Are Slow Water Leaks Covered By Home Insurance?
Slow water leaks may not be covered by your home insurance of the leak has been leaking for a long period of time and has been ignored by the homeowner allowing the problem to get worse.
Water damage is one of the most common causes of property loss in the UK, leading to extensive repair costs.
In fact, a report from the Association of British Insurers states that insurance companies pay out about £1.8 million to clients who have filed “escape of water” claims under their homeowners insurance. Furthermore, leak damage accounts for almost one in five claims received on buildings and contents insurance.
But how about slow water leaks or hidden leaks? Are slow water leaks covered by home insurance? Since slow water leaks are especially difficult to detect until significant damage has already been done, many people wonder if their home insurance policies will cover it.
The answer depends on several factors – from the type of policy you have and the severity of damage caused by the leak, to any existing maintenance issues in your home.
Some insurers offer compensation for the water leak repair while others may only compensate for the damage done my the escaped water.
What Is A Water Leak?
A water leak is an unwanted escape of water from pipes, fixtures, or other sources. It can cause damage to property and in some cases, even lead to danger. There are many types of water leaks and slow water leaks are one of them.
Slow water leaks are also called hidden leaks since they are often hard to spot. Several instances in a home can result to slow water leaks like dripping faucets, toilet leaks, slow drain leaks, slow leaking pipes, appliance leaks, and others. A slow water peak will become a problem long before it is discovered.
Whether the water leak is big or small it is vital to know where your stopcock is located so you can turn off the water supply to your home, minimising further damage.
Are Water Leaks Covered By Homeowners Insurance?
Most home insurance policies typically cover water damage from sudden and accidental events, such as burst pipes or backed-up sewers. However, when it comes to slow water leaks, there may be different rules in place depending on your provider.
Most often, if the slow leak is caused by a lack of maintenance or wear and tear, it may not be covered by homeowners insurance. Some insurance providers offer optional endorsements or supplemental coverage for water damage and slow leaks that may not be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy. These may include sewer backup coverage, water backup coverage, flood coverage or service line coverage, among others.
Your insurance company may send out a loss adjuster to investigate and inspect the damage caused to your home. It is their job to assess things like, the cause of the leak, if you are insured for the leak and the cost to repair the leak and damage. As this will be done by a third party team their assessment should be impartial.
What Are the Types of Water Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Most standard homeowners insurance policies cover the following types of water damage:
- Escape of Water: Homeowner’s insurance policies in the UK usually cover the damage caused by the escape of water from burst pipes, leaking appliances, or other similar incidents. This may include damage to the property structure, flooring, walls, and personal belongings.
- Flood Damage: If your insurance company is a member of the Flood Re scheme, you will be covered for any flood damage caused by natural disasters or severe weather conditions.
- Accidental Damage: If the water damage is accidental, such as a burst pipe due to accidental damage, most home insurance policies will cover the repair and replacement costs.
- Trace and Access: This refers to the costs associated with locating the source of the water damage, such as removing walls or floorboards to identify the cause of the leak, this is essential if the pipes leaking water are obstructed in any way with no direct access.
What Are the Types of Water Damage NOT Covered by Homeowners Insurance?
Several kinds of water damage are not covered by homeowners’ insurance which include:
- Wear and Tear: Homeowner’s insurance policies in the UK typically do not cover water damage caused by wear and tear as in a case of an old, corroded pipe that bursts.
- Neglect: If the homeowner has neglected the property, such as failing to maintain plumbing or roof, leading to water damage, it is unlikely to be covered by insurance.
- Gradual Damage: Home insurance policies in the UK usually exclude coverage for water damage that has occurred gradually over a period of time, such as property damage caused by molds or moisture.
- Sewer Backups: Damage caused by a sewer backup or sump pump failure may not be included in a standard homeowner’s insurance policy. However, it can be added as an optional extra.
Even though the majority of policies do not cover damage brought on by poor maintenance, such as damage from a faucet that you neglected to fix, not all slow leaks are excluded from coverage.
Insurance providers expect homeowners to keep their homes in good condition. Homeowners are therefore responsible for periodically inspecting and, if necessary, fixing various parts of their homes. Failure to do this will result in no protection or reimbursement from your insurance company, leaving the repairs and restoration costs down to you to cover.
For example, you need to check (from time to time) for leaks under sinks, the bath and around toilets, and inspect pipes for signs of corrosion and have repairs done quickly to avoid excess leakage. You also need to regularly clean out your gutters and downspouts to prevent water damage and ensure proper drainage.
How To Make A Successful Water Leak Insurance Claim?
Before officially filing for any water damage claim, it is essential to first check your policy documents for what kind of water leak claims are covered by your particular home insurance plan, you would like to see trace and access.
We have a complete guide on making a water leak insurance claim.