Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Plumbing Problems?

  • William Demirdonder
  • June 17, 2021
  • No comments
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It’s a question we get asked on the daily: “Does my homeowner’s insurance cover plumbing issues?” 

Firstly, let us say that before you go searching online for what your homeowner’s insurance covers when it comes to plumbing, check-in first with your existing insurance provider. Read thoroughly through the fine print to get an idea of what is covered and what is not covered in your existing homeowner’s insurance policy related to plumbing.

Place a call to your provider if you’re finding it hard to work your way through the policy conditions.

Each insurer is slightly different, and it depends on what type of cover or extras you have nominated at the beginning of your policy commencing with the provider.

As you experience a plumbing problem like a blocked drain, blocked toilet or flooding resulting from a burst pipe or leak somewhere, you might not realise the root cause of the problem. However, once a professional plumber investigates the issue, more problems may arise, like a tree root infiltration, sewer main line blockages or collapsed pipes that require relining or replacement. 

This is when you would like to know whether or not your homeowner’s insurance policy covers you. 

 

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Plumbing Work?

 

A homeowner’s insurance policy typically covers plumbing problems such as leaks caused by accidents like pipe bursts or seepage from malfunctioning equipment like air conditioners. 

Your homeowner’s insurance policy should be responsible for covering ample damage should you need to repair a part of the structure of your home. Thankfully, some clauses in the home insurance policy by some providers might offer coverage for plumbing work in case of water damage. Here are some:

 

Property Coverage

Your policy will be reimbursing you for personal properties, including clothing, furniture, and appliances that get destroyed when some plumbing malfunction might occur and cause damage to your home. However, specific luxury items, including jewellery, might only be covered for up to the limit of $1000 to $2000 unless you would apply for the optional rider to the given policy.

 

Dwelling Coverage

The dwelling coverage clause of the home insurance policy is responsible for offering coverage for the structure of your home, including walls, floorboards, ceilings, and roofs. If any of the given parts of the house gets damaged due to plumbing issues like water leakage or are required to remove a part of the home’s structure to repair the leak, then the dwelling coverage will be responsible for covering you.

In addition to this, dwelling insurance for your home is also responsible for covering the built-in appliances (like water heater) of your home in case they get damaged due to plumbing issues.

 

ALE or Additional Living Expenses Coverage

 

ALE coverage or Loss of Use coverage is responsible for reimbursing your hotel, food, and travel expenses if you are temporarily displaced from home. For example, it could be due to plumbing issues at your home.

If the water started unexpectedly coming out of appliances like washing machines when you were not present at home, it could lead to significant damage to your property, including furniture. Moreover, the water leak that occurs through the floor while damaging the ceiling or walls can also be considered. In the given case, you will be provided coverage by the home insurance policy for your property.

Once you have filed a claim, the insurance inspector or adjuster will visit your property to analyse the situation. For example, if the overall costs of replacing or repairing the floor, low-floor or mid-floor or ceiling turn out to be around $3000, and the home insurance policy has a deductible of $1,000, then your insurance company will be paying the remaining amount of $2,000.

Your insurer will seek to assess the damage before processing your claim, although your policy may not cover any additional damage caused.

 

Does Homeowner’s Insurance Cover Pipes?

 

Accidental water damage that takes place as a result of unexpected, sudden occurrences like burst pipes, broken pipes or leaking pipes is mainly covered by the homeowner’s insurance policy. Additionally, repair, replacement, or cleaning of drywall, furniture, or wood flooring due to water damage due to plumbing issues are also covered. However, if you tend to ignore some leak or a particular long-standing problem, you might not be offered coverage for your claim.

 

What Coverage is Required for Broken Pipes?

 

Accidental water damage due to burst pipes of the plumbing system is mostly a part of the dwelling home insurance coverage, loss of use, or personal property coverage. 

You can speak out to the insurance provider to ensure whether or not water damage is covered in the loss.

Dwelling insurance coverage turns out to be the main component of any home insurance policy in Australia. This is because it can help its policyholders to pay for repairing or rebuilding the home’s physical structure in case of accidental water damage, severe weather, fire, vandalism, or any other cause of loss.

The limits of the dwelling coverage for your home are based on the approximate costs of rebuilding the home. Therefore, it is regarded as a good option to inquire the insurance provider about the replacement costs of your home annually, especially after ensuring all major improvements. Even minor improvements can impact the overall cost of rebuilding your home.

With personal property coverage, you can get coverage for your belongings, including clothing, furniture, electronics, or sporting goods. For example, in case of accidental damage due to a burst plumbing pipe, you will be receiving the payment for professional replacement or cleaning of personal belongings and furniture. This holds true until water damage serves to be a covered clause of loss in the policy.

Most policy providers offer coverage for personal property at the actual cash value instead of the replacement costs. You can enhance your policy with full replacement cost insurance to cover plumbing problems.

