Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Boilers?

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Andrew Lee is insurance content writer and editor for Andrew holds a Bachelor's degree from Ryerson University and has extensive experience of writing content for financial websites. His expertise is especially strong in home and auto insurance.

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Not only do boilers help keep the house warm and our showers comfortable, but they can also actually play an important role in the maintenance of your house, by making sure that pipes don’t freeze during the winter, which can prevent pipe bursts and save your property from water damage and you from a massive headache. Your homeowners insurance will only cover boilers if the cause of damage is covered. There is unlikely to be anything in your policy relating to boilers in particular, which means that the coverage depends entirely on the cause of damage. This can be good news if your boiler was suddenly damaged, or bad news if your boiler has slowly deteriorated until it’s no longer working.

Your Insurance Splits Damages into Different Categories

Homeowners insurance defines your policy in terms of covered or uncovered perils. A peril is any event that can cause damage to your property. When a peril is covered, then any damage it does will be eligible for compensation by your insurance. When a peril is uncovered, however, then your home insurance will not cover any damage caused by the uncovered peril.

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This might sound simple, but there is a fair bit of nuance in both covered and uncovered perils. Something that is normally uncovered can become covered if the uncovered peril can be shown to be a direct result of the covered peril. For instance, infestations are categorized as a peril that is commonly uncovered. If your house is damaged due to a wind storm, and in the time it takes to repair that, an infestation occurs in the area as a result of the damage, the insurance may cover the cost of extermination as a part of compensation for repairing the damage from the wind storm.

Your Insurance Will Only Cover Repairing or Replacing a Boiler If the Damage Is Caused by a Covered Peril

If a covered peril damages your boiler, there is a good chance that your insurance company will cover the damage to the hot water heater. However, you will be expected to show evidence that the damage to the boiler is actually due to the covered peril, and not incidental to the peril. This can be complicated, especially if you don’t regularly maintain your boiler.

Your Insurance Will Not Cover Wear and Tear

The reality, however, is that the main reason that your boiler will break is going to be due to simple wear and tear of the boiler itself over time. In this scenario, your insurance will be unlikely to cover replacing or repairing a hot water heater that breaks. This is because costs associated with replacing due to wear and tear are considered maintenance, which insurance expects the homeowner to deal with. 

Just because the boiler itself may not be covered due to wear and tear, does not mean that all aspects of the broken boiler will be uncovered. For example, if the hot water heater breaks and starts to leak water, your insurance may help you cover repairing the structures around the boiler if they become water damaged, even if they won’t cover the boiler itself.

Your Best Bet Is to Stop Problems Before They Start

Since wear and tear are a common problem for failing boilers, it’s best to look out for signs that your boiler is failing, so you can keep repair costs down. One of the most obvious signs is cold water when you’re expecting hot water, or warm water when you’re expecting hot water. Water alternating between being hot and cold is another common problem with failing boilers. The pilot light, which is the light underneath your hot water heater, may be orange or not be on at all, which is a sure signal that something is going wrong. Unusual noises are another sign, especially of wear and tear – this indicates that parts are aging, deposits of minerals have formed inside the system, or that sludge has managed to clog the system. The water around your boiler system is another obvious sign of failure and should be thoroughly investigated.

These are just some of the problems one can expect from boiler failure. It’s important to pay attention to your boiler, not only because you want hot water, but because a broken boiler can be dangerous, starting fires or even exploding. A problem solved today is tomorrow’s disaster avoided.

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Andrew Lee is insurance content writer and editor for Andrew holds a Bachelor's degree from Ryerson University and has extensive experience of writing content for financial websites. His expertise is especially strong in home and auto insurance.