You probably don’t spend much time thinking about the pipes in your home — unless one bursts. Some burst pipes can be simple fixes, causing minimal damage. However, others can mimic minor floods, harming your possessions and your home's structure.
Given the similarities, you might naturally assume that flood insurance covers a burst pipe. But the answer is a little more nuanced than that. So, does flood insurance cover burst pipes? Here’s a closer look.
What Causes Pipes to Burst?
No matter where you live, burst pipes are a hazard. There are several possible causes:
If it’s cold enough outside, water in your pipes may freeze. As you probably learned in school, when water freezes, it expands. That expansion puts extra pressure on the pipe, causing it to burst.
To reduce the risk of this happening, some people turn on a faucet or two — just enough to create a drip — when temperatures drop. If water is moving through the pipes, it’s less likely to freeze.
A little rust or corrosion within your pipes might not seem like a big deal. However, these processes make the interior pipe surface uneven. As the corrosion eats away at the pipe itself, some areas of the pipe become thinner and weaker, and they can eventually crack.
High Water Pressure
Pipes can only handle so much water pressure. Even if there’s no corrosion, an over-pressurized pipe can crack and burst if it can’t withstand the interior pressure.
Even if your pipes have no corrosion and aren’t overly pressurized, they can sometimes burst. In that case, it’s possible that the person who installed them made a mistake by:
- Excessively tightening fixtures
- Combining very different materials (this may lead to corrosion)
- Wrapping tape in the wrong direction
- Installing the pipes in overly-sloped areas
- Using the wrong pipe material for the job
- Using incorrect tools
Similarly, if you make DIY repairs without enough plumbing knowledge, you can make an error that will cause a burst pipe down the line.
Age and Wear
Pipes undergo a lot of stress over time. No material lasts forever, and eventually, your pipes might become weaker. This makes them more likely to leak or burst.
Tree Root Intrusion
If you're not well-versed in plumbing, learning that tree roots can infiltrate your pipes may surprise you! Driven by moisture, roots can penetrate pipes through cracks or loose joints.
It doesn’t end there — once inside the pipe, the root structure will continue to grow. This can cause blockages and even make the pipe burst.
Tree root intrusion can lead to significant damage, prompting the question: does insurance cover burst pipes caused by tree roots?
It often does, but the repair (and the steps you need to take to prevent it from happening again) is still a very involved process.
Installing an already-damaged pipe is sure to cause issues later. But even if a pipe is in perfect shape when it’s installed, it can sustain damage from roots, corrosion, shifting soil, and other causes.
Understanding Flood Insurance
Does flood insurance cover burst pipes? Sometimes. Flood insurance primarily aims to cover physical losses directly caused by flooding.
In this context, “flooding” almost always refers to water damage from an external source. If water from an overflowing river or ocean enters your home, most insurance companies would consider that to be flooding. Likewise, flood insurance will probably cover if unusually heavy rain causes a flash flood that damages your house.
When searching for pipe burst insurance, it's essential to understand that flood insurance usually only covers burst pipes if they result directly from external flooding.
So, is a pipe burst covered by insurance at all? The answer is usually yes, although it’s typically not covered by flood insurance.
Flood Insurance vs. Homeowners Insurance
A homeowners insurance policy protects your home against numerous risks. While coverage can differ, the majority of these policies typically encompass the following:
- Liability (if someone is injured on your property)
- Damage due to burst pipes
- Damage or theft of the contents of your home (like electronics, furniture, etc.)
So, does insurance cover burst water pipes if you have a homeowners policy? It’s important to note that your homeowners insurance policy may not work as burst pipe insurance in all circumstances. For example, if a pipe is old, corroded, and eventually bursts, most policies will pay for the damage to your belongings, but they may not cover the repair cost.
Is a pipe bursting covered by insurance? If you have flood and homeowners insurance, it likely will be.
Standard Flood Insurance Coverage
Flood insurance protects your home from flooding, but it may not protect everything within your home. Here’s what a standard flood policy usually covers:
Water damage can be devastating to buildings. Even if floodwaters don’t destroy your home, it may need extensive repairs afterward.
Electrical and Plumbing Damage
Does insurance cover pipes bursting? While standard flood insurance policies typically address repairs to pipes and wiring when a flood damages your home’s plumbing or electrical systems, it's essential to check specific terms.
Damage to Appliances and Built-In Fixtures
If the flooding is severe enough, your refrigerator, washer, dryer, and other appliances might need to be repaired or replaced.
If you’re still wondering, “Does insurance cover pipes that burst?” it's important to remember that flood insurance won’t cover damage from burst pipes in most cases. The exception is if the pipe bursts as a direct result of flooding.
Additional Coverage Options
If you have flood insurance, you might be interested in expanding your coverage with additional endorsements or riders.
As discussed above, even if your flood insurance covers a pipe burst, it might not cover water damage to your belongings. Most standard flood insurance policies cover appliances, but they may not cover damage to furniture, musical instruments, and other pieces of personal property.
When burst pipes are covered by insurance, it can give homeowners peace of mind, alleviating the financial stress of unexpected repairs and damages. If your current policy doesn't offer coverage, a more comprehensive flood insurance policy can protect you!
How Rocket Flood Can Help
Your homeowners insurance typically safeguards against the risks of leaks or burst pipes. However, every homeowner faces potential threats from flood damage.
That risk is exceptionally high if you live in flood zone AE, the area of the country with the highest chance of flooding. Fortunately, Rocket Flood can help. We specialize in flood insurance and deliver superior coverage at competitive rates. Get a quote with us in under three minutes and save up to 40% over the competition!
About The Author
Garrett Mitchell is an experienced author and speaker in the field of insurance and financial planning, with a focus on educating homeowners and business owners about flood insurance and the National Flood Insurance Program (NFIP). He is known for his clear and easy-to-understand writing style and engaging presentations.