Homeowners with burst water pipes damage

Does Home Insurance Cover Frozen Water Pipe Damage?

Published in House & Home

After a mild start to winter, February hit the Maritimes with some of the coldest days in years. On February 3, the Halifax area experienced -26 Celsius (that’s without the wind chill), surpassing the previous low for this date recorded in 1971. Fortunately, these super-low temperatures only lasted a few days.

Unfortunately, this cold snap produced many frozen water pipes. Beyond the obvious inconvenience and discomfort, frozen water pipes can result in serious damage and costly repairs for homeowners. Not surprisingly, our Bauld Insurance Team fielded several questions about how home insurance covers frozen water pipe damage. In this blog, we will explore this topic in more detail.

What is Frozen Water Pipe Damage?

Frozen water pipes occur when temperatures drop well below freezing, causing water to freeze inside the pipes. As the water expands, it puts pressure on the pipes, which can cause them to burst or crack. This can lead to water damage in your home and personal belongings, such as your floors, walls, and furniture.

Does Home Insurance Cover Frozen Water Pipe Damage?

In general, most home insurance policies cover frozen water pipe damage. However, it is essential to review your policy carefully to understand what is and isn’t covered. A standard home insurance policy covers the cost of repairing or replacing the damaged pipes and any resulting damage to your home or personal property. Typical policies cover “accidental and sudden water damage” caused by things like burst pipes and sudden foundation cracks.

Water Damage and Your Home Insurance Policy Endorsements.

It is essential to note that different policies may have different coverage limits, exclusions, and deductibles. Some policies may require that you take steps to prevent frozen pipes, such as maintaining adequate heating in your home or turning off the water supply if you’re away for an extended period. This is a typical insurance requirement for seasonal cottages.

It is important to take note of the endorsement section of your home insurance policy.  Here you should see your “water damage limitation,” which is the maximum amount your insurance policy will pay for water damage repairs.  You may also have a specific “water damage deductible” or the amount of damage repair costs that you are responsible for paying.

Water Damage to Lead Pipes.

Some home insurance policies may exclude coverage for water damage caused by a homeowner’s negligence, such as not taking steps to prevent frozen pipes. Most insurance providers will not cover lead pipes, so it’s always worthwhile to double-check on your pipes—and what they’re made of—before something goes wrong. According to the Insurance Bureau of Canada, galvanized or lead piping usually means your plumbing is older, which makes it more likely to crack or leak. Insurers generally prefer homes with upgraded copper or plastic plumbing.

You may also want to consider additional coverage, such as endorsements or riders, that can provide extra protection for specific risks that your standard policy may not cover.

Preventing Frozen Water Pipe Damage.

Preventing frozen water pipe damage is the best way to avoid the inconvenience and costly repairs that come with this issue. Here are some steps that homeowners can take to prevent frozen water pipes:

  1. Insulate pipes: Insulate your pipes to help prevent them from freezing. You can do this by adding insulation sleeves to your pipes, especially those located in unheated areas of your home.
  2. Maintain heat: Make sure to keep your home adequately heated, even when you’re away. You can set your thermostat to no lower than 55°F to prevent your pipes from freezing.
  3. Allow water to drip: Allow faucets to trickle slightly to relieve pressure in the pipes. This can help prevent them from bursting or cracking due to freezing.
  4. Seal cracks and holes: Seal any cracks or holes in your home’s exterior to prevent cold air from entering your home and affecting your pipes.

In conclusion, frozen water pipes can cause significant damage to your home and personal property. Fortunately, most home insurance policies cover frozen water pipe damage. Taking preventative measures and reviewing your insurance policy can help ensure you’re covered in unexpected events like frozen water pipes. Visit our web page to learn more about home insurance, read answers to frequently asked questions, or request a free home insurance quote.

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