According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), water damage is one of the main reasons homeowners file an insurance claim. This comes as no surprise, as burst pipes and major leaks can cause devastating damage to a home, typically requiring extensive and costly repairs.
If you recently experienced water damage from a burst pipe in your home, you might wonder, “Does flood insurance cover burst pipes?” Homeowners’ and flood insurance policies can be confusing, as coverage depends on the source of the water damage and other factors. Flood insurance usually excludes problems with the plumbing, such as burst pipes. However, your homeowners’ insurance should pay for burst pipe damage.
Insurance companies often refuse, delay, or minimize valid claims. However, you do not have to stand for it. If a burst pipe significantly damages your property and belongings and you are struggling to get a payout, Morgan & Morgan could help. Our insurance lawyers can review your policy, advise you on your next best steps, and fight for what you deserve. Get started now and contact us for a free, no-obligation consultation.
Flood Insurance vs. Homeowners’ Insurance
Flood insurance differs from your standard homeowners’ insurance policy. Although most homeowners’ policies cover damage from plumbing issues such as burst pipes, they generally do not cover flood events. Therefore, a separate flood insurance policy can be helpful if you live in an area prone to flooding.
Flood Insurance Coverage
Flood insurance generally covers flooding events affecting your property, such as:
- Flood water or mud intrusion
- Surface run-off water damage
- Sewage system backup due to flooding
- Flash floods
- Storm surges
Flood insurance covers your property and contents if the losses are directly caused by a flooding event, such as a river bursting its banks or a storm surge.
Homeowners’ Insurance Coverage
Most homeowners’ insurance policies cover several types of water damage, including:
- Burst pipes
- Plumbing leaks
- Overflowing toilets
- Roof leaks
- Water damage from fire extinguishing
However, it is crucial to note that homeowners’ insurance only pays for damage if you do not neglect timely repair. For example, homeowners’ insurance may refuse to pay for your losses if you knew about a roof leak and failed to fix it or if your plumbing leaks due to deterioration and neglect. Burst pipes are generally covered as they can occur even with proper maintenance.
Insurance Policies Can Be Confusing
While usually, flood insurance does not cover burst pipes, you could have other options for getting what you deserve. However, homeowners and flood insurance policies tend to be written in a language that makes them challenging to understand. If you recently had a burst pipe or other detrimental water event damage your home and contents, Morgan & Morgan can help. We can review your policy, help you understand what is covered, and fight for what you deserve if your insurance company refuses a fair settlement.
Causes of Burst Pipes
Burst water pipes can cause a lot of damage to your home and contents. However, knowing why pipes burst can, in some cases, help prevent the worst. Causes of burst pipes can include:
High Water Pressure
High water pressure can lead to a burst pipe. The most common cause of high pressure is an issue with the municipal water supply. Other causes of high-water pressure include:
- Clogged pipes
- Wrongly adjusted pressure valves
- Living next to a water hydrant
While you cannot influence the water pressure supplied from your local municipal water supply, there are some things you can do to reduce water pressure and the likelihood of burst pipes:
- Adjust the water pressure valve
- Install a water pressure regulator
- Clean clogged pipes
- Replace worn and damaged pipes promptly
Corrosion and Age
If the pipes in your home are ancient, you could be sitting on a ticking time bomb. Aging pipes are more likely to burst from high water pressure. Moreover, metal water pipes corrode, which can cause weakened and clogged pipes. Corrosion can particularly affect older plumbing as any anti-corrosive treatments wear out over time. Homeowners can slow down pipe corrosion by:
- Lowering water pressure
- Treating water to eliminate or minimize corrosive agents
- Using non-metallic pipes
If you have corroded pipes in your home, replace them as soon as possible to avoid a burst pipe.
Frozen pipes in cold climates commonly cause pipe bursts. Since water expands when it freezes, the expansion and resulting pressure may cause a pipe to rupture. You can prevent freezing pipes by:
- Keeping the heating on a low setting when away from home
- Insulating the outside of the pipes
- Letting taps trickle rather than shutting them off completely
Homeowners who neglect the maintenance of their plumbing systems and pipes are more likely to suffer from leaks and pipe bursts. Moreover, when it comes to filing an insurance claim after a pipe burst, an insurer could refuse your claim if it can prove that you failed to replace or repair old and damaged pipes in time.