As winter approaches, it’s never too early to be prepared. Unfortunately, while not an everyday problem, Texans learned all too well in 2021, that having a burst pipe can be a real threat throughout the state. If you are suffering from such an issue, getting a remedy and restoring your home is the priority, but knowing how to go about it can make all the difference. Here’s our guide to burst pipe insurance claim tips, how to avoid coverage gaps, and what Texans can do to stay better protected.
Seven Burst Pipe Insurance Claim Tips for Texans
The damage that can come from burst pipes can be widespread. Beyond the damage to the structure of your home, there is also damage to personal property to contend with. Homeowners dealing with a burst pipe insurance claim need to know how to handle it. Here are the seven best burst pipe insurance claim tips available:
1. Understand the Signs of a Burst Pipe
While some signs are more obvious than others, all are important for homeowners to be aware of. If you see any of the following, it could be an indication that your home’s pipes have burst:
- Abnormal sounds such as water rushing or bubbling behind walls.
- Water damage and discoloration in your walls or ceiling such as mold.
- Odd smells can also be an indicator.
- Bulging areas in your walls or ceilings.
- If your home has a higher water bill but noticeably lower water pressure, it could be a sign of a leak or burst pipe in your home.
The quicker you realize you have a burst pipe, the quicker you can remedy the situation and the less you’ll spend doing so. Burst pipe insurance claim tips truly begin with understanding the signs that could point to such a loss.
2. Limit the Damage – Turn off the Water to the Home if Necessary
Homeowners have an obligation to make sure that the losses they experience don’t grow beyond the incident they are submitting a claim for. Cutting off the water in your home by turning off your home water valve, typically in the front of your home. You may want to call a water loss mitigation company that is a reputable plumber. You can also use various means to dry up wet areas including towels, dehumidifiers, etc..
3. Contact Your Insurance Provider
It’s important to contact your home insurance provider as soon as possible for many reasons. Not only does this help you receive compensation soon, but you’ll also need to submit claims as soon as possible for them to be accepted.
4. Document the Damage
Any time you submit a burst pipe water insurance claim, you’re going to need to document what has happened. Ideally, so, be sure to showcase the damage to your home and personal property when you submit your claim. Homeowners should note that it’s important to showcase damaged items before throwing them out.
5. Repair Your Home
Beyond the self-repairs or measures you take to mitigate damage, you’ll need to get your home professionally restored. This means shopping and comparing contracting companies to choose the right service(s) to help make your home whole again.
6. Pay Your Deductible and Receive Your Reimbursement
The final step in the claims process will be to receive your reimbursement from your insurance carrier. This occurs after homeowners have paid their deductible, your home insurance carrier will then send you an amount to pay for the repairs, and your claim will be fulfilled.
7. Have Patience
Though this process shouldn’t be dragged out terribly long, the more claims there are in an area, the longer you can expect it to take. Overall, having patience and enrolling with an insurance provider with great communication to keep you updated along the way will help you stress less and maintain peace of mind.
Understanding the Claims Process for Burst Pipes
You can have all of the best burst pipe insurance claim tips in the world, but failing to understand exactly how the claims process works can set you up to fail. There are steps necessary for any claim that may feel frustrating but are all perfectly normal
Home insurance companies are a business like any other and while top-rated carriers are ready to fulfill their financial obligation to their policyholders, there are still things that need to be done.
To start, your insurance carrier will send out an adjuster to assess the damage. This serves multiple purposes and is why it’s important to document the damage beforehand and do everything you can to mitigate it from getting worse.
The adjuster’s job is to assess the damage, conduct due diligence for possible fraud, and ensure that the home has been maintained to prevent extra damage.
Once the assessment has been made, your home insurance provider will then determine how much they will reimburse you for your repairs, if your claim is accepted. This could take around 30 to 60 days with your payment typically coming around five business days after a decision is made.
Should your claim be denied or if you believe the adjuster did not fairly assess your loss, you’ll likely be allowed to appeal in accordance with the method your carrier provides.
Just as you must file within a certain period, you’ll also need to avoid procrastinating an appeal, as there is a time limit for them as well. Homeowners may also need to use a third-party adjuster to dispute their claims.
If your claim is still denied, you may have to seek legal recourse or accept what you are being offered and pay the rest out of pocket. While this can be frustrating, using a top-rated insurance carrier can help you avoid such situations in most cases.
