Burst pipes are a core frustration of homeownership and can cause extensive water damage if not caught in time. Water can force you to replace appliances, repair floors, and throw away precious keepsakes.
Damage of this level will cost you, but will your homeowners insurance be there to help?
Insurance coverage will depend on the conditions that caused your pipes to burst or leak, something you don’t want to investigate alone. Before filing a water damage claim, call an experienced pipe burst claim attorney to help you build the strongest claim possible.
At Insurance Claim HQ, we understand when most homeowners insurance policies will and will not cover a burst pipe, and are here to help you avoid potential heartbreak. Our attorneys are experts in filing effective insurance claims that will help you get the compensation you deserve.
In this article, we will cover common causes of burst pipes, when burst pipes are covered by insurance, what to do after your pipes burst, and what to expect during the claims process.
Common Causes of Burst Pipes and What is Covered by Insurance
Some of the most common causes for burst pipes are:
- Accumulation of hard water
- High water pressure
- Tree roots
- Shifting soil
- Frozen pipes
None of these causes necessarily guarantees coverage, though, so be careful while filing.
When the insurance company investigates your burst pipe homeowners insurance claim, the main factor they’ll likely consider is the suddenness of the water damage itself.
If the burst was sudden and unpredictable or accidental, chances are the damage will be covered. However, if the pipe has been slowly leaking over time, and the resulting water damage developed gradually, the insurance company is likely to deny the claim. The argument they’ll make is that you had a duty to regularly inspect and maintain your pipes and were negligent in that duty. In short: you didn’t hold up your end of the bargain, so they aren’t responsible for the consequences.
Although this seems relatively straightforward, the unfortunate truth is that a burst pipe that appears “sudden” to you won’t necessarily look that way to the insurance adjuster. Most likely, your insurance company will do whatever they can to avoid paying your claim.
Although there is no one answer if your homeowners insurance will provide coverage for burst or broken pipes, an experienced attorney will know your clam’s chances. By hiring an attorney, you can remove the guesswork and heartbreak from your claim and get you the help you need faster.
What to Do After Your Pipes Burst
A burst pipe can cause serious damage if not properly handled, so you’ll need to know what to do beforehand and act quickly. Minimizing the damage not only protects your most valuable assets, but improves your chances at a successful insurance claim.
If you are dealing with a broken pipe, stay calm and take the following steps:
- Shut off your water: Find your main water supply and shut off water coming into the house. To relieve any excess pressure, turn on faucets and flush toilets. This will remove excess water from your plumbing and take the pressure off your burst pipe.
- Repair the pipe: Unless you are a professional, it is important to get help from a certified plumber when repairing a broken pipe. Attempting to repair the pipe yourself could lead to further damage and may jeopardize your claim. Be sure to keep any invoices from your plumber as evidence for your insurance claim.
- Remove any water: Even stagnant water can damage your home, so remove it as quickly as possible. Thoroughly dry everything, as any remaining water could lead to future damage.
- Assess the damage: Once everything is cleaned up, take photos and videos of your damage from every angle possible. This evidence will be crucial towards your claim. Check for mold or mildew damage, as that could complicate you claim and cause further issues.
- Take inventory: Compile a list of all your damaged possessions and objects, along with their monetary value. Your possessions may be covered if you have personal property coverage separate from your dwelling coverage. Make sure to check your homeowners insurance policy and add this coverage if you are at risk of future water damage.
- Plan for the future: If your damage was caused by a potentially avoidable event, make a plan on how to avoid it happening again in the future.
Contact Your Homeowners Insurance Company
Once you have stopped the leak and contained the damage as best as you can, contact your homeowners insurance company. The sooner you do this, the more committed you’ll seem to minimizing damage and filing an accurate claim. Conversely: the longer you wait to contact your insurance company, the more likely they will try to blame the damage on your delay, or deny your insurance claim based on their lack of ability to fully investigate the situation.
Contact an Experienced Insurance Claim Attorney
The sooner you contact an insurance claim attorney, the better. Getting an attorney involved early in the claims process can protect you from making common mistakes that could cost you your claim. Experienced insurance claim lawyers, like those at Insurance Claim HQ, can help you to better understand your claim, gather evidence, and communicate with your insurance so you don’t have to.
What to Expect During the Claims Process
The claims process can be complicated for the unexperienced and lead to headaches and frustration. An experienced attorney can take the burden of filing homeowners insurance claims off your shoulders and help you get the maximum compensation possible.
However, it is still important to understand what your attorney is doing on your behalf. Here are some basic steps in the claims process for you to be aware of:
- Contact your insurance agent
- Fill out claim forms and paperwork
- Gather and analyze evidence of damage
- Make temporary repairs (either a contractor or yourself)
- Submit claim with appropriate documents
Evidence is key during the claim process, so be sure to keep track of all your expenses and lost and damaged items. This evidence will be used by your attorney to calculate the value of your claim and get you the help you need.
It is common for insurance companies to attempt to blame your burst pipe on your own negligence. Your own homeowners insurance company may claim that this event was preventable and deny your claim. If that happens, having an experienced attorney on your side can help you back up your claim with strong evidence—and if the situation calls for it, fight back against insurance bad faith.
Insurance Claim HQ: Protecting Claimants From Unfair Homeowners Insurance Companies
When your pipes burst, you need an attorney who understands the insurance claim process inside and out.
The lawyers at Insurance Claim HQ are here to build you the strongest claim possible. Our law firm is available to help you understand if you have a claim, gather evidence, communicate with the insurance company on your behalf, and even file a lawsuit if your claim is wrongfully denied.
The content provided here is for informational purposes only and should not be construed as legal advice on any subject.