Homeowner’s Insurance and Leaking Pipes

Homeowner’s Insurance and Leaking Pipes

If you’re wondering whether your homeowner’s insurance will pay for damages from a leaking pipe, the answer is MAYBE. Most homeowner’s across America suffer from a leaking pipe and the damage they cause can be financially devastating. When I use the word “devastating”, I am referring to those leaking pipes in the slab or wall of the home. These types of leaks are usually not detected until significant damage is discovered thereby increasing the amount to repair the damage. In fact, a pipe leaking within or under the slab can cause foundation issues resulting in the home being unstable.

Pipes leaking or bursting behind the sheetrock or under sinks and toilets are normally detected sooner rather than later since the water damage becomes quickly evident. In most cases these types of claims are covered by your homeowner’s insurance. Your policy will state the coverage is provided for “sudden” bursting or leaking of pipes. That means that the leak was detected in a short amount of time. Claims for water damage across the United States represents about 30% of homeowner’s insurance claims. These types of claims are usually the result of a pipe failing at the joint or a washing machine hose bursting while the homeowner is away on vacation.

A pipe leaking within a wall is a different matter. If the adjuster feels that the resulting damage was the result of leakage over a long period of time (definition of period of time is subjective) then your claim will probably be denied because the peril is not “sudden bursting” of the pipe. The most difficult type of leak to detect is a pipe in the slab of your home. The damage usually goes unnoticed since the leaking water is pooling underneath the home. In some instances the water may come to the floor surface through a crack in the slab and soak the carpet or pool on the tile floor. In either case the water is rarely detected until the pipe has been leaking for quite some time. Again, this does not fit the definition of

“sudden” and the adjuster will usually deny the claim.

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