Does Your House Insurance Cover Plumbing?

house insurance

Problems from ageing or faulty plumbing can be one of the most expensive repair jobs for homeowners. So does your insurance cover defective plumbing and the headaches it can cause?

First of all, check with your current insurance provider – or read the fine print yourself – to work out what exactly your policy covers. Every insurer is different and it depends on the type of cover and the extras you selected. Most people don’t know if their home insurance covers plumbing or not, so there’s no embarrassment in making an enquiry.

What Am I Not Covered For?

Home insurance is actually designed to cover the cost of unexpected damage. So are your plumbing problems unexpected?

It depends on the problem. The gradual damage to your plumbing system caused by rusting pipes, leaking or damage from substandard fixtures usually isn’t covered. Why? Because the damage could have been side-stepped with regular maintenance. Therefore the likes of mould and mildew, leaks in pipes and taps, blocked drains and gutters, and other gradual damage that could have been avoided by consistent maintenance, will not be covered.

These are viewed as long-standing problems that have built up and you have chosen to ignore them. However, it would be advisable to check with your insurance provider to see if any of these problems are covered before contacting a plumbing professional.

So What Am I Covered For?

A standard homeowner’s insurance policy does cover sudden and accidental damage. The important word is “accidental”.
Your insurance policy should cover the likes of:

  • Burst pipes and taps
  • Sewer backup and overflow
  • Stormwater overflow
  • Flooding
  • Water damage from storms, wind, hail or snow

Dwelling insurance is a clause in a homeowner’s policy that covers structural damage to your home, and this covers walls, floorboards, ceilings and roofs. Check to see if it also covers built-ins like a water heater and radiator. If any of the insured parts of the house – as part of your dwelling coverage – are damaged by plumbing issues, then you should be covered.

So if unforeseen plumbing problems have caused damage to your home, speak with your insurer before doing any repairs. Make sure you take pictures as further evidence to back up your claim.

What About Sewer Line Damage?

When it comes to standard homeowners’ policies, sewer line insurance is limited. But if sewer line damage in your home is unexpected and sudden, then your policy should cover it.

However, your insurance won’t cover a lack of sewer line maintenance. Energy companies and councils are responsible for sewer lines outside of your property. As the property owner, your responsibility lies from where the sewer line connects to your property.

Look After Your Plumbing

Knowing now that homeowner’s insurance won’t cover you for gradual damage that could be avoided with regular maintenance, it makes sense to be more aware of your plumbing.

Remember the term ‘accidental damage’. So ignore those dripping taps, noisy pipes, blocked drains, musty smells and that build-up of debris in your gutters at your peril.

A burst pipe is likely to be an emergency that you’re covered for, but neglecting a pipe that’s been dripping for a long time and causing water damage could well be a claim that’s denied.

So remember to give some TLC to your plumbing, fixtures, heating and cooling and hot water service, which could see you saving money in the long run.

Last Edited on: 12th July 2022