Editorial Note: We earn a commission on partner links on Forbes Advisor. Commissions do not affect the opinions or ratings of our editors.
Home insurance covers plumbing damage when there is a sudden and accidental problem, such as a burst pipe flooding your basement. But home insurance usually doesn’t cover preventable or gradual water damage.
When does home insurance cover plumbing?
A standard home insurance policy covers plumbing damage caused by sudden and accidental eventssuch as:
- Accidental leak
- Pipe break
- falling object
- Frozen pipe, in a heated house
- roof leak
- Broken household appliances or systems
- Storms, but no flooding from outside
These types of coverage within a home insurance policy can pay for plumbing damage, depending on the cause.
The home component of your home insurance pays to rebuild or repair damage to your home and any attached structures, such as a porch or garage.
So if your water heater breaks, damaging your floors and walls, this coverage can pay for drywall repair, new paint, crown molding and flooring replacement. Mold, fungus or wet rot resulting from a sudden and accidental problem is also usually covered.
Coverage of other structures
This coverage covers damage to structures not attached to your home, such as a shed or fence. If there is a plumbing issue covered by your policy that damages a detached garage, that coverage will pay for the repairs.
Personal Property Coverage
Personal property coverage pays to repair or replace your personal effects if they are damaged or destroyed by issues covered by your policy.
For example, if a pipe bursts and floods your living room, this coverage can pay to replace your water-damaged furniture, rugs, electronics, and even the books on your shelves.
Additional living expenses (ALE) coverage
Additional living expenses coverage reimburses you for extra expenses if you have to live somewhere else temporarily while your plumbing damage is repaired.
ALE covers the difference between your normal household expenses and new expenses you have because you cannot live at home. This may include the cost of hotel accommodation, restaurant meals, laundry service and payment for boarding your pets.
Related: What does home insurance cover?
What plumbing problems does home insurance not cover?
Home insurance does not cover damage caused by progressive plumbing leaks, no matter how large. For example, if your washing machine has a slow leak, you are responsible for repairing it and you will not be covered for any damage resulting from the leak.
Other plumbing problems not covered by home insurance include:
- Frozen pipes in an unheated house
- Plumbing problems caused by normal wear and tear
- Plumbing problems caused by negligence
- Avoidable pipe leaks or mold damage
- Sewer or sump pump backups, unless additional coverage has been purchased
- Water damage due to pool leaks
Complementary home insurance for plumbing problems
If you want to buy the broadest possible coverage for water-related issues, consider buying these:
- Flood insurance. A standard home insurance policy will not cover flood damage caused by inclement weather. You will need to purchase a separate flood insurance policy.
- Water backup cover. Water that backs up into a sewer or drain and damages your home is not covered by a standard home insurance policy. But you can usually purchase an additional sump pump and water backup coverage to complement a homeowners insurance policy.
Are you looking for home insurance?
Compare the rates of participating carriers in your area via Policygenius.com
Plumbing Home Insurance FAQs
Does home insurance cover plumbing leaks?
Home insurance does not cover gradual plumbing leaks that cause damage over time, but it will cover sudden and accidental leaks. For example, your policy is unlikely to cover damage caused by a leaking dishwasher or HVAC system, but it will usually cover a burst pipe.
Related: Home insurance for water damage
Will a water damage claim increase my insurance premiums?
Filing a water damage insurance claim can cause your homeowners insurance rate to increase, as insurers correlate claims to a higher risk of you filing more claims in the future. If you only have a little water damage, it may be better in the long run to pay for the repairs yourself.
Related: The Worst Home Insurance Claim Mistakes