What to Expect From Insurance When Pipes Burst

A close-up of a plumber fixing a pipeline in a tile wall.
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One of the most common homeowner's insurance claims is for water related damages, and one of the most common reasons for such damages is burst pipes. If you make a claim for water damage from a ruptured pipe, there are several things you should expect from your insurance company.

Loss Mitigation

Immediately after reporting a claim to your insurance company, the company should help you arrange for loss mitigation services. This usually involves having a water restoration company come to your home to install dehumidifiers to dry the affected areas. If the leak is in your wall, the restoration company may cut holes in the wall to hasten the drying process and remove any wet insulation. When allowing the insurance company to set up loss mitigation services, you should keep in mind that you may be responsible for the cost if the company later determines that the insurance policy does not cover the leak.

Coverage Investigation

Before an insurance company pays for the damages caused by a burst pipe, it must determine if the policy provides coverage for the claim. To do this, the company will send an adjuster or a plumbing expert to your home to inspect the damaged plumbing. If the insurance company determines the water leak was from normal wear and tear, such as rusting, there is likely no coverage for the repairs to the plumbing. However, the insurance company may pay for the consequential damage, such as the water damage to the flooring and walls.

Claim Settlement

After the insurance company determines that your insurance policy provides coverage for all or part of your damages, it should determine the repair costs. If you have already hired a contractor, the insurance adjuster should review the damages with the contractor and come to an agreement on the repair costs. If you do not have a contractor, most insurance companies will recommend one to you. For damages to your personal belongings, such as furniture, the personal property coverage of your policy provides compensation for you to repair or replace damaged items.

Additional Living Expenses

Depending on the extent of the damage, you may not be able to live in your home during the repair process. The additional living expense coverage of your policy provides compensation for you to rent temporary housing. This coverage also provides payment for your dining costs if your accommodations do not include a kitchen. Additional living expense coverage is limited to the amount of time it should take for the repairs to your home. If your contractor takes longer to repair your home than it should take, the company may cease paying for additional living expenses.