Does Home Insurance Cover Plumbing Repairs?

A burst pipe, a toilet that won’t flush, or a kitchen sink that will not stop running, whatever it is, running water is only great when it runs when and where you want it to. All of these things are all things that probably need a plumber to fix, and all can easily cost a pretty penny. Fortunately, homeowners insurance can help to cover the cost of plumbing repairs if damages that happened were unavoidable, unexpected, and sudden.

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What Events Will Homeowners Insurance Cover for Plumbing Repairs?

Like any event that brings damage or expense to your home, homeowners insurance only covers set events and circumstances. Events that are covered by your insurance are referred to as “cover perils” and are outlined in your home insurance policy. While all policies can vary, typical covered perils include damages brought on by:

  • Fires or smoke
  • Theft or vandalism
  • Weather (to include lightning, hail, and wind)

Typical events and damages that are not covered by homeowners insurance include:

  • Pests and rodent infestations
  • Floods and earthquakes
  • Damages brought on by a lack of maintenance and care

What Caused the Plumbing Damage? 

To determine if you will receive compensation for your plumbing repairs, you need to know what caused the damage and how severe it is. If the damages that were done to your water system were quick and sudden you are likely to receive coverage for your claim. Most events that are unplanned and unavoidable are recognized as a covered event by home insurance policies.

While pipes can certainly burst without notice, many plumbing issues arise because of a lack of maintenance and upkeep. Routine maintenance is seen as one of the many jobs by insurers, so insurance companies will not cover damages that were caused by a lack of upkeep. Unfortunately, for most homeowners, plumbing repairs typically aren’t covered because most come from a lack of maintenance and upkeep.

Other Damages Brought on by Plumbing Damage

If you are in need of plumbing repairs, it is possible that your home has had other damages to it that need to be taken care of. While you may be exempt from getting coverage for your plumbing repairs, you may be eligible for compensation from other clauses in your homeowners policy. These other types of coverage include: dwelling coverage, additional living expenses (ALE) coverage, and property coverage.

Dwelling Coverage 

This type of coverage responds to the damages done to the structural elements of your home. While this coverage isn’t going to cover the cost of your plumbing repairs, it can help compensate for damages that were caused by water damage from your plumbing system. Dwelling coverage can also help to cover some of the expenses of your built-in appliances, which is great if that is where you need to have plumbing repairs done.

Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage

If something truly damaging happens and you need plumbing repairs that require you to leave your home, you may be able to get some compensation under your ALE coverage. This clause (if it is in your policy) helps to pay for expenses that you obtain while your home is being repaired. This coverage normally helps pay for things like eating at a restaurant because you can’t use your kitchen or staying at a hotel because you haven’t been able to shower for five days.

Property Coverage

Property coverage protects your possessions and responds to damages done to your personal property. In the event your pipe bursts and your favorite painting is suddenly ruined, you will most likely get a financial return for some of the cost if not all of the current value of the painting. While this type of coverage can cover a range of items, there are often limits to how much insurance will actually compensate you for.

Should I File a Claim?

While you may be eligible for compensation from insurance, you may not want to file a claim for your plumbing repairs. If the cost of the repairs is less than your premium, there is no benefit to filing a claim because you won’t get any coverage. If the cost of repairs is close to your premium you may want to hold off on filing a claim, because using your insurance can increase your homeowners insurance rates.

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