Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover Plumbing Repairs?

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Sudden plumbing malfunctions, like a burst pipe, are usually covered by your home insurance policy. Gradual damage and other side-effects of faulty plumbing, like mold, may not be covered.
Depending on your home insurance, water damage and other fallout from plumbing disasters will be covered under dwelling coverage or property coverage. Things like sewage backup may need to be added to your insurance plan separately.
To help you figure out what is and isn’t covered, the insurance super app Jerry is here with the answers to whether your home insurance policy covers plumbing repairs.

Does homeowners insurance cover plumbing?

Burst pipes and sudden plumbing issues should be covered by your homeowners insurance. There are different types of coverage in your homeowners insurance plan that apply to different kinds of damage.

Types of coverage

  • Dwelling Coverage: This clause of your homeowners insurance covers damage to the actual structure of your home. Walls, floorboards, and the roof fall under this type of coverage. It may also cover appliances that are built into your home, such as water heaters.
  • Property Coverage: If a plumbing problem results in damage to your furniture, clothing, or other personal belongings, this clause of your policy will reimburse you for your loss. However, more expensive items, like jewelry, may only be covered up to a certain amount. You can adjust this section of your policy if you require additional coverage.
  • Additional Living Expenses (ALE) Coverage: If you need to relocate while repairs are being made, ALE coverage will reimburse you for hotel stays, meals, and travel expenses. It is also called “loss of use” coverage.

What plumbing damage isn’t covered?

Damage that results from negligence may not be covered. It’s important to maintain your home’s plumbing and fix small problems right away. If you notice that there’s a small leak from an appliance or a pipe, address the leak as soon as possible.
Things like mold, old pipes, or improperly installed plumbing may not be covered as they don’t fall under sudden plumbing damage. It is considered the homeowner’s responsibility to prevent these problems or replace faulty plumbing before issues occur. However, it’s possible to add these conditions to your existing policy. 
Bellied, or sunken, pipes are often not covered by homeowners insurance. Sewage and water waste lines often will only be covered if the damage is a result of poor workmanship, the pipe’s location, or an “act of God.” You can add additional riders or endorsements to your insurance to make sure these are covered.
Key Takeaway: Mold, sewage backup, and damage resulting from negligence may not be covered by your homeowners insurance.

How to prevent plumbing problems

Check your plumbing on a regular basis to prevent any major problems. You may hear dripping in the wall or a part of your home may smell musty if there is something wrong. If you can’t access an area of pipes but believe there is a leak, get it checked out as soon as possible.
Replacing old pipes can make a huge difference in keeping your home’s plumbing issue-free. Additionally, winterizing pipes to prevent freezing is a good idea if you live in a colder area. If you’re going away on a trip, leave your home at a comfortable temperature to avoid frozen pipes.

What if I find a leak in my home?

If you find an active leak in your home, address it right away. You must stop the leak as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

Turn off the water supply

Turn off the water supply as soon as possible. If the leak is localized to a specific area, such as a laundry room or under the sink, shut off the corresponding valve. It may be necessary to shut off the water supply for the whole house if the leak is coming from a pipe.

Document the damage

Take photos of the leak and anywhere that water has spread. It’s important to have photos to provide your home insurance agent if you make a damage claim. Taking a moment to document the plumbing issue can save you a lot of hassle in the long run.

Shut off sources of electricity

If there is water on the floor or the ceiling, turn off any electrical appliances or sources that could pose a shock hazard.

Elevate furniture and belongings

If water has spread over the floor, remove anything that could be damaged. Although homeowners insurance may cover some water damage to personal property, try and prevent as much damage as possible.

Remove water as soon as possible

Standing water can continue to damage your home even after the leak has been stopped. Floors and baseboards can absorb water and buckle. Water also may run down vents or walls. If the water level is considerable, you may need to use a pump to remove it.

Initiate a claim with your homeowners insurance provider

Contact your homeowners insurance and let them know what happened. Home insurance usually covers plumbing repairs resulting from burst pipes and other unavoidable plumbing issues. Depending on your policy, you may be reimbursed for repairs and other costs.
Key Takeaway: If you find a leak in your home, address it as soon as possible to prevent further damage.

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If your claim is denied, the insurance company may have decided that the damage resulted from homeowner negligence. For example, if a small plumbing issue in your home was not fixed and led to a major problem, you’d be responsible for the damage.
Your claim also may be denied if the cause of damage was not covered under the policy. Although most policies cover sudden and inevitable plumbing problems, things like mold or a backed-up sewer line may not be included.
Standard homeowners insurance covers sudden and unavoidable water damage as a result of burst pipes. However, there are different areas of coverage and clauses you can add to your policy to cover things like mold, sewage backup, and additional content coverage.

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