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What Leaks Can Homeowner’s Insurance Cover?

When you find a leak in your basement or foundation, you want to know that you’re protected. Will your provider cover the necessary repairs?

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Springfield, MO, isn’t known for its rainy days, but that doesn’t mean they won’t come around. When they do, will your homeowner’s insurance cover any damage done to your home?

Unfortunately, a lot of the complexity of your homeowner’s insurance may get tangled up in legal-ese. Many home insurance providers can be reluctant to help you cover damage done by Missouri’s weather.

While your specific policy will vary based on your provider and the coverage you picked, it’s still worth exploring what kinds of leaks most home insurance providers are willing to cover and which ones will give them pause.

What Causes a Basement Leak?

Let’s start with the basics. Why do basement leaks appear in the first place?

Most basement leaks don’t appear out of nowhere. More often than not, when a leak does appear in your basement, it will be the result of several months or even years of stress.

Some of the most common reasons leaks form in your home include:

  • Cracks in your walls
  • An unstable foundation
  • Poor grading
  • Leaking pipes
  • Clogged drains 

What Leaks Are Covered By Your Home Insurance?

The good news is that homeowner’s insurance will protect you, financially, from some of the leaks that form in your home. Insurance providers, however, have drawn boundaries when it comes to the kinds of leaks they’ll help you treat.

Even so, you shouldn’t hesitate to reach out to your provider if you want financial assistance covering a leak’s repair. Do note, though, that most home insurance providers will only cover the following leaks: 

  • Leaking water heaters – If your water heater is overworked or has started to malfunction, don’t panic. More often than not, your insurance provider will be able to help you cover the cost of a new water heater. However, if your water heater is still under warranty, your provider is going to encourage you to reach out to the contractor who installed it before you file a claim.
  • Broken or burst pipes – Homeowner’s insurance providers can get a little tricky when it comes to a broken pipe. The only time a provider will cover repairs and other costs when it comes to a broken pipe is when the heat’s been on and your home’s been cared for. If you’ve left the heat off in the cold and the weather’s caused your pipes to crack, you’ll be out of luck. However, if you feel your insurance provider isn’t giving you a fair shake when it comes to your coverage here, don’t be afraid to argue your case. It’s better to make it clear why your pipes have broken than to accept a dismissal out of hand.
  • Piping problems – On a similar note, most home insurance providers should be able to provide you with the coverage you need to solve internal piping problems. If a drain’s been clogged or your original contractor installed your pipes incorrectly, get in touch with one of your provider’s representatives, and your claim should be honored.
  • Large appliance malfunctions – Finally, if your refrigerator, washing machine or other water-based appliance starts to leak and flood your home, you need to reach out to your provider ASAP. Again, if the machine in question is under warranty, your provider will encourage you to seek a replacement through those means. However, you should still be able to file a claim regarding any damage done to your home and receive compensation for repairs. 

What Leaks Aren’t Covered By Your Home Insurance?

As mentioned, your home insurance provider isn’t always going to be able to provide you with the financial help you need after a leak’s appeared in your basement.

Unless you’ve worked it out with your provider ahead of time, claims regarding the following leaks will typically be denied: 

  • Environmental leaks – As mentioned, Springfield, MO, isn’t known for its bad weather. However, if the area does start to flood, your homeowner’s insurance policy may not be able to cover the damage done to your home.
  • Weather-related leaks – Similarly, homeowner’s insurance may not cover any leak damage that arises due to heavy rain or snowfall.
  • Seepage – It’s not just the weather that can bring water into your home, though. If the soil around your home starts to shift or groundwater levels start to rise, water may begin to seep into your home through your foundation. Most insurance companies will require you to have an inspection performed to determine where the leak is coming from. If it’s found that the water has an external source, it’s unlikely you’ll be able to file a claim to cover repair costs.

Again, what your insurance provider is able to cover when a leak appears in your home will depend entirely on your individual policy. If you’re worried about saving money during a repair, though, don’t fret. Most basement repair contractors are able to provide you with a free initial inspection. If you’re feeling strapped for cash, you may even be able to negotiate a payment plan.

Whatever you do, don’t think that waiting is going to make a leak disappear. If you think your basement may be leaking, either internally or externally, reach out to a local contractor for an inspection before things can get worse.

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