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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Plumbing?


For homeowners, unexpected plumbing problems can quickly turn into expensive nightmares. From burst pipes to water leaks, plumbing issues can cause havoc on both homes and finances. It’s no wonder that some homeowners might find themselves asking: “Does homeowners insurance cover plumbing?” 

So if you find yourself asking that question, keep reading to learn more about the homeowners insurance coverage for plumbing issues and how to ensure you have the right coverage for your needs.

At a glance:

  • Review your homeowners insurance policy to understand what plumbing issues, such as burst pipes and water leaks, may or may not be covered.
  • Consider factors such as your home's age, location, and plumbing system to determine potential risks and vulnerabilities.
  • Take preventive measures to reduce the risk of a future plumbing problem, such as regular inspections and routine maintenance.

What is homeowners insurance?

Before we dive into whether or not homeowners insurance includes coverage for plumbing, it’s important to first understand what homeowners insurance is and what home insurance typically covers.

Homeowners insurance is a type of insurance policy that provides financial protection for your home and personal belongings in the event of damage or loss. It typically covers damages caused by weather events such as wind, hail, fire, theft, and sudden accidents unless excluded from the policy. 

While coverage can vary depending on your specific policy and provider, most home insurance policies include dwelling coverage, other structures coverage, personal property coverage, homeowners liability, and loss of use, among other coverages. 

If you’re unsure what your home insurance policy covers, and its limits or exclusions, contact your insurance agent for expert guidance. 

Does home insurance cover plumbing?

Now that we know what homeowners insurance covers, let's get into the specifics of plumbing coverage. 

Yes, homeowners insurance covers the plumbing system in certain situations, but the extent of coverage varies by the home insurance policy, insurance provider, and cause of the damage. However, it's important to note that homeowners insurance typically does not cover routine maintenance or wear and tear of your plumbing system. If your plumbing system fails as a result of lack of maintenance, wear and tear, or deterioration, there may be coverage for the resulting water damage, but typically there is no coverage for the repairs to the system itself. If you have specific concerns or questions about your coverage, your insurance agent can provide assistance and help you determine if additional coverage options are needed.

Below are two common situations where homeowners insurance may provide coverage for plumbing-related issues:

1. Sudden and accidental damage

If your plumbing system experiences sudden or accidental damage, such as a burst pipe due to freezing temperatures or accidental damage caused by a contractor or yourself, your homeowners insurance may cover the cost of repairs or replacement to the plumbing system and the resulting water damage to your home. 

2. Water damage

Homeowners insurance typically covers water damage as a result of sudden and accidental events, such as burst pipes, appliance leaks, or plumbing system failures. This coverage may help pay for repairs to damaged walls, floors, ceilings, and personal belongings affected by the water. However, not all perils are covered. For instance flood damage may not be covered by your homeowners insurance policy.
Water runs down a stainless steel sink drain

Does homeowners insurance cover plumbing leaks?

The short answer is: it depends. Most homeowners insurance policies will cover sudden and accidental water damage caused by a plumbing leak, including damage to your walls, floors, and personal belongings.

However, if a plumbing leak is because of general wear and tear, deemed preventable, or the result of neglect by the homeowner, your insurance provider could deny coverage for the resulting damage.

It’s important to review your homeowners insurance policy carefully to understand the coverage limits, exclusions, and deductibles tied to plumbing leaks. Depending on your provider and your specific homeowners insurance policy, you may be able to purchase additional coverage for specific types of water damage, such as sewer backup or sump pump failure. In some cases, these coverages may be included in your policy, so it's important to review your policy for both limitations and inclusions.

Does homeowners insurance cover sewer line damage?

Coverage for sewer line damage can vary depending on the terms of your specific policy. In general, most homeowners insurance policies do not cover damage to sewer lines located outside of your home’s foundation. Some insurance companies offer optional coverage for sewer line damage caused by covered perils, so it's important to check with your provider to see if this is an option for you.

Additionally, if you're concerned about the potential for sewer line issues, consider getting your sewer line professionally inspected or by discussing preventative measures with your insurance provider.

Does homeowners insurance cover burst pipes?

Burst pipes are a common issue for homeowners, especially during cold winter months. The good news is, most homeowners insurance policies may cover the cost of repairing or replacing burst pipes—under certain circumstances. If a pipe bursts suddenly and accidentally, such as due to freezing temperatures or accidental damage caused by a contractor or yourself, your homeowners insurance policy would likely provide coverage for the resulting damage. This coverage can include the cost of repairing or replacing damaged property, as well as cleanup and restoration expenses.

It's important to note, however, that coverage for burst pipes may vary depending on your specific insurance policy. For example, some policies may have specific exclusions for damage caused by lack of maintenance or gradual deterioration of pipes.

Does homeowners insurance cover water damage from a plumbing backup?

