Are Plumbing Issues Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Your house is your base of operations, designed to provide family stability and security. However, every home comes with variable and ongoing costs that impact a budget and make setting aside financial reserves necessary.

Because major home plumbing issues cannot be predicted, the savvy homeowner seeks to shore up their considerable investment with warrantees and insurance policies for costly conditions that may arise unexpectedly.

Most general plumbing issues, water damage, leaking pipes and the need for repiping come about from situations that evolve over time. Because they typically come about through a lack of maintenance, these conditions are often usually not covered by homeowner’s insurance, but there are important exceptions.

Home Inspections Guarantees

When you first consider buying a house, you want to know how healthy it is. You don’t want to buy a home with hidden liabilities that lead to unanticipated expenses. Both potential buyers and sellers benefit from a detailed home inspection from a registered inspector.

What is inspected often includes:

  • Issues with the roof (external)
  • House exterior
  • Foundation and crawl space
  • Drainage and gutter system
  • Plumbing and electrical systems. When checking these the age of these systems and the possible need for replacement of any part of it will be indicated.
  • Appliances that will be sold with the home.

If the inspector misses something or states something is operational that later fails, that inspector is liable for the cost of repair. However, much depends upon the contract you sign with the inspector. Read it carefully. Some contracts limit the liability to a refund of the cost of the inspection. Find a more professional inspection company, that backs their work with guarantees.

Others limit the liability term to a short period such as 30 days. A more realistic period is 12 months. With any contract of this type, be sure you understand exactly what mishaps are covered and to what degree. Licensed home inspectors carry errors and omissions insurance, and this includes a legal defense against any claim. Ensure you read what you are signing, because a claims adjuster certainly will.

Home Insurance Coverage

In the broadest general terms, home insurance is protection against sudden plumbing damage, such as a bursting pipe, but it does not cover damage from a pipe that has been leaking for some time. It also won’t cover damage that was a result of poor maintenance or appliances that have exceeded their warrantee period. With any home insurance, it comes down to negotiating:

  • What your policy specifically covers
  • What extended coverage you elect to buy and its cost
  • Out-of-pocket deductibles
  • Possibly an additional percentage of the total cost before the insurance picks up the rest

Your coverage typically includes several clauses:

  • When a covered damage occurs to the structure of your home.
  • Personal property coverage. Covers damage to your belongings if it was caused by a covered risk.
  • Other structures. Guesthouse, detached garage, studio workshop. If you have plumbing and a water heater in any of these structures, this clause covers damage they may cause to the structure.
  • Loss-of-use. If the covered damage causes you to be temporarily displaced, your travel, hotel and food expenses may be covered.
  • Personal liability coverage if your plumbing issue damages your neighbor’s property and you are on the hook for repairs.
What About Water Damage From Plumbing Issues?

Any sudden or accidental burst pipe and its damage is likely covered. This may also include repairs to damages to the walls, floors, or ceiling This coverage is valid if the cause cannot be attributed to a lack of maintenance, or some other type of negligence.

If the source of the damage is an appliance, your insurance probably won’t cover the repair or replacement of that appliance. Note that the appliances themselves may be under warranty and provide separate coverage.

Incorrect plumbing installation or repair that causes damage may be covered if there is damage to your house. Notify your insurance company. The plumbing company may make good on the faulty plumbing, but for damage to the house, your reimbursement may come from the plumbing company’s insurance carrier.

Water damage from backed-up outside sewers or even a drain is normally not covered on a standard policy. Additional coverage is sometimes available. Flood damage is not covered, even if the only water that gets in is from a backed up drain due to oversaturated ground. Flood damage insurance is optional.

Are You Covered if There is a Slab Leak?

Slab leaks can be devastating to the integrity of a house. Even when the leak is caught before it does much damage, the cost of repair is relatively high.

A slab leak is when a water pipeline that runs beneath the foundation or in the walls of the foundation springs a leak. Loss water can cause erosion and loss of the earth that supports the foundation. It can cause cracks in the foundation walls, mold in the framing and it can rot drywall.

Most types of homeowner insurance will cover damage to your house from a slab leak, but not for the repair of the slab leak itself. It may cover the cost of tearing out the slab so the leak can be fixed, but not for the leak repair itself.

Again, it all depends upon the contract you signed. These points above should give you an idea of what coverage you may want. You can always seek out better homeowner’s insurance and change policies.

How Benjamin Franklin Plumbing Can Help

There are many ways to help prevent sudden plumbing disasters and uninsured plumbing issues that develop over time. They all start with two things:

  • Comprehensive professional plumbing inspections done yearly or biannually.
  • Routine maintenance.

Benjamin Franklin’s team of professional plumbers are highly experienced at servicing the homes in your neighborhood. We know what to look for. We can spot problems-in-the-making and we know how you can get the most out of your fixtures and appliances. Our detailed yearly or semi-yearly inspections go a long way toward keeping your household plumbing safe from disaster.

We will also provide you with a tour of your plumbing system and give you easy, actionable tips that enable you to spot situations before they become problems, economize on water usage and know when it is time to replace appliances, fixtures or plumbing features.

At Benjamin Franklin Plumbing, we have a whole other dimension you will love. We are one of the most respected leaders in the trends and designs of kitchen and bathroom remodeling. During our inspection, we’ll give you insight into plumbing upgrades you may be interested in now or down the road. Our upgrades can transform your entire kitchen or bathroom.