Can I make a claim on homeowner’s insurance for frozen pipes?

Most policies will cover the cost of water damage to your home caused by a broken pipe due to freezing as long as the home is heated or the system has been drained and the home winterized. The homeowners policy does not usually cover the cost of repairing the pipe.

Policies do not cover burst pipes due to poor maintenance of the property.

Burst pipes cause many issues within the property structure:

  • sheet rock or plaster deteriorates
  • inadequately drying the interiors of the walls can lead to mold conditions
  • carpets, sheet goods, tiles and other flooring can be damaged
  • studding and framing can rot if not dried thoroughly
  • personal items may be damaged, like furniture and books

It’s important to compare quotes online from an independent agency to fully understand the details of coverage in your State.

Good risk management helps avoid freezing pipes, and therefore, collateral damage. Pipes usually freeze as a result of inadequate insulation or exposure to cold drafts. The freezing water does not break the pipe, the water caught between two ice dams compresses and splits the pipe.

Proper prevention measures include checking all pipes for insulation. Are any pipes exposed to outside air, especially as a draft? If so, cover the pipe with insulation and assure heat is maintained. Turn off and drain pipes with outside bibs. Maintain proper levels of heat in the home.

If the home will be vacant for the winter, turn off the water source and drain the system by opening the lowest spigot. Drain all sink traps that are accessible. Lastly, use a non-toxic antifreeze in all drains to assure traps do not freeze.

Homeowners will reimburse you for damages to your home caused by burst frozen pipes as long as proper precautions are taken to avoid the issue. It will probably not pay for the pipe repair, but will cover the collateral property damage. And, a wise homeowner compares insurance coverage and quotes online from an independent agency.

Keep warm and dry this winter.