There is no quick answer that fits every scenario, but don’t just assume that you are covered for slab leaks and their detection.
CHECK THE POLICY WORDING
Most homeowners’ policies are intended to cover sudden and accidental physical losscaused by a covered peril.
- Sudden: The dictionary describes sudden as meaning something that happens quickly, unexpectedly and without warning. In slab leak terms, a burst pipe may be covered, a slow drip that has occurred over time, probably not.
- Loss: Loss also means damage in insurance terms to both your home and personal property. If you have a slab leak that has not caused any damage to flooring, carpets, baseboards, drywall, cabinetry, then there is no loss and you will not be covered. Repairing leaking pipes or repiping your house does not constitute a loss.
- Covered peril: A peril, as referred to in an insurance policy, is what causes the loss, such as fire, water, theft, hail, lightning, wind. You may have a named peril or an all peril policy. A named peril policy lists exactly what is covered. An all peril policy covers all perils except what is excluded. It’s all a bit catch-22. Insurance companies don’t seem to like water and unless your slab leak meets all the criteria set out in your policy, you will not be covered.
DOUBLE CHECK WITH YOUR INSURANCE COMPANY
The only way to be certain about your coverage is to double check with your insurance company. Make sure however that you enquire about your coverage in a generalized way. It has been known for clients to ask about slab leaks only to find out later that the insurance company filed a claim.
TEAR OUT PROVISION
If your policy has a tear out provision, your insurance company will pay for the costs to open up the slab to find the leaking pipe and to close it back up again. They will not pay to actually fix the pipe.
DON’T FORGET ABOUT YOUR DEDUCTIBLE
If your whole floor needs replacing, then making a claim makes sense. In our case, the only damage was to the drywall. With a $1000 deductible, we paid for this ourselves.
WILL THE PLUMBER REPLACE THE DRYWALL?
The plumber will not automatically replace damaged ceilings, baseboards, drywall etc. unless you specifically make an arrangement with him. His job is to stop the leak. Quite simply, slab leaks are a pain in the neck and the wallet. Anyone dealing with them has all my sympathy.