Home insurance providers are regulated and monitored by various outside parties and in Texas, this means the Texas Department of Insurance (TDI). They are held accountable for holding up their end of the deal. Follow the right steps and you’ll be able to restore the damage to your home from burst pipes in a timely manner.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Pipes That Burst?
Yes, in most cases, homeowners insurance will cover burst pipes for your home. Here’s what you need to know about your home insurance coverage and how it handles water damage:
- Water damage to your home that is sudden and accidental will be covered by your home insurance coverage. While this excludes flooding, burst pipes that suddenly burst due to something such as a weather event are likely covered by a standard home insurance policy (HO-3).
- Homeowners should note, however, that water damage that happens over time and is considered a “slow leak” may not be covered.
Additionally, water damage caused by a burst pipe that comes after a homeowner fails to stop the leak from getting worse than the initial incident is also not covered. Homeowners have a responsibility to limit the damage as much as possible.
This could mean turning off the water to your home when it’s safe to do so, cleaning up water that is leaking into your home, moving expensive personal items away from potential spots that may face damage, etc.
Even though your home insurance policy likely does cover burst pipes, it’s always a good idea to assess your specific policy with a licensed insurance agent, as everyone’s coverage may vary.
This is also an important time to mention that policy limits are important here as well. Homeowners with lower policy limits for personal property or even their home’s structure could be put at risk for paying excessive damage out of their own pockets.
It’s more common for this issue to arise with personal property and if you are concerned about burst pipes while protecting your prized possessions, increasing your policy limits or exploring an insurance rider for more coverage may be your best options.
Last but certainly not least, if your home has a burst pipe that occurs outside of its actual structure, such as underneath your driveway, things can become much more complicated. Not all policies cover such losses, though many do. Speaking with your agent will help you better assess how you are protected.
Does Flood Insurance Cover Burst Pipes?
No, a flood insurance policy will not cover damage caused by a burst pipe. It will, however, protect you from severe losses that may stem from flooding. Here’s how flood insurance will and won’t protect you:
- When there is flooding from a situation involving heavy rain, hurricanes, or other weather-related events, flood insurance is there to cover the damage.
- If flood damage is caused by something such as an overflowing fixture or a burst pipe, you’ll need to rely on your homeowners insurance policy or other means.
The increasing threat across Texas for flood damage is real. Due to changing weather patterns, an increase in population, and other factors, flooding is popping up more and more in all areas of the state. But while burst pipes may cause water damage, they don’t qualify under these policies.
Considerations and Avoiding Coverage Gaps
A burst pipe is never a loss any homeowner wishes to endure, but there are ways to stay protected beyond simply having a home insurance policy in place. Some of these tips are specific to your home’s plumbing, while others are beneficial in more than one way:
Increased Policy Limits
As we mentioned before, having higher policy limits and insurance endorsements are great ways to add extra protection to your home and your personal property from suffering such losses.
Water Line Insurance
The utility lines connected to your home keep it running but as a homeowner, you are responsible should anything happen to them. Be sure to speak with your utility provider about any insurance options against such losses as outside pipes connecting your home will not be covered.
Speak With an Insurance Agent
Because policies can vary, it’s important to shop around for coverage and speak with a licensed insurance agent to receive the protection you deserve. Rather than enrolling in similar coverage that isn’t built for your needs, audit your potential risks and craft protection that is right for you.
Burst Pipe Insurance Claim Tips and Other Resources
Navigating insurance claims can be tricky and if you’re on that journey, it also means you’ve likely suffered a loss. This is why enrolling with an insurance carrier that can deliver excellent customer service is so important.
At Freedom Insurance Group (FIG), we pride ourselves on delivering excellent customer service to our clients. But it isn’t something we just say, our reviews speak for themselves.
Furthermore, we don’t just work with a single brand. We work for you! Our partnerships with more than 25 top-rated insurance providers mean that our clients have access to more products, better coverage, and a variety of ways to save.
Our agents are here to help you process your claim and create a seamless experience for you as a homeowner. That means less stress for you and peace of mind that your loss will be restored promptly.
Because of our network of home insurance providers, on average, we continue to deliver homeowners in Texas an average of 40% in savings. We can even bundle your coverage with the right auto insurance policy to save even more.
Get an online home insurance quote today or ask our agents how we can help you save. From burst pipe insurance claims tips to delivering your savings and more, FIG is here to provide you with the service you deserve.