If my tub has a leaky drain pipe that ends up damaging the walls, will my homeowners insurance cover the repairs?
UPDATED: Jul 23, 2012
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Asked July 23, 2012
Water damage, as opposed to flooding, is usually covered in a homeowner's insurance policy. But before you give a sigh of relief, take note of the fact that there are limitations to the coverage and the leaking pipe itself may not be part of the coverage. A leaking pipe is generally considered to be a maintenance issue, unless the pipe is leaking because of some other, covered circumstance, such as a tree falling on the home. Your policy will spell out exactly what is considered water damage, and list any exclusions that may interfere with filing a claim.
If the pipe has been leaking for a long period of time, such as for a couple of months, and you have not had it repaired, the homeowners insurance company may deny the claim for water damages on the grounds that you have not performed necessary maintenance on the home. Not only that, but if you try to file a claim and it is determined that the pipe is leaking because of something you have done, such as driving a nail through the wall, any coverage you had for the water damage may be negated.
As soon as you discovered the leaking pipe, you should have called a plumber or made the repairs yourself, if you are handy in that way. Ignoring the leak could only complicate the damages and drive up the costs of repairs. For an insurance company, this is tantamount to negligence, and not only can the company deny your claim, they might even be able to cancel your policy because you are not holding up your obligations under the insurance contract.
While the leaking pipe may not be covered, mold and mildew caused by the leak probably is, so long as you have not voided the coverage by waiting too long, and did not personally cause the leak through your own actions. Repairing your plumbing is not a typical insurance company obligation, but making sure that home is safe for your family to live in would be. Again, though, the deciding factor may be how long the leak has existed and what steps you have taken to reduce the damage. Regardless of what the cause of damage to your home may be, your first obligation after the damage is discovered is to minimize the damages by correcting or repairing the cause.
Answered July 23, 2012 by Anonymous