Leaky pipes, corroded pipes, and burst pipes are all common sources for water damage in homes. These issues can lead to serious long-term problems ranging from wood rot and destruction of property to mildew and mold growth. If you have a home insurance policy, you'll have some protection against repair and restoration costs related to plumbing and pipe issues — but you may be surprised to learn what's covered versus what's not.
By having a better understanding of what a "typical" home insurance policy covers when it comes to water damage caused by pipe issues, you can be better prepared to act if you ever experience a water/moisture issue in your home.
Common Inclusions and Exclusions
The only way to know for sure what's covered by your policy and what's not is to check your policy paperwork. There should be a section that focuses specifically on water damage inclusions and exclusions — and these can vary depending on the type of coverage you're purchased.
Still, most home insurance policies will cover water damage caused by non-preventable things, such as a pipe suddenly bursting under your kitchen sink or even a hidden leak behind one of your walls. However, most home insurance policies will not cover things that are deemed to be preventable, such as damage from an obvious leak that you ignored for months or a pipe that froze and burst because you left your furnace off while you were away.
What to Do If You Have Water Damage
If you do experience pipe-related water damage that's covered by your insurance, contact your agent right away to begin the claims process. In the meantime, prevent further damage as much as possible by having pipe repairs done by a qualified professional, such as a licensed plumber. More than likely, your insurance company will also want you to hire a mitigation/restoration company to come out to your home and dry out the residual water damage caused by the pipe problem. This may include not only drying out the area using special equipment but also tearing out any mold-damaged or rotted materials and sanitizing other affected surfaces.
An insurance adjuster should also be able to come out to your home and assess the damage to determine whether restoration costs will be covered by your policy.
Experiencing pipe problems in your home can be stressful, which is why it's important to understand your home insurance coverage and to always have the contact information of a plumber who performs pipe repair in your area.