Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Damage from Burst Pipes?

During winter months, homeowners can experience costly problems like burst pipe damage.  Before the temperatures drop, take the time to review your homeowners policy to be sure you are covered for this eventuality.  Water damage may not be covered in some circumstances, so you need to be prepared. 

6 Surprising Facts About Water Burst Pipe Damage

  1. The main cause of property damage during the winter months is frozen or burst pipes.
  2. About 37% of burst pipe damage occurs in the basement or lower levels of the home.
  3. Property damage from burst pipe damage often exceeds $5,000.
  4. As much as 400 liters of water per hour can be lost due to a burst pipe.
  5. More than 250,000 homes are damaged by burst pipes every year.
  6. Leaking or burst pipes can cause significant structural damage to your home.

With these facts in mind, you should take steps to ensure that your home is protected.

Does Home Insurance Cover Burst Pipe Damage?

Burst Pipe DamageDoes home insurance cover burst pipes? In some cases, there are several factors to consider. Typically, accidental or unexpected water damage can occur as a result of frozen or burst pipes.  But, what if you neglected to take preventative measures and the consequent damage is extensive?   

Here are some situations that may or may not be covered by your homeowner’s policy:

  • Frozen pipes – Cleaning and repairs due to water damage resulting from burst or frozen pipes are usually covered.  However, if you left home for a few days and turned off the heat causing the pipes to freeze, your claim will not be covered.
  • Broken pipes – Should you dig in your yard and accidentally damage a water line, the cleanup and repair costs could be covered. If a water line breaks due to corrosion, poor installation, tree roots, shifting soil, or pests, the damage is not covered.  In many cases, repair or replacement of a water main supply line is the responsibility of the city or town, but you may be responsible for the main line connected to your house.

Most insurance companies consider a home’s plumbing system to be the homeowner’s responsibility.  It is up to the homeowner to make sure the pipes don’t freeze.  However, sudden, unexpected burst pipes that are not the result of negligence may be covered.  Talk to your insurance agent if you are concerned about burst pipe coverage. 

Precautions You Can Take to Prevent Burst Pipes 

Not all frozen pipes will burst, but it is a good idea to be prepared for that potential outcome during the winter months.  Below are several steps you can take to protect your home from burst pipe damage.

  • Add insulation to basements, attics, crawl spaces, and under cabinets.
  • Insulate other unheated areas such as garages.
  • Install products that insulate water pipes such as a pipe sleeve, heat tape, or heat cable.
  • Wrap the exposed pipes in about ¼” of newspaper to help prevent freezing.
  • Relocate exposed pipes to protect them from freezing.
  • Keep the garage doors closed if water pipes are in that area.
  • During extreme temperatures, let cold water drip from faucets to prevent freezing.
  • Leave the heat no lower than 55 ℉ if you will be away from home.
  • Disconnect garden hoses and open the outdoor faucet to drain the water line.
  • Seal holes around pipes in the interior or exterior walls.
  • Obtain a reliable backup power source.

If you think your pipes have frozen, you have a few options that may help prevent damage.  First, inspect exposed pipes. If you detect any cracks or breaks, turn off the main water supply and contact a plumber right away.   Never attempt to thaw a frozen pipe using an open flame or another extreme heat source such as a propane or kerosene heater or charcoal stove.

Generally, your home’s water pipes won’t freeze until the outside temperature is below 20℉ for about six consecutive hours.  But, temperatures can drop quickly, so don’t wait until the last minute to winterize your pipes.  

Don’t let the expense of burst pipe damage catch you off guard. Talk to your insurance agent to find out whether your home is protected against frozen pipe damage.

Taking Care of Your Insurance Needs Is a Priority and a Privilege

Sandifer Insurance Agency is a local, family-owned business located near historic downtown Cheraw, SC.  We have over 40 years of experience in helping homeowners protect their homes and their families.  

Contact us today for a free quote for your insurance needs whether homeowners, auto, life, commercial, or farm insurance.  We look forward to speaking with you.



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