Chelsey Tucker graduated with a Bachelor of History degree from Metropolitan State University in 2019. She now writes about insurance with her specialty being life insurance and has been quoted on Help Smart Phone and MEL Magazine.

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Dan Walker graduated with a BS in Administrative Management in 2005 and has been working in his family’s insurance agency, FCI Agency, for 15 years. He is licensed as an agent to write property and casualty insurance, including home, auto, umbrella, and dwelling fire insurance. He’s also been featured on sites like

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Reviewed by Daniel Walker
Licensed Auto Insurance Agent Daniel Walker

UPDATED: Mar 19, 2020

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Burst PipesWhether or not your home insurance will cover burst pipes is dependent on the cause and your coverage. Yes, many policies do cover many water damage situations, but it is very specific.

This article will explain why your pipes burst, what type of coverage you need to have in place, and the most common instances that insurers will and will not cover bursting pipes.

When a pipe bursts inside your home, it usually results from water expansion by way of freezing. If expansion happens in a closed environment, like a pipe, then a great deal of pressure is put on the inner walls.

Regardless of whether the pipe is made of iron, lead or PVC plastic, this pressure can built up over time. Even if the pipe is strong enough to handle the pressure that frozen water causes, over time, the pipe can be weakened. By the time it bursts, pressure has been building for quite a while.

Read on to learn why pipes break, what most homeowners insurance companies typically cover in the way of water damage, and some additional measures you can take. Also, be sure to enter your zip above to compare free insurance quotes online!

Why Do Pipes Break?

Homeowners are wise to build pipes with insulation material whenever possible. Unfortunately, not every section of the piping system can be completely covered. Insulation can also fail. Water is frozen by air temperature and this creates blockage. The expanding ice, in combination with weakened pipe and hard pressure from flowing water, can make pipes burst within seconds of running a faucet.

When this happens, leaking water can wreak disaster on your carpet and your home. Fixing such a problem, not to mention cleaning up the mess, can be very expensive. A professional plumber must operate on the pipes and plumbers (despite their gritty reputation) are very well paid. Homeowners are advised to keep a trickle of water flowing through home faucets when freezing temperatures are reported.

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PlumberIf there is any leftover water inside the pipes, they can freeze because of the colder air passing through. When water freezes solid the pipe can burst. However, if water flows continuously, it cannot freeze. Take as many preventative measures as you can.

Pipe leak damage is a headache to repair and to clean, for you or for a plumber. If your pipes have already burst then turn off the main water supply so as to avoid destroying any carpeting or furnishings. Call a professional plumber as soon as possible and tell him where the leak is located.

If you own or lease your own house, then chances are you already leave plumbing problems to the professionals. At this point in time, you are more interested in the potential costs of repairs. Is this kind of plumbing problem covered in a homeowners insurance policy? There is no set of standard terms to report.

Each homeowners insurance company writes their own policies. The big question of yes or no really depends on the type of policy you have. The insurance company also considers the circumstances that caused the pipe to burst.

What Does the Insurance Company Cover in Terms of Water Damage?

For example, your insurance company will probably cover sudden and accidental breakage. The company will probably cover any leak that resulted from an “insured peril”, such as a tree branch falling or a severe thunderstorm.

On the other hand, if the pipe breaks because of rusting, it is quite possible that the homeowners insurance company will reject the claim. The insurance company believes that homeowners should take responsibility over their plumbing systems and get them periodically checked for signs of rust. Most insurance companies will not cover water sledge hammer damage.

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What About Bursting Pipes that do Not Show Any Sign of Rust?

In this case, the insurance company may require that you hire a professional to evaluate and maintain the heating system for the winter season. Even if you are away from the house, you are still obligated to take care of your insured possessions. If the pipe break occurs in an area of the house that is unheated, then the insurance company will not cover the damage.

Again, it is your responsibility to ensure that pipes do not freeze within your property. If however, the pipe breaks despite being in a heated room, it is likely the insurance company will cover the damages.

Check your homeowners policy for the detail. Some HO3 and HO5 plans do not cover the pipe itself, but will cover flooding damages. As with any homeowners insurance policy, you must first pay the deductible before the insurance company starts covering the damage. The insurance company also has to consider the location of the house, the status of the house and the local region.

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What Happens After the Leak?

Water DamageWhat happens after you see evidence of damage? You can hire a repair person and or plumber to fix the damages. After the work is done, you can file a claim with the insurance company. At this point, the insurance company will send a claims adjuster out so he or she can verify the damage.

The claims adjuster is not obligated to agree with the professional you hired. The company may have fixed amounts that they are willing to pay for the claim.

If the claims adjuster finds the story to be in your favor, then you are entitled up to your policy’s limits for leak damage. You may also be entitled to more money if further damage occurs when repairing the piping system.

Keep in mind that under most insurance policy clauses, the insurance company is not obligated to pay the cost of replacing the system unless the entire system was damaged as a direct result of unexpected freezing.

One more point to be aware of: your company may choose to pursue subrogation rights on your behalf and seek money from the manufacturer of your plumbing system. If there is evidence of faulty parts, the company can make a claim directly to the manufacturer. In this case, you may be able to get your deductible back while the company attempts to get back their money for covering the damages. Be sure to keep any items, which may later be proven defective.

In general, a typical insurance policy covers the cost of temporary repairs, clean up work and permanent repairs. It’s important to keep in mind that the insurance company may or may not cover the full extent of the repairs you are doing. So think simple—do not get ahead of yourself and order a full repair only to be stuck with 65% of an enormous bill!

Advice to Avoid Burst Pipes

This can be a difficult process so try to exercise caution and think one season ahead of winter. Turn off your water supply if you plan on being gone for an extended period of time. If you do this, it is imperative that you drain the water lines to flush out droplets of water. Replacing the burst pipe is not necessarily the problem; pipes are relatively inexpensive.

What really gets complicated is repairing all of the broken pipes. That’s right, if you have one broken pipe on your hands, you probably have a few more. Likewise, talk to your insurance agent about homeowners insurance and make sure to include a leak damage clause.

Why not use our free home insurance rate quote tool and get a fast quote on an affordable home insurance policy that does cover burst pipes now? Enter your zip to start comparing quotes now so that you are protected before it may be too late!