Sure, a gushing, broken pipe would be cause for alarm and require immediate attention. But let a slow, tiny leak go unfixed, and you could be looking at a big expense.
The Insurance Information Institute states, “Water damage is one of the most common and costly disasters affecting U.S. residences, accounting for billions of dollars in losses to homeowners and renters annually.”
Granted, a portion of that figure is due to unanticipated natural causes, such as driving rain, frozen pipes, and flooding. And while industry experts concur that homeowner’s insurance policies typically cover water damage if the cause is sudden and accidental (except for flooding, which requires a specific policy), most policies do not cover damage from normal wear and tear or neglected maintenance, such as an ongoing leak.
More importantly, water damage from a leaky pipe can cause expensive repairs to the surrounding structure or even contribute to mold-related health concerns.
Insurance industry leader Allstate explains, “While your insurance will probably help cover the cost of replacing or repairing a damaged floor if your dishwasher suddenly goes on the fritz, coverage generally will not kick in if the damage results from an unresolved maintenance issue, such as continuous leaking near a faucet or other plumbing fixture.”
“What’s really important to know for leaks is when did the insured notice it and take action,” says Christine G. Barlow, a Chartered Property Casualty Underwriter and associate editor of National Underwriter and FC&S Online, which interprets insurance policies for the insurance industry.
So, aside from pulling out your appliances and drywall to visually inspect for leaks, how would you determine if you may have a problem?
- Pay close attention to your water bill and the meter units used. Go back through several months, and if you notice an unanticipated spike in usage —
- Hire a professional and licensed contractor to perform a plumbing inspection.
Weather Master’s Mr. Plumber can perform a full inspection of your home that includes, but is not limited to, examination of the following potential water leak hazards:
- Staining in toilets or sinks
- Dripping faucets or shower heads
- Rotten egg smell
- Slow drains or flushing
- Water pressure strength
- Water heater supply, valves, and wiring
- Main shutoff valves and supply lines
- Floor drains, sump pump, or septic lines
You may not even know that you have a water leak; however, letting a problem go unchecked could result in unexpected repair costs that may not be covered by insurance, as well as health concerns from mold or mildew. Our best advice is to keep an eye on your water bill. Then call Weather Master’s Mr. Plumber to pinpoint the cause if you see a spike in usage.