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Homeowners insurance covers plumbing damage when there’s a sudden and accidental problem, such as a burst pipe that floods your basement. But home insurance typically won’t cover preventable or gradual water damage.
When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Plumbing?
A standard homeowners insurance policy covers plumbing damage caused by sudden and accidental events, such as:
- Accidental leak
- Burst pipe
- Falling object
- Frozen pipe, in a heated home
- Roof leak
- Ruptured appliances or household systems
- Storms, but not flooding from the outside
These coverage types within a homeowners insurance policy can pay for plumbing damage, depending on the cause.
The dwelling coverage component in your homeowners insurance pays to rebuild or repair damage to your house and any attached structures, like a porch or garage.
So if your hot water heater ruptures, damaging your floors and walls, this coverage can pay for drywall repair, new paint, crown molding and flooring replacement. Mold, fungus or wet rot that result from a sudden and accidental problem are also usually covered.
Other structures coverage
This coverage pays for damage to structures not attached to your house, such as a shed or fence. If there’s a plumbing problem covered by your policy that damages a detached garage, this coverage would pay for repairs.
Personal property coverage
Personal property coverage pays to repair or replace your personal belongings if they are damaged or destroyed by problems covered by your policy.
For example, if a pipe bursts and floods your living room, this coverage can pay to replace your water damaged furniture, rugs, electronics and even the books on your bookshelves.
Additional living expenses (ALE) coverage
Additional living expenses coverage reimburses you for extra expenses if you need to live somewhere else temporarily while your plumbing damage is repaired.
ALE pays the difference between your normal household expenses and new expenses you have because you can’t live at home. This can include the cost of staying in a hotel, eating out, a laundry service and paying to board your pets.
Related: What does homeowners insurance cover?
What Plumbing Problems Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover?
Homeowners insurance does not cover damage caused by gradual plumbing leaks, no matter how significant. For example, if your washing machine has a slow leak, you are responsible for repairing it and won’t be covered for any damage that results due to the leak.
Other plumbing problems not covered by homeowners insurance include:
- Frozen pipes in an unheated home
- Plumbing problems caused by normal wear and tear
- Plumbing issues caused by negligence
- Preventable pipe leaks or mold damage
- Sewer or sump pump backups, unless add-on coverage has been purchased
- Water damage from leaks from a swimming pool
Additional Home Insurance Coverage for Plumbing Problems
If you want to purchase the broadest possible coverage for water-related issues, consider buying these:
- Flood insurance. A standard homeowners insurance policy won’t cover flood damage caused by weather. You’ll need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy.
- Water backup coverage. Water that backs up through a sewer or drain and damages your home is not covered by a standard home insurance policy. But you can typically buy extra sump pump and water backup coverage as an add-on to a homeowners insurance policy.
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Home Insurance for Plumbing FAQ
Does homeowners insurance cover plumbing leaks?
Homeowners insurance does not cover gradual plumbing leaks that cause damage over time, but it will cover leaks that are sudden and accidental. For example, your policy is unlikely to cover damage caused by a leaking dishwasher or HVAC system, but it will typically cover a burst pipe.
Related: Homeowners insurance for water damage
Will a water damage claim raise my insurance premiums?
Filing a water damage insurance claim may lead to an increase in your homeowners insurance rate because insurers correlate claims to a higher risk that you’ll file more claims in the future. If you have only a small amount of water damage, it may be better in the long run to pay for the repairs yourself.
Related: The worst homeowners insurance claim mistakes