Q

Does homeowners insurance cover clogged pipes?

A

No, homeowners insurance generally doesn’t cover maintenance issues like clogged pipes, but you may be able to add water backup coverage to your policy to cover damage from sewage backup.

Homeowners insurance will cover your pipes and plumbing, but typically only for damage that is considered sudden and accidental, like if your pipes abruptly burst. Homeowners insurance does not cover maintenance issues because insurance companies generally consider it your responsibility as the homeowner to take care of the upkeep of your property.

That means if your pipes clog because they are old or rusted, or because you’ve neglected their maintenance, your homeowners insurance company may reject your claim. That said, you may be able to add an endorsement to your policy to cover specific risks that can cause pipes to clog, like sewage backup, sump pump backup, or water backup coverage.

KEY TAKEAWAYS

  • Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover clogged pipes or any other maintenance issues that would be considered preventable damage

  • Homeowners insurance also won’t cover your pipes if they clog because they are old, rusted, or clogged with mold

  • You should consider adding sewer backup or sump pump coverage to your policy to protect your pipes and plumbing from water backup damage

When does homeowners insurance cover clogged pipes?

Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover maintenance issues like clogged pipes. Your pipes don’t just suddenly clog overnight, it generally happens over time and is therefore preventable. Your insurance company likely also won’t pay for the cost of a plumber to fix clogged pipes either.

However, your insurance company may pay for your pipes if they leak or cause sudden water damage to your home or personal property, and you can prove it’s not due to a maintenance issue. If the water damage is severe enough to make your home uninhabitable, you may be able to file a loss-of-use claim and your homeowners insurance can help pay for you to live elsewhere while your home is being repaired.

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Why doesn’t homeowners insurance cover clogged pipes?

Homeowners insurance covers perils that are sudden and accidental, like house fires, windstorms, falling trees or break-ins. Homeowners insurance generally doesn’t cover preventable damage or wear and tear. Pipes typically clog because you’re not properly cleaning or maintaining them. It’s also relatively easy to clear clogged pipes, it wouldn’t be worth it for you to file a claim to pay for Drano or a drain snake.

Even if your pipes are clogged due to rust, mold, or pest infestations, your homeowners insurance likely still won’t cover it as those are all considered maintenance issues.

How to add coverage to protect your pipes

Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to add coverage for extra protection for your pipes and plumbing. Adding endorsements to your policy will slightly raise your premiums, but it may be worth it to extend coverage for costly causes of water damage.

Sewer or water backup coverage

If there is a sewage backup and your pipes clog and leak, you are responsible for paying for the damages. You can add a sewage or water backup endorsement to your homeowners policy to protect yourself from sewage backup damage.

Sump pump coverage

If you live in a more rural area or an area prone to groundwater damage, you likely have a sump pump instead of a sewer line like you would in a city. If your sump pump backs up and damages your pipes, you’ll need a sump pump endorsement in place in order for the damage to be covered, A standard homeowners policy doesn’t cover water damage caused by sump pump backup.

How to prevent clogged pipes

Clogged pipes are a common reality for homeowners. You can generally buy products to fix clogged pipes on your own, like a liquid solution or a drain snake. There are also a few measures you can take to avoid clogged pipes and drains.

  • Replace your plumbing if your pipes are old or rusting
  • Use drain stoppers or protectors to stop food or hair from going down drains
  • Put leftover food in the trash or compost, not down the sink
  • Do not put grease or oil down the drain
  • Clean your drains by pouring hot water down them
  • Only flush toilet paper down the toilet
Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Property and Casualty Insurance Expert

Expertise
Kara McGinley is an insurance editor at Policygenius, specializing in home, auto and renters insurance. She previously worked as a freelance writer and copywriter, and has been writing about insurance since 2019. Kara is an expert at making complicated topics like property insurance simple to understand. Her work can be found in Teen Vogue, The Culture Crush, and more.

Education
Kara has a B.A. in English from East Carolina University.

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