Your homeowners’ insurance policy should cover any sudden and unforeseen water damage caused by a plumbing failure or broken pipe. However, most home insurance plans exclude incremental damage to your home, such as sluggish, persistent leakage, as well as damage caused by regional flooding.
In addition, certain damages due to water damage, such as mold, can, depending on the cause, be exempt from your standard policy. However, if you want coverage, you can normally add extra coverage as optional riders.
- What kind of plumbing damage is not covered by home insurance?
- How to say if you’ve got a water leak [UPDATED]
- What to do if you’ve got a leak
Does homeowners’ insurance compensate the water damage caused by leakage of pipes?
Your home insurance policy should cover any sudden and unexpected damage to water arising from a plumbing malfunction, such as a blow pipe or a damaged water heater.
Water damage could cause enough damage that would need foundation repair of your house, replace the damaged property, and probably move out of your home for a couple of nights. Luckily, there are three separate provisions in your homeowners’ insurance policy that will provide coverage if your home has water damage:
Housing coverage: The housing coverage clause in your policy guarantees the layout of your house, such as the roof, walls and floorboards. If a part of your house is damaged by a sealed leak or if you have to remove a part of the wall in order to fix the leak, you will be reimbursed for the coverage of your home. Housing insurance also protects the built-in appliances of your house, such as a water heater, if they are destroyed.
Property coverage: Your insurance will refund any personal property, such as clothes, TVs and furniture, that is lost when a plumbing malfunction causes damage to your house. However, such luxury items, such as watches, can only be protected up to a limit of $1,000 to $2,000, unless you add an optional rider to your scheme.
Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage: ALE coverage will reimburse you for hotel, transport and food expenses if you are temporarily moved from your home.
If water suddenly began pouring out of your washing machine when you weren’t at home, it might cause your wooden floorboards to crumble. In addition, the water may leak through the floor and damage the walls or ceiling of the floor below.
You’re likely to be covered by your insurance in this situation. After you made a claim, the insurance company will come to your home to determine the costs. If the cost of fixing or removing your board, molding and lower floor ceiling is $3,000, and your home insurance policy has a $1,000 deductible, the insurance provider must cover the remaining $2,000.
What kind of plumbing damage is not covered by home insurance?
Home insurance plans do not cover losses arising from normal wear and tear, and will not compensate you for any water damage caused by a back-up drain or floods unless you have an endorsement.
While the damage to the water covered involves plumbing malfunctions and burst pipes, it is important to understand that certain conditions or forms of damage are not covered. When you file a water damage claim, the homeowner’s insurance provider will send an insurance agent to determine the cause and cost of the damage. They may assess:
- The location of the pipe or other cause of damage
- If any harm is caused by an old leak or a new one
- If there are any signs of corrosion, such as rust, that might have signaled a potential leak.
- If the leak is actually due to old age or to wear and tear
The adjuster will use these tests to decide whether the leakage might fairly have been avoided. They could refuse coverage if they decide that you may have.
Failure to maintain
Damage to water arising from usual wear and tear or lack of maintenance shall not be compensated. You might find a small leak, for example, but you can’t do anything about it for a few weeks because only a small amount of water is leaking. Gradually, the leak can trigger a growing bulge in your wall, eventually prompting you to file a claim.
Unfortunately, you would have cancelled your coverage weeks ago because you opted not to fix the problem immediately. Your insurance provider is likely to say that you have neglected to conduct regular repairs and refuse any refunds.
Another common argument that many insurers reject is a blow pipe during the winter. If you leave for the holidays and completely shut off your heat, the temperature can cause your pipes to freeze and then burst. In this case, you may be kept liable for paying for the plumbing repair, as you may have avoided the harm yourself.
Backup of sewage
Although a leaking toilet may be protected by your homeowners’ insurance policy, a flooded or secured drainage system is not covered, even if it may overwhelm your plumbing system.
