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Paying for frozen pipes: What will homeowners insurance cover

Posted at 6:44 PM, Feb 09, 2021
and last updated 2021-02-10 09:00:15-05

TULSA, Okla. — The shower... the sink... the dishwasher. Imagine all that water gushing through a busted pipe.

"It would definitely be a nightmare. It could cause a lot of damage," Amy Grogan said.

So, Grogan makes sure to take simple steps to help keep her pipes from freezing. She drips both hot and cold water, opens cabinets below sinks and makes sure there's room for warm air to flow around those pipes. She also keeps her thermostat set at 68 degrees or warmer... even if she leaves home for a few days.

"You don't want to be left without water," Grogan said. "I don't want to be left without water."

Professionals said we probably won't see a lot of frozen pipe damage until the temperature outside gets above freezing and those pipes start thawing out. Until then, anyone who discover some faucets have little or no flow to them, then call a plumber for help.

For certain instances, experts said they can unthaw the piping depending on the material of the piping that can conduct current.

If pipes do bust, homeowners insurance won't usually pay for a plumber to access the pipe and repair it. However, it should pay for any damage the water causes to items like floors, ceilings, furniture and personal belongings. The same is true for renters, if they have renter's insurance.

But Dan Karr with ValChoice, a consumer watchdog organization that studies the insurance industry, said there is a big if.

"People want to make sure they are in no way negligent if something happens because insurance companies won't cover if there's negligence," Karr said.

That means making sure to take the same precautions Grogan takes every time freezing weather is in the forecast. Also, don't forget those outdoor faucets which can cause leaks inside. Make sure to disconnect hoses, and use insulated covers over the outdoor faucets.

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