Broken, leaky pipelines in your home's foundation, or "slab", are nothing to sneeze at. With high repair costs and the potential for major water damage to your house and belongings, it's good to know whether or not your homeowners insurance could help cover damage from slab leaks.
first things first: what is a slab leak?
Some of us have heard of slab leaks and the kind of damage they can cause … but what are they, exactly?
To put it simply, a slab leak occurs when the water pipelines in your home's walls or underneath its foundation spring a leak. Water then backs up beneath the slab, which can often lead to major damage to your house and the belongings inside.
From corrosion and pressure, to construction defects, to regular wear-and-tear and even negligence — there are a number of factors that can cause slab leaks. And with repairs that can cost upwards of $15,000, it's key that you address a potential slab leak as soon as possible.
homeowners insurance and slab leaks
Fortunately, there are some instances where slab leak damage might be covered under your average homeowners insurance policy.
If a slab leak is the result of a covered peril, causing further damage to your home, dwelling protection and personal property insurance on your homeowners policy may offer financial protection. That means coverage will probably kick in for your home's structure as well as personal belongings such as furniture, clothing, electronics, and more, if a peril like fire results in slab leak damage to your place.
In addition, standard homeowners insurance will often cover the cost of tearing out and replacing the slab so that the plumbing system can be repaired — but most policies won't pay to repair or replace the plumbing system itself.
If plumbing fails due to normal wear-and-tear, tree root interference, or any negligence on your behalf, you may have to pay for repairs on your own.
It's also important to note that your home must have suffered damage from the slab leak. If you feel a warm spot on your floor when you walk into your bedroom, say, it's possible that a hot water pipeline has broken. But if you pull back the carpet to find no damage — just a warm slab — most homeowners policies won't pay for inspection or repairs.
Whether or not your homeowners policy covers damage caused by slab leaks largely depends on your particular contract. It's always wise to speak with an agent to see what you are and aren't covered for under your specific policy.
If you're an Esurance policyholder and have questions about how your coverages work, feel free to give us a call at 1-800-ESURANCE (1-800-378-7262). Our licensed agents are available at these times.
how to detect a slab leak
Although slab leaks can be difficult to detect since they form predominantly underneath your house, sometimes you can spot early signs of them before major damage occurs.
- High water bills: If you're using the same amount of water you always do, but notice increasingly high water bills, you could have a slab leak on your hands.
- Warm spots on your floor: These could be a sign of a hot water pipe busting.
- The sound of running water: If all your other water is turned off and you still hear it streaming down your walls or elsewhere, your place may have a leak.
- Excessive moisture, mildew, and even mold: If your carpeting is moist to the touch or shows symptoms of mold or mildew, it may be time to call in a professional inspection.
- Cracks in your home's flooring or walls: Once a slab leak has gotten really bad, it may cause noticeable cracks in your house — bad omens for the structural integrity of your place.
If you detect symptoms of a slab leak, take action by calling your local plumber so they can take a look at the issue and do further inspection and testing.
Can slab leaks be prevented?
You may not be able to prevent slab leaks caused by Mother Nature's wrath (like an earthquake or wildfire, for example), but there are still a few preventive steps you can take as a homeowner to help avoid slab leaks — and really expensive repair bills.
- Maintain proper water pressure for your house's pipelines. We all love high water pressure, but if your place's pipes are too narrow to handle the pressure you've set your water at, it can really compromise the pipeline's integrity over time.
- Contact a local plumber to test the pH of your home's water. If it's too acidic or too basic (or in other words "too hard" or "too soft"), it's likely to slowly corrode your pipelines, which will eventually lead to leaks.
- Be extremely mindful of the chemicals you pour down your drain. Certain de-clogging liquids, for instance, often contain very harsh chemicals that compromise not only the environment, but your home's water pipeline system too. There are many alternative cleaners that contain less harsh ingredients.
Does homeowners insurance cover water and mold damage?
Find out more about how most home insurers treat water and mold damage claims.
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