Does homeowners insurance cover water damage repair costs?
Plumbing leaks can do a lot of damage to a property.
When a water leak goes unnoticed for an extended period of time, it can cause extensive water damage that can total tens of thousands of dollars or more to repair.
Although insurance does not typically cover the costs associated with repairing the plumbing leak itself, insurance may pay for the damages caused by the leak.
You have to check with your insurance company and policy but in the great majority of cases that we’ve seen, insurance will cover the full cost of locating and capping off water leaks inside your home.
Whether the leak is in the slab foundation, a wall, floor, or ceiling does not matter. Both you and your insurance company want and need the leak to be located and stopped.
Leak detection is usually covered by insurance companies except in cases of neglect and poor maintenance.
Insurance companies want to mitigate any damages, and that means stopping the leak(s).
So don’t neglect any drips, call a plumber as soon as you see or suspect a water leak and get it found and fixed!
Does insurance cover re-routing the plumbing?
If re-routing the leaking water line will prevent additional damage and costs, that is often covered by insurance.
If you have a water leak in your home’s foundation and have continuous floors like tile or wood, then re-routing the plumbing is often the best solution for your insurance company and your home, and most, but not all, insurance companies will usually cover the costs to do so (minus your deductible).
Does insurance cover removing wet materials and drying out the home?
Yes, in most water damage cases, insurance companies will pay for water damage mitigation. They want to reduce the damage and claim as much as possible.
Certified water damage mitigation specialists will be needed to remove all wet materials, seal the affected area, and install professional dehumidifiers and fans to remove the moisture.
The costs for this are often covered 100% by the insurance company.
Does insurance cover repairs to walls, floors, cabinets, and other property?
In most cases, restoring water-damaged drywall, ceilings, walls, cabinets, and flooring is usually covered by your insurance company after your deductible but policy details vary, so review yours with your agent.
Coverage to replace damaged personal effects and furnishings is often very limited.
Again, we highly recommend reviewing your policy details with your agent before you have water leak issues, and almost everyone will eventually have plumbing leak issues and potential water damage.
Questions to ask your homeowner’s insurance agent about water damage coverage:
– Does my homeowner’s insurance policy cover plumbing water leaks and water damage?
– Does insurance cover damages from toilet and sewer line backups?
– Does my policy pay for a plumber to locate and stop a hidden water leak within my home?
– Does my policy pay to reroute the plumbing if the leak is in the slab foundation and I have continuous floors (wood, tile, cork, etc.)?
– Does my policy pay for water damage mitigation (to remove all wet materials and dry out the affected areas)?
– Does my policy pay for water damage restoration (to repair the floors, walls, and ceilings back to good condition – i.e. affected drywall, paint, flooring, cabinets, etc.)? Is there a coverage limit?
– What is my deductible in plumbing water damage cases and to what part of the process does it apply (plumbing repair, dry-out, or restoration)?
– Is my personal property covered against water damage (furniture, clothing, etc.) and is there a coverage limit?
– Are there any types of water damage that are NOT covered by your policy?
– Does my policy pay for water damage caused by roof leaks?
– Does my policy cover a local area flood that does damage to the home? (usually the answer is no, this is separate coverage)
– Do you offer a different policy or other coverage that may protect my home better? If so, at what cost?
Tips to avoid denial of coverage of water damage claims:
– turn off the main water shut-off valve to your home if you have a water leak inside your home. Don’t let the leak continue and cause additional damage.
– Act fast! Call a plumber at the first sign of any water leak or if your water bill went up significantly without explanation. Letting a water leak linger is grounds for insurance denial in most cases.
– contact your insurance company immediately after you call the plumber to find and stop the leak.
– take photos of the leak and any damage caused to present to your insurance company and in case you need to appeal any denial of claim.
– Keep good records of all home repairs. Be ready to show an insurance company that you take care of your home and address repair issues immediately as they arise.
– conduct regular maintenance on your home, including an annual plumbing inspection to test the water and drain lines and inspect all valves and fittings.
– review your policy with your agent to make sure you have a good policy that will cover you in times of true need and avoid large expenses related to water damage and other claims. Know that your policy includes and excludes before anything happens.
– get plumbing and water damage repair estimates from your plumber and other companies. Don’t just let the insurance company send their contractors because they are there on the insurance company’s behalf, not yours. Get outside quotes to confirm costs of plumbing reroute of covered, and mitigation and restoration costs.