Yes, that’s not even a word, though it does make you envision a topic we run into often in Northern California — frozen pipes. Does your home insurance cover losses that result from pipes freezing and cracking or bursting? Yes and no….with insurance it rarely ever is just one answer.
Science tells us that there is an expansion of approximately 10% when water freezes. It only makes sense that the increase in pressure would cause the pipes to either crack or burst entirely releasing hundreds of gallons of water into your home.
Homeowners insurance policies cover the ‘sudden and accidental’ discharge of water from plumbing sources. Your coverage not only pays for the clean-up of all that water, but it will also cover to tear out the walls around the pipes, the replacement or repair of the flooring, walls, or damaged items, as well as additional living expenses (such as hotel, food, etc.) if the repairs or damage are so extensive that you cannot occupy your home for a period of time.
One major coverage condition in most property policies is that you must use reasonable care to prevent this issue from occurring.
What does that mean?
It means when you are closing your home for 3 months to escape snow and freezing temperatures, you must take necessary measures to drain the plumbing system and turn off the main water supply to your home. Even when you leave for shorter trips, it is recommended that you keep your thermostat at a minimum of 55°F and make sure you leave doors to bathrooms and kitchen open to allow the circulation of that heat.
There are many kits that you can purchase and install that will allow you to remotely and automatically shut off your water to protect your home from damage when the sensors are alerted of a crack or leak in your plumbing system. Some systems simply have floor and pipe sensors that will automatically shut down the flow of water and alert you via your smartphone when an issue arises.
Another way that you can prevent your pipes from freezing is by insulating your pipes that are near the crawlspace and attic as well as those located outside of your home. Whether you use UL approved heating tape or foam insulation, we remind you to always follow the manufacturer’s installation instructions to obtain the benefits.
If you find yourself coming home to a wading pool in your kitchen or bathroom, you should immediately turn off the water source and call a professional water restoration company immediately to prevent mold from forming.