Homeowner insurance protects your home from damage, theft and liability. However, this coverage is subject to restrictions – and this depends on the type of “hazard” your policy covers against.
There are eight types of homeowner insurance, but they all fall into one of two categories: named hazard or overt (all) hazard. A named hazard policy covers you for listed events such as fire, storm, or theft, while an overt hazard policy covers almost anything that could happen unless your policy specifically states that it is not covered. Open Peril offers more coverage than Named Peril.
Does homeowner insurance cover plumbing and pipe leaks?
Homeowners’ insurance covers water damage as a result of a named hazard (or a covered event). For example, if water damage is caused by a burst pipe, it can fall under “sudden, accidental, cracked or ruptured” or “freezing” or “stormy” hazards, according to Steve Wilson, Senior Underwriting Manager at Hippo Insurance.
An insurance hazard is an event that causes damage to your home and your coverage depends on what policy you have
Ashlee Tilford, editor-in-chief of Insurance.com, told Insider that homeowners insurance will cover pipe burst damage from a named hazard as long as the outbreak is not due to negligence. She noted that the repair of the pipe itself is not covered, but the damage resulting from it is covered.
Named Peril homeowner insurance usually covers the following events:
- Fire or lightning
- Storm or hail
- Falling objects
- Weight of ice, snow or sleet
- Accidental drainage or overflow of water or steam
- Sudden and accidental tearing, cracking, burning or bulging
- Sudden and accidental damage from short circuit
- Volcanic eruption
Source: Zebra and lemonade data
If burst pipes damage your belongings, it will be covered by your personal property coverage. However, if you have high-end electronics or custom jewelry, most homeowner policies have a coverage limit of $ 2,500. Unless you purchased an add-on driver for special jewelry or electronics, your restoration amount is limited.
If your home is not habitable due to water damage from a burst pipe, some homeowner policies have “Additional Living Expenses” (ALE) coverage to allow you to stay in alternative homes. However, Tilford cautions against assuming your policy will cover additional living expenses. She recommends contacting your provider if you are considering leaving your home because you think it is uninhabitable.
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Not all water damage is covered by homeowner insurance. For example, damage resulting from poor maintenance or normal wear and tear on pipes is not covered.
The standard homeowner insurance also does not cover damage caused by backup or sewer pipes, but is available as an additional driver. You will need to check with your provider to see if they offer additional coverage for backup and sewer lines.
In addition, flood damage is not covered by standard homeowner insurance and requires separate flood insurance.
What about mold?
Mold can be caused by water damage caused by an insured hazard – such as B. a burst pipe, wind or hailstorm – fall under the standard insurance for homeowners.
Mold takes time to grow and warm weather. If it is the result of negligence or lack of maintenance, it is not covered. Unless mold is associated with a hazard, most homeowner insurance policies will deny cover for mold damage.
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Check the floor or ceiling for yellow and brown water stains to prevent mold damage. Look for peeling paint or creasing planks. These are usually signs of a leak.
Wilson said Hippo Insurance is offering homeowners a smart home kit with their policy that monitors pipes and plumbing to prevent and detect leaks. Homeowners who use smart home sensors receive a discount on the annual premium. Check with your homeowner insurer to see if they offer a similar service.
Wilson provided the following four steps to file a water damage claim with your homeowner insurance company:
- Contact the insurance carrier. Your carrier can provide a list of contractors.
- Consult your carrier for advice to prevent further damage.
- Take photos or videos of the damage and where it is.
- Prevent further property damage. Focus on a temporary fix so that the insurance company can access a permanent solution from a professional. Make sure that water can flow into all taps. Leaks are usually a sign of a problem, especially in less-used spaces like guest rooms.
Ronda Lee is Associate Editor, Insurance for Personal Finance Insider, covering life, auto, homeowner and renter insurance for consumers. She is also a licensed attorney who practiced litigation and insurance coverage.
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