Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Heaters?

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Bath (Photo: @sashapritchard via Twenty20)
Hot showers are one of those things you take for granted, that is … until your hot water heater malfunctions or breaks. If you’ve ever experienced an unexpected blast of cold water when you weren’t expecting it, you know how unpleasant it can be.
On average, a water heater repair costs between $150 to $400. If you plan on replacing your water heater, expect to spend at least $1,000 or more depending on the type and size of your water heater.
That being said, if your hot water were to break or become damaged, would the repair or replacement be covered by your standard homeowners insurance policy? Here’s what you need to know.

When would my home insurance policy cover a broken or damaged water heater?

Your water heater is likely covered if it was damaged by a listed peril in your homeowners insurance policy. However, most perils are limited to unexpected and unavoidable occurrences, like fire, inclement weather, and criminal activity. For instance, if lightning traveled through your water pipes and broke your water heater, you would likely be covered.
If you successfully claim your damaged or broken water heater on your standard policy, it would pay for the repair, replacement, and water damage that occurred as a result of the broken water heater.

When would my home insurance policy not cover a broken or damaged water heater?

If your hot water heater simply stops working because of age, neglect, or damage due to wear and tear, your insurance company will not cover the repair or replacement.
Flood insurance and earthquake insurance are also commonly left out of homeowners insurance policies (even though they are unavoidable and unexpected). Therefore, if you live in a flood-prone area, it is recommended you get additional coverage for earthquake and flood damage.

What can I do to protect my home?

Here are a few things you can do to prevent hefty water heater repair or replacement bills.
Perform regular maintenance: Make sure to perform regular maintenance on your water heater, including draining the tank and inspecting the water heater at least once a year.
Replace ancient water heaters: If your water heater is nearing the end of its warranty period, you might consider having it replaced. It’s better to pay a little bit to have it replaced rather than waiting for it to fail and have to pay for damages.
Know exactly what your policy says: Most importantly, know what your homeowners policy says when it comes to your water heater.
Get home appliance insurance: You should also strongly consider getting Home Appliance Insurance or equipment breakdown coverage. This type of insurance provides coverage for the servicing, repair, and replacement of the appliances in your home.