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February 18, 2019

Homeowners insurance is a savior in cases of unexpected perils that you and your house may encounter in many forms. Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover perils that occur due to fire, abnormal weather and of course certain cases of water damage.

The clause – certain cases of water damage - is what confuses many homeowners. Before understanding what types of water damages are covered under homeowners insurance, let us see the possibilities of types of water damage that could happen to our homes.

In general, the following perils might come under water damage for a home:

•    Flood

•    Sewer backup and Overflow

•    Storm-related water damage

•    Discharge, either sudden or accidental

Plumbing Coverage in Homeowner’s Insurance

While talking about inclusion of plumbing in the homeowners’ insurance policy, the key aspect that you have to keep in mind is – the break or damage that led to the plumbing work should only be sudden but is not a result of accumulation over a prolonged period of time.

What does the term ‘sudden’ imply?

If your policy mentions that ‘sudden’ breakages are included, you should be clear what comes under its umbrella. Any damage to pipes, valves, and tanks is ‘sudden’ if the root cause is not a long and deep-rooted one accumulating over time since long.

For example, a pipe in your basement burst all of a sudden damaging all the valves and tanks; it is covered under the policy. You can also claim the repair costs that you paid to the plumber for cutting and opening the wall, and to fix it properly again. If your plumber identified this as caused due to the mold accumulation, you can also claim the mold remediation expenses from your insurance provider.

Here are some other questions that might crop up to your mind in this scenario:

  • My roof leaks. Can I claim the plumbing expenses?
  • The toilet suddenly overflowed. Does this come under plumbing coverage?
  • Sink pipe in the kitchen is leaking. Will my insurance provider cover this?
  • My sewage system is rusted. I want to replace it with a new one. Does my policy cover these expenses?
  • My plumber identified the pipes to be of poly butylenes. I want to change them. Can I use my policy coverage here?

And the list goes on.

Whatever is the case, the answer is only one – The reason for damage should not be an accumulating slow process one. It should only be a sudden one.

What does this mean?

It means, your claim might be denied for insurance coverage in the above examples because the reason might be a gradual one, and not a sudden or an accidental one. Also, note that polybutylene pipes are hazardous and hence most insurance providers do not cover the expenses related to their repair or replacement.

Why Gradual Water Damages Occur?

As the name says, gradual damages occur due to the poor maintenance of the plumbing systems by the homeowner. We all have many components in the home, that appear to be going good on the surface, but might be having some hidden problem that would escape our attention for long.

For example:

  • A small leakage in the faucet or pipe that has not caught your attention.
  • A broken tile in the bathroom that you have ignored and considered benign.
  • Corrosion of a joint or a pipe.
  • Mold or rot in the plumbing systems.
  • Repairs done with lack of expertise or just for the time being.

If you have experienced any of these, don’t be surprised if your insurance provider rejected your plumbing claim later on.

What is Not Covered in Plumbing Expenses?

In general, most insurance companies do not cover the following expenses for water damages:

The cost of the source

For example, your dishwasher broke down or your washing machine failed and caused damage to the floor and the plumbing system, do not expect your insurance provider to pay expenses for the repair of washing machine or dishwasher, though you can expect the claim for plumbing system that was damaged.


Flooding is typically never covered by a traditional homeowner’s policy unless you have a rider option or you have taken a separate flood insurance policy for the same.

Outside Concerns

Sometimes, it can happen that outside sewer caused an overflow in your house. This is also not covered in your plumbing expenses unless you have a water backup coverage in your policy.

Owner’s Absence

If you have not been home for long and your pipes burst due to freezing temperatures, this also won’t be covered under the policy. Some companies pay for the water damage though; you can’t ask them to cover for plumber expenses, however.

Replacements and Deductibles

The same applies for replacement of appliances too. Most policies would cover the water damage that was caused due to burst or leak but would not pay for the replacement of the component that caused the damage. This means the expenses for replacing the hose or pipe should be borne by the homeowner only.

What you should do?

Repairing a flooded toilet or sink, struggling with a leaky roof, bothering for expenses for tiles replacement caused by water leakages, etc. are something no homeowner wants. Some minimal care and precautions can prevent such daunting tasks.

  • Inspect your pipes often for damages or leaks that if you leave unnoticed may mount expenses to you at later stages. Periodical inspection of pipes and drainage systems through expert plumbers in Charlotte NC would be a good idea too.
  • While replacing or installing for the first time, always choose durable hoses and good quality pipes though they are little expensive. They save you from a lot of trouble at the later stages.
  • It is always wise to seek expert advice from a plumbing service company in case of any doubts regarding the scope and coverage of plumbing in your homeowner’s insurance plan.
  • Never ignore any allied component that comes under plumbing and check their health regularly. These would include electrical wiring for geysers and ventilation systems, bed water heaters, fountains and water drippers in your garden, etc. Take the help of plumbing experts in Raleigh NC for better guidance.
  • If your house is under construction stage, it is best to talk to your engineer or contractor and get an overall idea about what possible supplemental coverage you may have to consider while choosing a homeowners insurance.
  • Always go through thoroughly the wordings of your insurance document. In case of any clarification, nobody else could be your best friend than the insurance agent. Clarify each and every doubt of yours. Seek a detailed explanation of the terms you find confusing.


About the Author: James Gonzalez is a content writer at Progressive Service Company. She is on a quest to spread awareness about the common issues that usually occur in our homes and how to tackle them. Starting out as a video blogger, she found passion in writing & has switched to be a content writer instead.