Luckily, most home insurance providers provide sewer or water backup coverage as an inexpensive driver that you can apply to your policy. It’s a good idea to include this optional coverage, as sewage damage can be seriously harmful to your family and damaging to your home and property.
Harm to Flood
Although water damage is caused by a malfunctioning utility or drain, flood damage occurs when heavy rainfall, flooding water or snow melt rises to a high enough level to reach your house or overwhelm your plumbing system. Although flood damage is exempt from the homeowners’ insurance policy, you can buy flood insurance coverage through your insurer if you participate in the National Flood Insurance Policy (NFIP).
Assess your house’s flood risk by viewing the FEMA flood map for your area and contacting your insurance agent. If you’ve calculated your risk, you can decide if your home needs flood insurance.
In certain situations, the distinction between flood damage and water damage is a grey area. Because of this, it is often best to contact your insurance company as soon as possible to decide if you are covered and what measures you can take to mitigate the damage.
Harm to the mold
Most homeowners’ policies exclude mold damage. Insurance providers do, however, have a varying amount of insurance against mold damage if it occurs from a covered leak. You should read your policy carefully to decide your coverage and expect your policy to have a refund cap of between $1,000–$10,000 for mold remediation.
Although any coverage is fine, typical mold claims can cost between $15,000 and $30,000. However, as with sewage backup, many insurers provide extra coverage in the form of an optional passenger. But be aware that if you live in a mold-prone state, such as Florida or parts of California, mold coverage can be considerably more costly.
In addition to buying mold coverage, you should periodically disinfect, ventilate or dehumidify areas that are prime for mold growth to prevent it from spreading. These areas shall include:
- Basements, or some other space partly under the ground
- Bathrooms, particularly if they are used for showering and do not have windows.
- Laundry Room
- Cabinetry under the sinks
- Crawl Rooms
How can you say if you’ve got a water leak?
In certain situations, a leak will be noticeable and destructive. Other times, it could go on for days without you knowing, causing a growing amount of damage until it has been repaired. Use these tips to expose any leaks you may have in your home:
Look: Even though the leak is not clearly apparent, it also causes a sagging spot on your roof, a bulge on your wall, or other stains and discoloration. Although appearing small at first, these spots can gradually grow larger and more visible, suggesting further damage you can’t see. It is important to respond to the issue as soon as possible, both in order to mitigate the damage and to ensure that your insurance policy honors your claim.
Listen: If you think that you have a leak, listen to the house when it’s quiet, like at night. A slight trickling sound or a dripping noise is a telling indication of a leak.
Smell: Is a room in your house smelling musty? This is a sign of moisture and mold formation, both of which point to leakage. Even if the smell is in an environment without water pipes, the moisture will leak through cracks in the base and cause harm. Run a dehumidifier to reduce the chance of mold when looking for the source of the leak.
What to do if you’ve got a leak
If you have found a leak in your home, you need to act immediately to avoid further damage. The first thing you’re going to do is try to stop the flow of water. Any leaks can be fixed by properly installing a dishwasher hose or tightening a loosely installed cable. In other situations, you might need to shut down the water supply of your home when investigating the source of the leak.
Document the damage with photos before removing any water. This facts can help you defend your claim with the insurance provider of your homeowners. Once you have reported the impact, follow these steps to drain the water as quickly as possible:
- Elevate any personal property, furniture, and rugs to prevent further damage.
- Open the windows so that the air can circulate into the room.
- Run an air conditioner or dehumidifier to remove any moisture from the air.
- Using a shop vacuum pump or sump pump to drain standing water.
- If there is a leak near the electrical wiring, turn off the electricity at the breaker to prevent electrocution.
- Hang any wet carpet or rug to dry.
Removing the water as quickly as possible can help to mitigate the overall cost of the damage. When you have reported and removed the water, contact the homeowners’ insurance provider to make a claim.
This article is paraphrased: Original source: valuepenguin.com