As temperatures dropped to near-record lows across the country in early January, many homeowners struggled to keep their homes in working condition during the cold snap. Insurance companies—like State Farm—are already reporting that a large number of homeowners' insurance claims are coming in related to damaged roofs and burst water pipes.
Are burst water pipes covered by most insurance policies?
Generally, yes. If your pipes freeze during cold weather, causing them to burst, any water damage that results is likely covered by your homeowner's insurance policy. There are three major exceptions to this rule, however:
- Was your frozen pipe due to lack of maintenance? You are expected to maintain your home in a reasonable manner. If you did not replace old or corroded pipes, or if you failed to properly insulate your pipes, your insurance claim for a frozen and burst pipe could be denied.
- Was your frozen pipe due to negligence? Could you have easily prevented your frozen or burst pipe from taking place? For example, did you turn off the heat in your home during cold weather? If so, your insurance company may be able to deny your claim for a valid reason.
- Was your broken pipe due to normal wear and tear? Insurance policies usually do not cover damage caused by normal aging, such as old pipes or corroded pipes. If your pipes froze because of an unusual cold snap, causing water damage, your claim will likely be approved. If a pipe burst simply because it was worn out, you may be out of luck.
The best way to know whether your frozen pipe damage is covered by your insurance policy is to read your contract carefully—and talk to your insurance company if needed.
Want to learn more about your homeowners insurance? Order our free e-book, The Essential Guide to Residential Claims.