Q

Are broken pipes under slab covered by homeowners insurance?

A

Homeowners insurance may cover repairs to your slab if the cause of damage is a burst water line or another covered peril, but your policy won’t cover broken pipe repairs.

Homeowners insurance can help cover the cost of foundation issues — including slab cracks and leaks — if the cause of the damage is covered by your policy. If your slab leaks because of something sudden like a pipe burst or an explosion, homeowners insurance will likely cover the cost of removing the slab and replacing it, but it generally won’t pay to fix the broken pipes. 

If your slab is damaged because of age, normal wear and tear, or something gradual like a plumbing leak or tree root pressure, homeowners insurance likely won’t cover the cost of repairs to your slab or plumbing. 

Key Takeaways

  • Homeowners insurance provides coverage for the structure of your home, including its slab and other parts of the foundation

  • If your slab cracks due to a covered hazard, like a pipe burst, homeowners insurance will likely cover the cost of tearing out and pouring new slab, but pipe repairs will likely not be covered

  • Slab and plumbing issues resulting from age or normal wear and tear are not covered by home insurance

What is a slab leak?

A slab leak refers to a leak in the plumbing beneath your home’s slab, or the concrete foundation on top of which the rest of your home is built. In houses where the water lines are embedded within concrete slab, plumbing leaks often go undetected. This can lead to unusually high water bills, a musty odor throughout your home, low water pressure, and foundation cracks to your floors and walls. 

Does homeowners insurance cover slab leaks?

Homeowners insurance covers the basic structure of your house — including its slab and the rest of your home’s foundation — in the event that it’s damaged by a covered peril. That means if your slab cracks and the cause of the damage is covered by your policy, your homeowners insurance will pay to remove the slab and replace it. 

When are slab leaks covered by homeowners insurance?

Your homeowners insurance policy will list the different types of covered damage. If your home’s slab is damaged by a covered event, your insurer can pay out for removal and repairs. If the slab leak causes water damage to your furniture or other belongings, the personal property coverage portion of your policy can help repair or replace that as well. Causes of slab cracks and leaks that are covered by homeowners insurance include:

  • Burst pipes

  • Explosions

  • Tornadoes

  • Fire

  • Fallen trees

  • Collapse due to the weight of snow, ice, rain, or sleet

  • Frozen plumbing (only if you maintained heat in the home)

  • Sudden cracking of a hot water heating system (like a water heater)

  • Vandalism

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When are slab leaks not covered by homeowners insurance?

Unfortunately, the most common causes of slab cracks and leaks are gradual issues, or simply the natural shifting of the ground, which aren’t covered by homeowners insurance. If your insurer determines that your slab leak is caused by any of the following, you likely won’t be covered for repairs.

  • Natural settling, shrinking, bulging, expansion, and cracking of the foundation

  • Wear and tear, marring, deterioration

  • Earthquakes

  • Flooding

  • Tree root pressure

  • Sinkholes

  • Rodents, insects, and vermin

  • Faulty design or construction

Does homeowners insurance cover plumbing breaks under slab?

Though homeowners insurance covers slab leaks and water damage caused by burst pipes, it typically won’t cover the cost to fix the broken pipes. If you find out that your pipes are broken but there isn’t any actual damage to your slab, you’ll likely have to pay out of pocket to tear out the slab and repair or replace the broken pipes. 

To avoid a situation like this, be sure to have your slab inspected every couple of years by a foundation contractor. They may be able to spot issues and warning signs that you’ve missed.

How to tell if you have a slab leak

If your home has a slab leak, you’ll likely know if you begin to notice any of the following:

  • Cracks in the slab

  • Higher water bills than usual

  • Damp spots on the floor or carpet

  • The smell or mold or mildew

  • Warm areas of the floor

  • Low water pressure

  • The sound of water running

How much does it cost to repair a slab leak?

Most homeowners pay an average of $2,280 for slab leak repairs, according to Home Advisor. 

Keep in mind that prior to paying you out for covered damage to your slab, you’ll have to pay a policy deductible before your insurance company will cover the remainder of the loss. If the damage to your slab is only slightly more than your policy deductible, you may want to reconsider filing a claim. Claims related to water damage and foundation issues tend to result in higher rates, so be sure to weigh the pros and cons prior to going ahead with the claim.