Nothing lasts forever, and that includes plumbing. If it did, there would be no reason for homeowners insurance, would there?
When you encounter water underneath your bathtub, seeping from beneath your toilet, or gushing from a pipe under your kitchen sink, the first thing you should do is turn off the water supply. The second item on the agenda, as you’re mopping up the water, should be to check if it’s covered by your insurance policy.
Are leaky plumbing joints covered under your homeowners insurance? That’s a tricky question to answer. Here’s what you should know about plumbing leaks and your policy.
Does your homeowners insurance policy cover leaky plumbing joints?
Whether or not your home insurance will cover your plumbing leak isn’t a simple, sweeping answer; it depends on the situation. For water leaks, most policies cover you for the water damage that occurs from a sudden or accidental mishap but not against wear and tear.
What does that mean for you? Consider a few scenarios.
Your hot water tank blows up. Your 10-year-old water heater suddenly erupts in a cascade of near-boiling water and sediment from the tank. It’s definitely unexpected, so a comprehensive home insurance policy will likely cover the resulting water damage up to your coverage limit. But since the water heater is old and due for replacement, you’ll likely be responsible for that cost.
Your finished basement floor is stained from a slow tap leak. The taps on your laundry tub aren’t properly sealed and drip constantly. The water puddles, spreads, and has now stained the carpet and swollen the drywall in your basement. Since it’s a leak that you should’ve seen and repaired, preventing the damage, insurance will chock it up to your responsibility as wear and tear.
A newly installed toilet leaks past the seal. A contractor has just finished your bathroom renovation. Days later, water leaking from the toilet drain has damaged your vanity, swollen the subfloor, and leaked through your basement ceiling. Since it’s accidental and you’ve done due diligence in hiring a plumber to install your fixtures, your claim is probable to be approved.
Whether exposed or hidden behind walls, seals and joints are expected to eventually deteriorate. When that happens, it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to catch it before it causes damage or risk the claim being denied.
How to prevent leaking plumbing seals and joints
There are ways you as a homeowner can help prevent leaks from plumbing joints and seals.
Keep your home above freezing temperature. If you go away in winter, keep your thermostat set well above freezing to prevent water lines from freezing and bursting.
Hire a professional plumber. If you aren’t confident performing DIY plumbing projects, hire a professional plumber to ensure much higher odds of lasting success.
Prevent corrosion. Areas with hard water can experience higher frequency of plumbing fixture and joint failure as iron and calcium corrode the joins. Install a water softener if required.
Inspect your plumbing lines annually. Check for drips or leaks wherever you can and repair even the smallest issue.
Types of water leaks home insurance covers
Although leaking joints and seals can be a little tricky to navigate, other water leaks have a more defined answer. Largely, water leaks that originate inside your home and are accidental or sudden are covered. That includes burst pipes, faulty fire-mitigation sprinklers, and roof leaks.
If you purchase an endorsement on your homeowners insurance policy, you can also protect yourself against costs from sewer backup and sump overflow. And if you’re in a flood-prone area, adding a rider for flood coverage is also a great idea.