In the wake of a pipe break, many homeowners find themselves overwhelmed by the insurance hurdles and policy specifics that deal with pipe damages. However, better understanding your policy and performing preventative pipe checkups can eliminate this frustration.
By acting proactively, providing regular pipe maintenance and acting on warning signs, you can ensure that your pipe system will be fully covered by your homeowner’s insurance.
How Pipe Breaks Occur
Pipe breaks in your home and under your home’s foundation can stem from any range of destructive sources, some of which are covered by insurance policies, some of which are not.
The most common causes of pipe breaks include:
- Environmental activity, such as temperatures, large storms, floods and storm debris
- Ground activity, especially relevant for Californian pipe systems and insurance policies
- Ecological activity, such as tree roots and animal activity that may fracture pipes
- Human activity, including poor maintenance work and improper installation
It is because of these many, varying causes of pipe breaks that insurance companies must be particularly wary when providing coverage for a break and pipe repair. Homeowners must know the warning signs and indicators of a damaged or weakening pipe line, and act upon these signs to receive the most comprehensive coverage.
Typical warning signs that a pipe may be experiencing problems and need professional preventative maintenance include:
- Foul smelling water or odors
- Insufficient/irregular water pressure or flow
- Strange noises from pipe lines
- Leak presence or surface moisture
These warning signs must be taken into important consideration and dealt with before further damage can occur. Ignoring these signs can lead to a negligent pipe break; the one thing insurance policies will almost never cover is negligence on the homeowner’s behalf.
What Homeowner’s Insurance Covers
In Sacramento, California, the greatest determinants in whether or not you receive break coverage are your specific policy and the physical location of the pipe breaks and damage.
Like most types of insurance, what is covered depends almost entirely on the provider and service you have enrolled in. Essentially, no two policies are the same; some require add-on deals to cover accidental flood damage and broken pipe fixtures, while others include it in a larger home repair insurance package. The damages and coverage you receive are specific to your insurance policy.
Generally, the pipe break or damage must be the result of an unforeseeable accident or poor workmanship on the installer’s behalf for insurance companies to consider it coverable. Pipe breaks that result from lack of maintenance, or improper upkeep on your part will not be covered in most cases. Basically, if you or your family had a negligent role in a pipe’s fracturing, it will not be covered.
Most insurance companies in the Sacramento area provide policies that deny coverage in circumstances involving preventable negligence. What it comes down to is your responsibility as a homeowner: a track record of proper maintenance and regular upkeep shows insurers that you are proactively addressing and improving the state of your home. If you neglect to perform regular inspections, or act upon potential warning signs (such as leaking pipes or low water pressure, that can be indicative of a pipe break risk), insurers will not feel obligated to provide coverage.
What a majority of insurance policies in Sacramento do cover are breaks and damages resulting from uncontrollable accidents (such as falling trees, earthquakes, natural events, and the actual water damage breaks create), and breaks caused by faulty/poor pipe installation. If a pipe installer neglects using insulation to protect your pipes from winter chills, or does secondary damage when performing maintenance duties to your pipes, this will likely be covered under your homeowner’s insurance policy.
Often, insurance companies may attempt to identify responsible parties in accidental pipe breaks, and seek compensatory damages from them on your behalf. Furthermore, it can be significantly beneficial for homeowners to create direct and undeniable links from these broken pipes to any water or flood damage in their homes; properly covering everything associated with a pipe break will ensure you get adequate and full coverage.
In addition to your specific type of policy, the other most decisive factor in determining your pipe break coverage is the actual, physical location of the damaged pipe.
With Sacramento pipe break policies, it is much more difficult to receive coverage for breaks and damages to your main sewer and water line; that is, the sewer line that connects your home to the municipal sewer line. This is because the sewer line in question is outside of the limits of your home’s foundation, and more questionable as a part of your property. Breaks in pipe lines directly beneath your home’s foundation or inside your home are significantly more likely to receive coverage, as they are much more easily identified as a part of your property.
Proactive Measures You Can Take
For homeowners to ensure that they receive full coverage in the event of a pipe break, it is important for them to understand the necessary preventative measures. Relating to previous points, it is crucial for homeowners to prove they proactively maintained and supported their pipe systems.
Lack of care for and regular upkeep to pipe lines in homes, new or old, will likely result in coverage denial. Checking your home’s pipe lines and performing maintenance on a regular schedule can save you the inconvenience of dealing with insurance adjusters and policy confusion following a break. This includes performing appropriate weather-specific maintenance, such as pipe insulation during winter months, and preventative techniques for seasonal changes and your geographical area.
It is also highly encouraged for homeowners to contact their insurance provider and receive a comprehensive, all-inclusive copy of their insurance policy. This way, they can determine exactly what is covered, when it is or isn’t covered and in what circumstances. Some policies do not include naturally occurring events and damages, so it is important to know precisely the extent and limitations of your coverage.
Pipe line breaks can happen at any moment, from any wide array or mix of causes, which often leads to insurance coverage hassles and policy confusion. It is important for homeowners to stay informed of their policy’s coverage and potential break hazards, as well as provide routine, preventative checkups of their pipe systems. To learn more about homeowner’s insurance and damage to your pipe lines, contact us today.