When standing water gets trapped in your home’s pipes and the temperature plummets below freezing, you are at serious risk of frozen pipes. The frozen water expands and bursts a hole right through the pipe or breaks the pipe at its seam. If it is not caught in time, once the water starts moving again you could be looking at a huge loss due to water damage. Home insurance could come to your rescue depending on the amount of damage and your coverage.
Is a frozen pipe covered on my home insurance?
Do you want the good news or the bad news? Starting with the bad news, a home owner’s policy does not cover a damaged pipe from freezing water. The home owner will be responsible for repairing the broken pipe and any associated plumber costs. Maintenance repairs are always the homeowner’s responsibility.
The good news, most home owner’s insurance policies do cover water damage from a frozen pipe. So what does that mean exactly? Well, it means if you have 3 inches of standing water damaging your floor, dry wall, and belongings, your insurance policy will cover the damage minus your deductible. Most Michigan home policies come with a flat rate deductible such as $500 or $1000. Lots of other states have their deductible a percentage of the home coverage. Which means if your home is insured for $250,000 and your deductible is set to 10%, you would be responsible for a $25,000 deductible.
Not all home policies cover water damage.
Unfortunately, not all home policies cover water damage from a frozen pipe. Sometimes a higher deductible applies to water damage and sometimes it is excluded all together. This information is very important to understand at the time you purchase the policy. It can be difficult locating water damage coverage in your home owner’s insurance paperwork. If you are not sure whether your insurance policy covers water damage, call your insurance agent or carrier right away.
How much will my insurance cover?
A good policy will have replacement cost coverage on both your home and contents. Replacement cost does not mean you will receive the full replacement value up front. Most companies restrict replacement cost reimbursement by only paying out actual cash value at first, then giving you the full replacement cost once you show the items have been replaced. Proof is usually in the form of a receipt. It is up to you whether you want to replace the items or not. This cuts back on insurance fraud.
Frozen pipe home insurance claims are not at all uncommon. Damage can easily reach $5000 from a single frozen pipe. These types of claims are preventable with a little foresight.
- Leave your water dripping to relieve pressure.
- Drain pipes of water.
- Have a generator ready for when you lose power.
How will a water claim impact my insurance rate?
A water claim is one of the worse claims to file. Often water claims are preventable, whereas a weather related claim usually is not. Expect higher insurance points assigned to a water claim and expect a surcharge at your renewal. Surcharges usually last three years. And a little warning, more than two claims filed in three years on your homeowner’s insurance is cause for your policy to be non-renewed by most insurance carriers. Contact your insurance representative to learn more about your policy specifics.
Have you ever had your pipes freeze? How much damage was caused?
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