Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Slab Leaks?
Your homeowner’s insurance may or may not cover a slab leak. In many cases, it will depend on why the leak occurred, as well as your specific policy. Many companies have specific exemptions in their policies, which may prevent you from getting coverage for this common home problem.
For the most part, your homeowner’s insurance will cover the leak if the water damage wasn’t caused by a maintenance problem. Often, if a “peril” was involved, like a tornado or falling object, that subsequently caused the leak, you will be covered.
With that said, if the leak was caused by a faulty installation or poor maintenance, then you likely won’t be covered. Homeowner’s insurance usually doesn’t cover damage caused by maintenance or similar issues.
Can You Claim a Slab Leak on Insurance?
You can always try to get your insurance to cover a slab leak. After all, the worst thing that can happen is for the company to say no or explain that it isn’t covered. However, the company will likely want to know why the leak occurred, and they may send out an independent agent to determine the cause.
If the slab leak was caused by a peril, like a natural disaster, you will likely be covered. Usually, policies explicitly cover these unpredictable occurrences.
You are less likely to get the slab leak covered if it was inadvertently caused by you or due to normal wear and tear. For instance, if you don’t maintain your pipes and cause them to bust, they likely won’t be covered. Furthermore, if the pressure of a tree root caused the leak, the company may not cover it, either. (Instead, they will argue that the tree should have been removed as part of regular home maintenance.)
When Are Slab Leaks Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance?
Usually, the cause of the slab leak will determine whether or not your insurance will cover it. Insurance won’t cover problems that were due to neglect, for instance. However, they will cover problems that were caused by unforeseen circumstances. If you didn’t do anything to cause the issue, you may find that your insurance will cover it.
Some pretty straight-forward circumstances that are usually covered include:
However, some other circumstances aren’t as cut-and-dry. For instance, the insurance company may cover slab leaks caused by frozen pipes if you maintained heat in the home. If you turned off the heat and your pipes froze, they will likely argue that you caused the problem.
Similarly, vandalism is usually covered. However, if the insurance company finds out that you didn’t have proper security on the home (such as locking the door), they may argue that you didn’t take proper steps to prevent the damage.
Furthermore, if your hot water heater cracks, it may cover the leak. But, if the crack was found to be slow and gradual, then they will likely claim that you should have fixed the issue sooner. Gradual leaks typically aren’t covered for this reason.
You’ll notice that earthquakes and flooding are not included in this section. While many insurance policies do cover these occurrences, they are typically not included. If you are in a flood zone, you will need flood insurance. Otherwise, your basic homeowner’s insurance won’t cover it.
Does Insurance Cover a Leak in the Foundation?
The foundation is covered as part of your home and damage to your foundation may be covered, including leaks. However, insurance companies won’t cover all damage. Usually, you’ll find very specific circumstances that insurance won’t cover. The cause of the damage and leak will be vital to determine if you’re covered or not.
If the damage was caused by a peril, such as a tornado, you are likely covered. A peril includes most hazards that aren’t foreseeable or reasonably preventable. It is important to point out that earthquakes and flooding are often excluded from this coverage, as they need to be covered by specific insurance plans if you live in an at-risk area.
Normal wear, concrete settling, bulging, expansion, tree root pressure, rodent infestations, and similar problems are not usually covered. Insurance only covers un-preventable problems that aren’t a normal part of home wear.
Does State Farm Insurance Cover Slab Leaks?
According to their policy, State Farm will cover most slab leaks. However, there are also several situations where you will not be covered. This company uses vague wordage that makes it easy for them to deny your claims in many situations.
For instance, they do not cover leaks that occurred over a period of time and were not fixed. Of course, this prevents homeowners from asking for money to make repairs after leaving a leak for an extended period. However, if a leak is hidden, the company might deny the claim, as the leak was still taking place over a long period.
There are several situations where you may not notice the leak until later. Slab leaks are notoriously hard to detect in many cases, so they may go on for some time before you repair them. State Farm may see this as an opportunity to deny your claim.
Sadly, this ambiguous language makes it difficult to know if you will be covered or not, depending on what State Farm finds out about the leak.
How Much Does It Cost to Detect a Slab Leak?
Unlike other leaks, you typically can’t just see a slab leak. Therefore, once you notice the signs of a leak, you’ll need to get a professional to determine if there is a leak or not. Leak detection is the first step to repair.
Usually, this step costs anywhere from $150 to $400. While that may sound expensive, it is important to remember that repairing a slab leak can cost thousands of dollars. Many factors are involved, such as how long your pipe system is. If they are short, rerouting the pipes may only cost $500. However, the average is closer to $1,500 for just that repair phase.
You’ll need to add the detection cost, pipe repair, concrete slab repair, and fixing any other water damage to that cost. In the end, this can quickly get extremely expensive. If you need a new concrete slab, you may pay closer to $7,000.
Insurance will cover slab leaks that are caused by perils in most cases. This may include a falling tree, tornado, or other unforeseeable circumstances. Earthquakes and flooding are usually not covered, as these must be purchased as separate policies.
Similarly, insurance won’t cover damage caused by normal wear, faulty construction, infestations, or similar maintenance-related problems. If you caused the leak in any way, your plan usually won’t cover it. Insurance is typically only for problems you couldn’t see coming—not normal costs associated with owning a home.
You can’t control if your house gets hit by a tornado. However, you can control insect and rat infestations by hiring an exterminator.
With that said, each policy is different, and what one policy covers may be different from another one.
Featured Image Credit: Jack_the_sparow, Shutterstock