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Will My Homeowners Insurance Cover Plumbing?

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Being primarily responsible for anything that needs to be repaired or updated isn’t at the top of most people’s lists when it comes to the perks that go along with owning a home. Fortunately, homeowners insurance policies can provide some much-appreciated peace of mind and serve as an equally appreciated financial safety net. As for whether or not plumbing is covered, the answer can vary. When it comes to what types of plumbing issues are covered by home insurance, San Diego homeowners should be aware of the following facts.

Plumbing-Related Water Damage—Usually, Yes

If you’re suddenly surprised by a broken or burst pipe, a water heater that gives out, or some other type of plumbing malfunction that leaves you with water damage, a standard homeowners policy usually covers you. However, there are some exceptions. Most homeowners policies exclude mold damage. Also, some policies exclude damage from regional flooding. You may also not be covered if the damage is from a gradual leak.

There are three specific types of coverage in a typical homeowners policy that may cover water damage:

• Dwelling coverage – This covers any damage that occurs to key structures in your home, like your roof, floors, or walls. If the plumbing-related water damage affected your walls or floorboards, you would get reimbursed for your expenses.

Note: Built-in appliances, like water heaters, may also be covered.

• Property coverage – If you have this type of coverage as part of your homeowners policy, any damage to your personal property (e.g., TVs, clothing) would be covered. More expensive luxury items, like high-end jewelry, may not be covered if they exceed a certain value.

• Additional Living Expenses (ALE) coverage – This type of coverage is specific to any expenses you may incur if the plumbing-related water damage requires you to temporarily move out of your home and stay in a hotel or other location until your home is repaired.

Plumbing Issues from General Wear—Usually, No

Home insurance policies usually don’t cover damage from routine wear, although the circumstances can vary here as well. For example, a leaking toilet may be covered, but damage to a sewer line that occurs gradually from age and normal wear is usually not covered. Homeowners insurance may also not cover plumbing expenses due to:

• Lack of routine maintenance*
• Failure to address a known plumbing problem
• Do-it-yourself attempts at repair that result in water damage

*Typically, an insurance adjuster will evaluate each individual situation. For example, he or she will determine if you could have reasonably done anything to prevent a pipe from leaking.

Endorsements, Add-Ons, & Supplemental Coverage Can Help

The good news is it’s possible to enhance a standard homeowners policy with additional coverage in the form of optional riders. For example, while sewer issues and drain backups are usually not covered in a standard policy, it’s usually possible to add sewer or water backup coverage to your policy.

Additionally, most providers have supplemental coverage options that can provide added peace of mind. If your provider participates in the National Flood Insurance Program, you can purchase flood insurance coverage. Periodically evaluate your homeowners insurance coverage to determine if there are any endorsements, add-ons, or supplemental coverage options that may benefit you. 

If you own a home or are considering buying one, take the time to understand exactly what your homeowners insurance policy does—and doesn’t—cover. It could save you a lot of time and heartache. The friendly professionals at Altra Insurance Services will be happy to help you examine your current policy and determine if you have the coverage you need. We can also help you with renters insurance, commercial insurance, and motorcycle and auto insurance. Call one of our friendly agents today at (800) 719-9972.

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