While Texas is thawing after the Artic explosion, damage from the storm remains an issue for the San Antonians. Here’s what most insurance plans cover and what not.
SAN ANTONIO – As Texas thaws from the Artic Blast, pipe problems remain a problem for the San Antonians. Experts explain policy details on how you can further protect your home and why coverage can be complicated.
On Thursday, the President and CEO of the San Antonio Water System, Robert Puente, told city and county leaders that an estimated 100,000 pipe leaks have occurred in San Antonio. With freezing temperatures ending by the weekend, residents will continue to grapple with pipe issues. LendingTree, a company that connects consumers with lenders, announced what insurance coverage will look like for broken pipes, floods, roof collapses, and tenant protection.
Q: Does homeowner insurance cover broken pipes?
A: Homeowner insurance covers damage caused by broken pipes. The protection that homeowners have is usually twofold: First, insurers usually explicitly cover damage caused by burst pipes or pipes. Second, many policies refer to power outages to say that the insurer will pay for the damage as long as an off-site outage results in covered property damage. Water would be such a covered condition if the pipes burst.
Q: Why is the situation in Texas complicated?
A: Insurers will not cover damage caused by water mains freezing unless the applicant has taken reasonable steps – such as maintaining heat and turning off water – to prevent the situation from worsening.
“I am sure there will be litigation afterwards. With the insurance companies trying to work with the policyholder to define what this sensible measure looks like, ”said Andrew Hurst, LendingTree Insurance Expert. “The silver lining is that millions of people are going through the same thing. If your home is damaged, you lose property, chances are many Texans will experience the same thing. That means insurers will now have a log. This will not be an isolated incident. “
Q: Will safe water be a problem?
A: People can also have problems if the water damage in their homes is due to seepage from drains or a sink. Without confirmation or an add-on for this type of damage, most providers specifically exclude this type of damage from their cover.
“You can customize a note based on how much property you have. So if you have ten thousand dollars worth of real estate, this is something to be prepared for. Or if you had $ 20,000 worth of property that you suspect is at risk, you could have that much covered. That way you don’t have to pay more than you have to, ”explained Hurst.
Q: What if my house is flooded?
A: Damage from flooding, including excess groundwater, cannot be covered by regular homeowner or tenant insurance. A homeowner would need separate flood insurance to claim damage from the effects of melting snow, such as if they were brought back into the home.
Q: What if my roof collapses?
A: Homeowners should be fine. Homeowner insurance covers accidents when a policyholder’s roof collapses. One reason insurers might refuse a claim would be if an applicant knew about structural decay or damage to the home prior to the breakdown. For example, when they postpone repairs to a leaky roof or a defect that they otherwise found a way to live with. In these circumstances it could be much harder for a policyholder.
Q: What if I rent my home?
A: If you have tenant insurance, your policy should cover water damage to your personal property from a burst pipe. However, if damage is caused by backwater in a sump pump or drain, you will not be covered until you have purchased additional coverage for it. In addition, a flood guideline is still needed to repair the damage caused by ingress of groundwater (e.g. from melted snow). Renters don’t have to worry about the damage to their home as this should be covered by their landlord’s insurance.