Are plumbing leaks covered by homeowners insurance? This is one common question that crosses the minds of a lot of homeowners in Cape Town. After all, people buy home insurance to make sure that they are covered through different kinds of emergencies. Plumbing emergencies definitely count as events that are unplanned and may happen just as you have a tight budget and have no extra money to shell out.
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Every home insurance policy varies from the other. Policies are often patterned according to the needs and preferences of the homeowner, so whether plumbing leaks are covered would depend on your policy’s specifics.
Sudden and accidental leaks are often covered. This means that the leak is something that emerges out of nowhere, catching you unaware. If, however, the leak is something that you have noticed for months and is now starting to build momentum, then it is possible that this will not be covered. If there are older policies that could cover these long-term leaks, the agreement usually states that there should be no way for you to have discovered the leak any sooner. Any evidence that you have had a clue about the leak beforehand would automatically mean that this could not be covered.
Here are a few examples of scenarios where home insurance is often not applicable:
Unresolved maintenance problems
This means that if the dishwasher suddenly spews out a load of water onto the floor, then the damage caused may be covered. But if a continuous leak under your kitchen sink is the suspect for all the evident water damage around it, then this is considered to be an unresolved maintenance problem and will not be covered.
Repair or replacement of the source of the water damage
In the event that your insurance policy pays for the replacement of any damage caused by the broken dishwasher or the burst pipe to your floor or to the wall, they will definitely not cover the repair or replacement of the dishwasher or the pipes.
You may also opt for additional coverage for scenarios that are typically not covered by regular home insurance policies. Damage from water backup coming from an external drain or sewer, for example, is usually not covered by a regular home insurance policy. But if you want this to be covered, you can always ask the insurance provider about this possibility.
It is always better to be safe than sorry. Although you are confident in the fact that you have homeowners insurance, you still have the responsibility to at least try to prevent using it. Make sure you inspect hoses and pipes regularly so that problems can be resolved while there is relatively small damage. Never put off any maintenance work. And the moment you find even the smallest of leaks, report it right away.
Remember that having home insurance does not mean that you can be negligent in terms of taking care of your plumbing. The inconvenience that a plumbing emergency costs leads to a waste of time and resources. Buy homeowners insurance for cases that are unavoidable. As for the rest of possible plumbing issues, these can be taken care of by taking care of your plumbing system the right way.