More on Home Insurance
More on Home Insurance
Published December 7, 2020
TABLE OF CONTENTS
Most homeowners insurance policies cover water damage that is sudden or accidental, but water damage that occurs over time would not be covered. If a leak in your pipes is caused by a sudden event — say an extreme temperature change causes your pipe to suddenly crack — homeowners insurance may pay to repair the leaking pipe and associated water damage. But if the pipe was poorly maintained or neglected, and you don’t know when or why the leak began, then a standard policy won’t cover it.
Certain endorsements, or optional coverage add-ons, can add coverage for your plumbing that isn’t included in a basic policy. Service line coverage is additional coverage you purchase to protect the utility lines on your property but outside of your home, (including your plumbing system), when they are damaged. Maintenance issues related to your plumbing system, like deterioration and regular wear and tear, would also be covered by this endorsement whereas standard homeowners would not cover those causes of damage.
If a backed-up sewer system is the cause of your leaking plumbing, another optional endorsement, water backup coverage would cover necessary repairs. But without adding those endorsements to your policy, leaks caused by damage to your service lines or by backed-up plumbing wouldn’t be covered.
Homeowners insurance may cover leaking plumbing inside your home if the cause of the leak was sudden or accidental
If water is leaking because of a poorly maintained or neglected pipe, homeowners insurance won’t pay to repair it
You can purchase service line coverage to repair the plumbing running beneath your property if it is damaged
If your leaking plumbing is the result of a backed-up drain, you can add water backup coverage to your policy to cover the resulting water damage
A standard homeowners insurance policy will generally cover water damage from a leaking pipe if the cause of the leak is sudden or accidental. For example, if a sudden increase in water pressure creates a crack in your plumbing system, homeowners insurance may pay to repair the leaking pipe and associated water damage. Same with a pipe that was cracked when a tree limb fell on your house, or leaking plumbing caused by vandalism during a break-in.
But a pipe that’s been slowly leaking over time would not be covered nor would the associated water damage. That’s because homeowners insurance won’t cover any kind of damage, water or otherwise, that could easily have been prevented or avoided with better maintenance.
Homeowners insurance will not cover water damage that occurs over time, nor will it cover a leaking pipe that’s backed-up into your home. Basically, if a leaking pipe could’ve been prevented with maintenance and urgency at the time it was damaged, homeowners insurance won’t cover it. Causes of leaks that likely won’t be covered by your homeowners insurance policy include:
Common causes of leaking plumbing include pipe corrosion, untreated drain clogs, and deteriorating pipe seals. A leak in your plumbing system that results from any of these maintenance issues would not be covered by a standard home insurance policy.
Homeowners insurance does not cover water damage from backed up sewers or drains, or water that discharges or overflows from a sump pump. However you can purchase water backup coverage to cover these risks and service line coverage to repair a damaged sump pump.
Natural floods are one of the most common homeowners insurance exclusions. A standard policy won’t cover surface water, tidal waves, the overflow of a body of water, or spray from any of these natural causes, even if wind-driven.
Coverage for both mold damage and removal are excluded from a standard home insurance policy, but mold created by a covered leak may be covered, especially if it develops rapidly following damage from a covered peril. It can take as little as 24 to 48 hours for mold to form, according to the Federal Emergency Management Agency, so if a leaky pipe was caused by an insured risk and is to blame for the mold, then homeowners insurance may pay to remove the mold.
If you discover a leak in your plumbing system, you should act quickly in order to avoid further damage.
Stephanie Nieves is an insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City, specializing in auto and home insurance. She's been writing about insurance, finance and financial planning since 2018, and loves helping readers get the knowledge they need to make financial decisions with confidence. Her words can also be found on PayScale, Fairygodboss, and The Muse.
Stephanie has a B.A. in writing and rhetoric from Hobart and William Smith Colleges.
Was this article helpful?