The loss of use coverage can help pay for the additional costs incurred on living expenses and reasonable housing if the given event will make your house temporarily inhabitable while getting rebuilt or repaired. 

Therefore, if a burst pipe of the plumbing system in your house has damaged the home to make it unliveable, the given coverage should offset aspects like hotel expenses during the duration of your stay.

 

What Insurance Can I Claim for Water Damage?

 

Depending on the condition, you can claim the loss of use, personal property, or dwelling insurance coverage in case of water damage due to burst pipes or a faulty plumbing system in your house.

Thankfully, you can come across many reliable home insurance service providers in Australia offering coverage for plumbing problems. If your home sustains major water leak damage due to plumbing problems, then you can enhance your chances of filing the claim successful in the following steps:

  1. Document the water damage or leak with proper photographs, both of the initial as well the final damage.
  2. Take control of the water leak situation. You can also ensure minor repairs for preventing further damage to the property.
  3. Contact the independent loss assessor or a local contractor for determining the extent of the damage or the overall costs of repairs.

In addition to this, you should ensure that you carry out regular maintenance of your house’s plumbing system throughout the year. Keep the receipts for replacements and repair services such that you can reveal the same to the insurance company in case of a claim.

As you file the claim for compensation for water damage due to a faulty plumbing system, the assessor that the insurance provider has appointed will visit your home for inspection. If the assessor finds that the given damage has been due to wear and tear or negligence, your claim might get denied. However, if the cause of the water damage is confirmed as accidental, then the homeowner’s insurance provider might offer reimbursement for the essential plumbing repairs.

 

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Sewer Line Damage?

 

In most cases, damage done to your property should be related to a specified issue – one that has been mainly included in the contract for your homeowner’s insurance policy. Unfortunately, when it comes to standard homeowners policies, sewer line coverage remains limited.

However, if the sewer damage in your home is unexpected or sudden and related to the peril that is being covered, then your homeowner’s Insurance will be responsible for covering it. 

Utility and sewer lines for properties are primarily owned and operated by some energy companies or municipalities. As a property owner in Australia, you are responsible for where the sewer service lines will be connecting to your property. 

The utility company or the municipality is responsible for the sewer lines outside your home.

For instance, in some cases, the sidewalk in some cities is where the property line tends to end. Therefore, if the damage to the sewer line occurs outside the given range, it will be the utility company’s responsibility. However, if the damage has occurred within your home or property lines, then it should be linked to some recognised peril for the respective homeowner’s insurance policy to cover it.

 

Some of the recognised events your homeowner’s insurance policy will be cover include:

  • Hail or windstorm
  • Lightning or fire
  • Aircraft
  • Riots
  • Vehicles
  • Explosion
  • weight of snow or ice
  • Falling objects
  • Theft
  • Vandalism
  • Freezing
  • Accidental or sudden damage because of short-circuiting
  • Accidental discharge or overflow of water stream

 

Like water damage, the homeowner’s insurance policy will cover sewer damage only if the same is related to the specified peril. 

For example, if the damage occurs due to sewer maintenance or backup of your property’s sewer lines, you will not be offered cover as this generally falls within the boundaries of a homeowner’s responsibility to maintain the sewer line properly. 

Most damage that occurs to sewer lines is due to manual errors. For example, it could occur due to continually flushing grease, debris and objects down drains and toilets. Damage can also occur due to tree root infiltration or neglecting plumbing issues. 

Homeowners insurance will not be cover the lack of sewer line maintenance.

You can check with the homeowner’s insurance provider to ensure whether it offers additional cover for sewer lines.

 

How Much Does Sewer Line Insurance Cost?

 

If you are covered for sewer line damage, then most homeowner’s insurance plans will limit the given coverage for ‘other structures’ to around 10 per cent of what the entire home will be insured for. For instance, if your home is covered for around $600,000, then ‘other structures’ including shed, fences, septic tanks, and others will be covered only up to $60,000.

It is recommended that you should scan the individual homeowner’s insurance policy to be assured of the best outcomes. However, the given 10 per cent is regarded as sufficient to cover the costs. As per the latest data, it is reported that the typical replacement project for your home’s sewer lines might cost you around $3000 to $6000.

 

What Are Plumbing Issues Not Covered By Insurance?

 

This is a critical point to note: Your insurance policy WILL NOT cover gradual damage that could have been avoided by maintenance. Nor will your policy cover you if the negligence of the homeowner has caused the damage. Therefore, it is best to have your plumbing and electrical fixtures or appliances inspected regularly and repaired immediately.

Before you do anything, go through the insurer’s PDS or Product Disclosure Statement to get a relevant idea of precisely what the policy covers. However, if you realise that your home insurance policy is not equipped to handle what you expect your home requires protection for, you can think about shopping for a new home insurance policy with lucrative coverage plans to include the most common plumbing issues. 

 

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