December 1, 2023

Every year, one in fifty insured homes suffers water damage. One of the leading causes of water damage is plumbing leaks caused by burst pipes or broken pipes. You will probably have to deal with a leaky plumbing system at least once during your lifetime as a homeowner.

Check Your Home Regularly

Water losses are covered by most homeowners’ policies. Insurance companies don’t often question policyholders about whether or not a water loss is “accidental”, but they do ask if it was “sudden”, or if it occurred “over a long time”.

Homeowners should conduct periodic inspections. Pay attention to areas with a high concentration of plumbing lines, such as bathrooms, kitchens, and laundry rooms. Under sinks and toilets, look for leaks that might otherwise be missed. Check the air conditioner closet for a clogged condensate drainage line. If your refrigerator has a water pipe, look behind it. You can narrow down any leaks that you find by performing these inspections.

Act Quickly After Discovering a Leak

If you discover a plumbing leak, even a small one, time is critical. Normal homeowner’s insurance policies require that policyholders “protect the property against further damage” and make “reasonable and necessary repairs” to protect the home. It is normal for homeowners’ policies to require that policyholders “show the damaged properties,” which means you have to preserve “damaged items” for insurance company inspections.

Report Losses Quickly

Insurance policies for homeowners require that losses be reported promptly. The insured is required to report damage and loss “promptly”. Some policies specify a time limit for reporting a claim (e.g., within 72 hours after the loss). Report a leaky pipe as soon as you can. Insurance companies will argue that you did not report the leak on time if you wait too long to file a claim.

Calling your insurance company’s 24-hour call center to report a claim is the most common method of reporting a loss.

This post was written by Kelly-Ann Jenkins of Jenkins Law P.L. Kelly-Ann is a St Petersburg car accident attorney. She focuses on personal injury, car accidents, and bicyclist injuries. The information on this site is not intended to and does not offer legal advice, legal recommendations, or legal representation on any matter. Hiring an attorney is an important decision, which should not be based on advertising. You need to consult an attorney for legal advice regarding your situation. 

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