While away on vacation, the water pipes in our home froze and burst. Does my home insurance cover this?
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Asked March 25, 2013
If your pipes freeze and burst, it is covered under your homeowner's insurance policy. This coverage is for water damage, as opposed to flooding, which is not covered in a standard policy. So, if your pipes burst as a result of freezing, you would be covered, but if the damage is related to rising waters instead, your standard policy will not do you much good.
The problem you may run into, where filing an insurance claim is concerned, is that you could push your risk assessment up to the point that your premiums will rise after the claim. Since all liability insurance claims, including claims for home and auto insurance, will be placed into your permanent record, the more claims you file, the more likely you are to see an increase in your premiums. Because of this, it may be less expensive in the long run to go ahead and make the repairs yourself rather than filing a claim that could have negative repercussions. Furthermore, if you file too many claims, you could be turned down for renewal when it comes time to renew the policy.
Take a look at the damages and decide whether they warrant filing a claim. If the cost of repairs is less than or only slightly more than the amount of your deductible, then paying for the repairs out of pocket will probably be in your best interest. If, on the other hand, the damages are so extensive that your deductible is negligible in comparison, then filing a claim will be the most financially appropriate decision.
To avoid this situation completely, there are some things you can do when leaving home for an extended period during winter. Most experts suggest keeping your thermostat on at a lower temperature rather than turning it off completely, for instance. Another suggestion would be to leave an outdoor faucet dripping to avoid frozen pipes. If you do this, the best faucet to turn on slightly is the one farthest away from where the water enters your home, and the drip should be a small one, not a faucet left running. Turning the faucet on too high could result other types of water damage and could result in higher repair bills than you would pay for burst pipes.
Answered March 25, 2013 by Anonymous