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What leaks does homeowners insurance cover?

Homeowners insurance policies cover sudden or accidental damage due to a broken or burst pipe, stormwater overflow, floods, and storms. Your insurance policy won’t cover gradual damage that could have been avoided by maintenance or have been caused by the negligence of the homeowner. Therefore, it is best to have your plumbing and electrical fixtures or appliances inspected and repaired immediately.

Are plumbing leaks covered by home insurance?

Your insurance policy might cover the cost to locate the leak and fix the damage caused by the leak. It will NOT cover the cost of repairing the leaking pipe. If the damage is caused by poorly maintained pipes or taps, broken seals and waterproofing membranes then you won’t be covered.

However, it is not a straightforward answer and it would depend on your policy and provider. It is important to read the Product Disclosure Statement of your insurance policy. This will also help you to change your insurance provider, make adjustments or ask for additional coverage. It is also super important to check your house for structural damage and leaks and get the issues fixed as and when they arise before they become gigantic problems.

What is covered and what isn’t?

Sudden and Accidental Damage

Your insurance policy can cover damage caused by :

  • Burst tap or pipes
  • Storm, lightning, wind, hail and snow
  • Stormwater overflow from gutters and downpipes
  • Flood
  • Sewer backup and water overflow
  • Damage caused by neighbours tree that blows onto your property

Insurance companies usually do NOT cover the following issues:

  • Mould
  • Rot
  • Corrosion
  • Leaking taps or pipes
  • Damaged roof
  • Blocked drains
  • Gutters
  • Damaged electrical wiring
  • Poor repairs or lack of repairs
  • Broken appliances
  • Structural issues – cracks in the walls, shifting building foundations or collapsing retaining walls
  • Damage caused by tree roots, removal of trees or sick trees
  • Animals or pests infestation

Ways to improve your chances of getting claims approved

  1. Read the policy document carefully and make sure you understand the fine print.
  2. If you are living in an area prone to floods or storms, increase the coverage provided by your home insurance.
  3. Schedule regular inspections and maintenance of the plumbing and electrical fixtures, appliances like hot water heaters, dishwashers, refrigerators etc.
  4. Maintain records of all the repairs and maintenance work you have scheduled on your property. If a sudden plumbing problem occurs, this record will ensure your claim will get accepted.

Signs of water leaks

Inside the house

  • Discolouration, warped or cracks in the wall
  • Mould growth or musty smell
  • Damp carpets
  • Water pooling under or around your appliances, cabinets or toilets
  • Cracked or discolouration in the cabinets, flooring, walls and bench tops
  • Cracks or damage in the pipes connected to your appliances

Outside the house

  • Water pooling in your garden
  • Leaks around the hot water system
  • Cracks or holes in retaining walls and paved areas

How to check for water leaks?

  1. Observe the signs listed above and if you notice the signs of water leaks on your property, contact your local plumber for assistance.
  2. Check your water meter – Turn off all the taps in your home and note down the meter reading. Keep the taps off for a couple of hours and observe the reading again. Compare both the readings and if they are different, there might be a leak.
  3. Food colouring – Add a few drops of food colouring to the toilet tank, wait for 10-15 minutes without flushing the toilet. If you can see the colour in your toilet bowl, your toilet might be leaking

Sometimes it’s difficult to find the source of the leak, especially if you suspect pipes leaking underground. A wet patch of soil might be a sign but the actual leak could be several meters away. That’s where Brisbane leak detection services can save loads of time and money, precisely locating the leak so it can be exposed and repaired with minimal fuss. This can also help in saving water which is a vital commodity.

Maintain the plumbing in your home

  1. Inspect the tap fittings and pipes, walls, floors and ceilings for signs of water damage.
  2. Get the Flexi hose in your home inspected by a licensed plumber. Flexi hose connects the main water supply to kitchen, bathroom and toilets. They can last for 5 years and should be inspected regularly as a broken or leaking hose can cause massive damage to your house. Did you know that a broken flexi hose can leak up to 1500 litres of water per hour?
  3. Turn off the water supply from mains if you are going away. A leak might happen in your absence and cause damage which can be easily avoided by shutting down the water supply.

Prevention is definitely better than spending thousands of dollars on unexpected repairs. Don’t wait until the last moment, call a professional to make repairs as soon as possible.

Need plumbing services in Brisbane?

Your local licensed plumbers at Brisbane Plumbing and Drainage are here to help. We can find the sources of leaks and repair them. Call us now on 1300 616 203 or fill in the online booking form.

Sources:

  • https://www.nrma.com.au/sites/nrma/files/nrma/policy_booklets/home_pds_0620_nsw_act_tas.pdf
  • https://www.nrma.com.au/home-insurance-claims-am-i-covered
  • https://rac.com.au/faq/hl_ins_claim_pipes
  • https://mozo.com.au/insurance/home-insurance/articles/does-home-insurance-cover-that-9-things-you-may-not-know-about-your-policy
  • budgetdirect.com.au/home-contents-insurance/home-insurance-faqs/what-home-insurance-covers.html
  • https://www.gio.com.au/know-more/insuring-your-home/water-leaks.html
  • https://www.suncorp.com.au/learn-about/maintaining-a-home/are-you-covered-for-water-damage.html