Freezes usually occur once or more during the winter. When that happens, water in your pipes will turn to ice and expand. This increases the likelihood of a burst pipe.
If your home has a burst water pipe, will your insurance cover it? And if your insurance company balks at repairing damage, what recourse do you have?
The problem of water damage
Most homeowners’ insurance policies will cover water damage from a burst pipe. Most will also cover water damage from an external pipe.
What homeowners’ policies do not cover is damage from flooding or poor drainage.
Here are several other pipe-related things insurance companies won’t cover:
- Normal wear and tear – If your house is old and a pipe bursts because it is corroded, that’s considered the normal wear and tear on a house and isn’t covered.
- Older appliance – If your pipe is connected to an older appliance and breaks because the appliance malfunctions, that too is considered normal wear and tear.
- Poor maintenance – if you have a sink that drips and you fail to repair the leak, insurance won’t cover the repairs.
- No heat – If your pipe bursts because of freezing weather but you didn’t try to heat your house, that means you are responsible for the pipe breaking. Insurance companies may cite negligence on your part and deny the claim.
Types of coverage
If you are talking to an insurance agent and are curious about what types of coverage you should get in case of a burst pipe, you can ask about two coverages: dwelling coverage and personal property coverage.
Dwelling coverage helps pay for the structure of your home. For example, if a pipe bursts and damages a wall and floor, this coverage (minus the deductible) will pay to replace those structures.
Personal property coverage helps pay for belongings. For example, if a pipe bursts and damages a couch and computer, this coverage (minus the deductible) will pay to replace those items.
Battles between homeowners and insurance companies over the fine print of policies have been going on for many, many years. Insurance companies have a battery of lawyers ready to fight for them. If you have a problem with an insurance company, it’s in your best interest to get a qualified, experienced attorney on your team.