If your plumbing backs up and causes water damage to your home, your homeowners insurance may cover the cost of repairs. However, this coverage depends on the cause of the backup and whether it occurred on or off your premises.

If the backup is due to a sudden and accidental event, it may be covered by your homeowners insurance, but if it is the result of neglect or lack of maintenance, it will likely not be covered. 

How to ensure you have the right coverage for your plumbing needs

It’s important to take the five steps outlined below to ensure you have adequate coverage for your plumbing needs:

1. Review your homeowners policy

Take the time to really understand what is covered by your home insurance policy, and what isn’t, paying close attention to coverage for plumbing-related issues. Note any specific coverages (like service line coverage), exclusions (like flooding), coverage limits, and deductibles. If you have any questions or concerns, reach out to your insurance provider or insurance agent for clarification.

2. Understand your risks

Part of responsible homeownership is understanding the risks associated with your particular home, region, and plumbing system. Consider the age of your home, pipe location (e.g. interior basement, underground, or exterior), and geographic factors that could increase the likelihood of plumbing issues (such as cold weather climates, frequency of natural disasters, etc.). 

3. Consider optional coverage

If your homeowners insurance doesn’t provide enough coverage for your peace of mind, such as coverage for sewer line damage, water backup, or sump pump failure. If you identify any gaps in your current homeowners insurance coverage, consider adding coverage to your policy through endorsements or riders. 

4. Regularly maintain your plumbing

As mentioned earlier, regular maintenance is pivotal to preventing plumbing issues and denied claims. Take proactive steps to maintain your plumbing and minimize the risk of water damage by conducting regular inspections and addressing signs of leaks or damage promptly, insulating pipes when the weather turns cold, and routinely gutter and drain cleaning. 

5. Consult your insurance agent

As mentioned earlier, your insurance agent or insurance provider can provide expert guidance on your current coverage and discuss any concerns or plumbing needs you may have. In addition, your insurance agent can recommend appropriate endorsements to tailor your insurance coverage to fit your specific needs and budget.
A person works on under-sink pipes

What to do if you have a plumbing issue

If you have a leak or burst pipe, find the water shut-off valve and immediately stop the flow of water to prevent more water damage. Evaluate the extent of the plumbing issue and identify hazards or safety concerns, such as standing water and electrical appliances near water sources. 

Once you’ve ascertained the cause and mitigated additional risks, take steps to contain the water and minimize the damage to the best of your ability by using towels, mops, or a wet / dry vacuum to soak up standing water and dry out the affected areas. If necessary, place buckets or containers under leaking pipes or foundation cracks to collect water. 

Next, you should document the plumbing damage by taking photos or videos of the affected areas and damaged personal belongings. Keep records of any plumbing repair receipts, invoices, or communications with both your plumber and insurance company. 

As soon as possible, contact your insurance provider to report the plumbing issue and file a claim. Let your insurance provider know about the repair status and provide them with the documentation you have collected on the damage. Your insurance company may assign you an adjuster to investigate your claim. 

At this point, if you haven’t already, you should seek out professional help to repair the damage. If you don’t know where to start, your insurance company or insurance agent may be able to make recommendations for water mitigation specialists, plumbers, and other preferred vendors who can make the necessary repairs and restore your home to its pre-loss condition. 

Finding peace of mind 

While purchasing homeowners insurance can provide valuable protection for many plumbing issues, it's important to take proactive measures to minimize risks. By following the steps and recommendations outlined in this article, you can not only protect your home and personal belongings from loss or damage due to plumbing issues, but you can also find peace of mind knowing you are sufficiently protected. 

In your journey to further safeguard your home, including from plumbing challenges, it’s beneficial to consider insurance solutions that can be tailored to your specific needs. Openly offers a unique approach to homeowners insurance, focusing on providing customizable policies through independent agents. This means that while no insurance can guarantee coverage for every scenario, especially without considering the nuances of each situation, Openly strives to work closely with you to understand and address your concerns, including home insurance claims related to plumbing.

Openly’s personalized service aims to enhance your confidence in your home's protection plan, recognizing the importance of preparing for unexpected events, including potential plumbing issues. With Openly, you receive more than just insurance; you gain a partner dedicated to helping you protect your home in a way that brings you peace of mind.


*We provide this information to help you understand insurance. Any coverage is subject to the terms of your policy. Please refer to your policy and declarations page for complete coverage details.


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About the Author

Alyssa Little | Senior Content Strategist

Alyssa is the Senior Content Strategist at Openly, collaborating with industry thought leaders to provide insightful and informative content in the home insurance space. With over 15 years experience in content marketing strategy, copywriting, and editing, Alyssa has refined her expertise through her work at such companies as Gartner, Nike, and Trupanion. Alyssa holds a BA in History from the University of Puget Sound and an MA in Museum Studies from Newcastle University.

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