Besides earthquakes and locust swarms, here are a few insurance plumbing related disasters to be aware of from Insurance Information Institute. Make sure you know what your policy covers. This is a perfect reason to call your broker and ask. Avoid a disaster!
1. Floods not covered
Flood damage is excluded under standard homeowners and renters insurance policies. Flood coverage is available from the National Flood Insurance Program – NFIP ( 888-379-9531)
Flood insurance is needed if you live in a designated flood zone. But also consider buying it if your house could be flooded by melting snow, an overflowing creek or water running down a steep hill. Don’t wait until the evening news announces a flood season warning to buy a policy. There is a 30-day waiting period before federal flood coverage takes effect.
Be careful of what words you use when calling your insurance company. Your definition of flood and your insurer’s definition may be different. Use accidental discharge if your plumbing pipe (frozen pipe to washing machine hose), valve (like a toilet shut off valve) or appliances that spring a major leak. DO NOT use the word flood.
2. Sewer back-up or sump pump problems not covered
Sewer backups or the inability of sump pumps to handle runoff water from major downpours are not covered under a typical homeowners insurance policy, nor are they covered by flood insurance. Those types of coverage must be purchased either as a separate product or as an endorsement to a homeowners policy.”
Sewer backup coverage is available from most insurers for a nominal cost—usually an additional annual premium of $40-$50.
Many homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateral—the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main, usually located in the street—and the building. The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that extends into the street or public right of way.
3. Maintenance damage not covered
It is your responsibility to take reasonable precautions to protect your home from damage. Your insurance policy will not cover damage due to lack of maintenance, mold, termite infestation and infestation from other pests.