage from plumbing problems – but there are serious restrictions you should be aware of.
Sudden Plumbing Problems vs. Maintenance Problems
Homeowners insurance policies are filled with loopholes which restrict what they will cover. With water damage from plumbing problems, they usually will only cover damages resulting from sudden, accidental problems. For example, a burst pipe would probably be covered under your insurance policy. It would probably also cover damage from an appliance hose which burst, resulting in water damage.
By contrast, homeowners insurance will not cover plumbing problems which are a result of poor maintenance. So, any ongoing problem such as repeated leaks or water seepage aren’t going to be covered.
Even if the plumbing problem was sudden, the insurance company might claim it was a maintenance problem. For example, if you have old pipes and one of them bursts, the adjuster might say that you should have been aware of the condition of your pipes and taken steps to replace them. Thus, the burst pipe is a result of poor maintenance and not covered.
What You Will Be Reimbursed For
Insurance companies will generally only cover the cost of damages from the water, but not the costs of fixing the plumbing problem. If you have experienced significant water damage, then this coverage can be quite a lot.
Note that a common problem with water damage is mold growth, which creates its own set of problems and is pricy to cleanup. Home insurance companies used to regularly cover mold damage cleanup, but they have started to exclude this from policies. Check your policy to see if you have coverage.
Is It Even Worth It to File a Water Damage Claim?
You might want to think twice before calling your insurance company about a water damage claim from plumbing problems. You might be able to get reimbursed for the costs of cleanup and damages, but it is almost inevitable that your insurance premiums will go up. Often, people who file water damage claims get dropped from coverage and it can be next to impossible to find a new insurance provider. Get an estimate on how much the damage cleanup will really cost, factor in your deductible, and then decide whether it is worth it to file an insurance claim.