Water damage is a leading cause of homeowners insurance claims. Yet, the answers are murky when it comes to knowing whether these damages will be covered or not. So, how do you know if your plumbing repairs will be covered? And most importantly, when do you know to push back on a claim that is denied by your homeowners insurance policy? Our team at FIB Insurance is here to answer all your questions! Read on to learn more.
Covered vs. Uncovered Plumbing Issues
Plumbing issues, like burst pipes or leaks, may be covered if they are sudden or unexpected. However, plumbing issues that result from negligence or a lack of maintenance are often not covered. This highlights the importance of having a plumbing maintenance checklist to address small issues before they become emergencies.
The most important thing to remember concerning homeowners insurance coverage for plumbing issues is that it typically only applies to unexpected and sudden damages. It does not cover preventable issues that result from a lack of maintenance. Moreover, homeowners insurance often won’t cover mold that grows due to preventable water damage.
For example, if a pipe suddenly bursts and floods your basement, your policy will typically cover the damages as it would not be considered preventable. Similarly, if a frozen pipe leads to damages and you take steps to try to prevent the issue--like keeping your home heated—your policy will likely cover the repair costs.
What to Do After a Plumbing Accident
Whether you believe that your plumbing issues are a result of negligence or not, you can still file a claim either way as different policies will have their own set of criteria as to what determines negligence. Timing is crucial and you should file your insurance claim as quickly as possible! You’ll also need to pay your deductible before your insurance covers any costs.
Keep in mind that filling a water damage claim may cause your homeowners insurance premiums to increase, so you should only consider filing such a claim if it is necessary.
What Services are Included with Plumbing Issues?
If a burst pipe or leak leads to covered water damage, your policy may pay for cleanup and repairs to your property and personal belongings. The following coverages may help to pay for repairs and other expenses after unexpected issues:
● Dwelling coverage: Dwelling coverage may help pay for damages done to the primary structure of your home, like your walls or foundation. This also covers built-in appliances, like water heaters, if they are damaged.
● Other structures coverage: Other structures coverage can help pay for damages done to any structures that are not attached to your home, including detached garages, sheds, and guest homes.
● Personal property coverage: This coverage can help pay to repair or replace any personal belongings that are damaged by a covered hazard.
● Additional living expenses (ALE) coverage: If covered water damage leads to your house being temporarily uninhabitable, ALE coverage can help cover your additional living expenses while your home is being repaired.
Unfortunately, if the water damage leads to mold growth, homeowners insurance typically won’t cover mold removal. Although it is related to the initial damages, it is not considered a direct result of plumbing issues. For this reason, you may need to separate coverage to protect against this hazard.
What Is Usually Considered Maintenance Negligence?
Because plumbing systems require maintenance to operate effectively, some responsibility falls on the homeowners to prevent issues from happening. Plumbing issues that are not covered by homeowners insurance include:
·● Issues that resulted from neglecting normal wear and tear. Homeowners are responsible for maintaining and preventing normal wear and tear on their plumbing systems. For example, if you notice a minor leak that you neglect to fix and it leads to extreme damage, your policy will not cover the repair costs. In some cases, insurance may cover long-term leaks that are hidden from view. However, in most cases, it is the homeowner’s responsibility to fix leaks before they become a major issue.
● Issues that resulted from not taking necessary precautions. For example, if you take a trip during the winter and fail to keep your home heated--leading to a frozen pipe that bursts--your insurance policy will likely not cover the damages.
● Sewage backups: Flooded or backed-up sewage systems are generally not covered by homeowners insurance, but homeowners can purchase sewer or water backup policies to make up for this coverage gap.
● Floods: Flood waters may overload your plumbing system, leading to damage. However, to cover these damages, you need a separate flood insurance policy.
● Mold: Even if the water damage is covered, mold that grows afterward isn’t. Homeowners should take steps to ensure mold doesn’t grow, such as regularly cleaning and dehumidifying areas vulnerable to water damage.
FIB Insurance Has Florida Covered
So, does homeowners insurance cover plumbing repairs? We hope we helped answer your question! At FIB Insurance, we know that choosing a homeowners insurance policy is never a one-size-fits-all decision, and our team is always here to answer your questions. If you’re looking to explore your coverage options in Miami, FL, or the surrounding area, contact us today. A free, customized quote is always included with your consultation. Book your appointment, below!