When leaky pipes have become a recurring issue rather than an occasional nuisance, your plumbing system is bogged down by mineral and rust deposits, or your water pipes are more than 50 years old, it may be time to start thinking about repiping your home. Repiping is the process of removing all the pipes of your home’s plumbing system and replacing them with new ones, typically over the course of a few days. Even though repiping can be an important step to take to protect your home from ongoing and future water damage, many homeowner’s insurance policies do not cover the associated costs.
Is Plumbing Covered by My Home Insurance?
It depends on your specific policy, but typically, home insurance will cover water damage but not plumbing procedures themselves. For example, if a pipe suddenly bursts and ruins your carpet, it is likely that your policy will cover the cost of replacing the carpet, but not of fixing the broken pipe.
However, it is also important to note that most plumbing insurance plans will only cover the costs of damages that are the result of a sudden accident not caused by negligence. In this example, a pipe that bursts suddenly and without warning is an event that you could not reasonably be expected to foresee. To be covered, the damage must not have been preventable through regular maintenance and upkeep, and it can’t have been the result of the normal deterioration that takes place over time.
Frozen Pipes Insurance Claims
Unfortunately, reality is rarely that simple. It is likely that your insurance company will attempt to blame the frozen pipes on your negligence. If the pipes froze because you left your home unheated during the winter or did not adequately prepare for the cold weather, they are likely to be successful in citing negligence and avoiding payment. Even if your home was heated but temperatures dropped further than expected, some insurance policies require that you have an alarm system installed to warn you of these changes and prevent damages. For frozen pipes, the odds are often stacked against you, and it is best to thoroughly understand your insurance policy before you ever need to use it.
Homeowner’s Insurance and Repiping
As homeowner’s policies typically only kick in after the damage has occurred, you will likely have to shoulder the costs of repiping yourself. Although your insurance will likely pay to replace the carpet that was ruined by a leaky pipe, it probably will not cover the costs of earlier measures that could have prevented the damage in the first place. Repiping is usually necessary after a long period of natural deterioration (i.e. regular wear and tear), or due to factors that the insurance company will characterize as negligence on your part — so don’t count on your policy to help with repiping costs.
Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Bay Area: Repiping and More
There’s no getting around it: repiping your home is a major undertaking that consists of a complete overhaul of your existing plumbing system. While skilled plumbing professionals can keep the disruption to your daily life to a minimum, there will be some interruption to your regular water access, and small cuts will have to be made in the walls to access the old pipes and install the new ones.
When you’re ready to take the next steps, we at Benjamin Franklin Plumbing are here to help, and we offer financing options to help cover those out-of-pocket costs.