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.
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, if your pipes burst and cause sudden water damage to your home or personal property (and you can prove it’s not due to a maintenance issue) you may be able to file a claim. Typically, resulting water damage to your home (if sudden or accidental) is covered — regardless of the cause of the pipe burst. But the pipe itself is not covered if it's 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.
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.
How to add coverage to protect your pipes
Depending on your insurance company, you may be able to add water backup coverage for extra protection for your pipes and plumbing.
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 water damage caused by sewer or drain backups. Water backup coverage also covers sump pump backups.
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