crack in building foundation
Will Your Homeowners Insurance Protect Against Slab Leaks?

Water damage is a prevalent cause of disaster and frustration for homeowners. 98% of US basements experience water damage in their lifetimes.

There are two leading causes of plumbing supply failures in homes. The first is from frozen pipes. The second, at 65 percent of all plumbing supply system claims, comes from material failures. These claims are often more costly than frozen pipes (48% higher), with the average cost at $5,092 per incident. And not having a basement doesn’t exclude you from slab leaks. In this survey, 22 percent of all the claims came from homes without basements.

What Is a Slab Leak, Technically?

The foundation, or the “slab,” holds much of the guts for your home. Piping set in the foundation moves water in and out of your home. When the structural integrity of those pipes gets compromised, it can break the pipe and wreak havoc in the form of a slab leak.

Repairs can be costly. The average cost is around $2,000. But pinpointing an exact price is a challenge. Depending on the location and difficulty reaching the leak, costs can rapidly increase. The high uncertainty is because plumbers often have to dig into the foundation to repair a section of the pipe if they can’t reroute the flow of water through another means. The flooring may even need to be removed and replaced.

Will My Insurance Cover a Slab Leak?

It depends. Typically, a slab leak needs to meet three categories before a provider covers it. Even then, your homeowners insurance policy will only cover the cost of tearing up and removing the damaged area along with any other damage caused to your home. It will NOT cover the cost of replacing the piping, however.

The three conditions that typically need to be true:

  1. There must be damage to your home. If there is no evident damage to the house, your homeowners insurance policy won’t cover it.
  2. Your policy covers water damage. If your policy excludes all forms of water damage, then your claim will be denied.
  3. The damage must be sudden. If the leak occurred rapidly rather than slowly over time, you might have a payable claim.

Two other essential factors:

  • If tree roots or failed maintenance caused the damage, your homeowners insurance company would deny the claim.
  • Texas homeowners insurance policies typically exclude foundation coverage. The geological makeup of Texas is mostly clay, which is prone to shifting. You can usually buy a water & foundation endorsement that covers 15% of your Coverage A, up to a $25,000 limit.

If you are unsure if you have this endorsement, it’s always a good idea to contact your homeowners insurance agent.

What Are the Signs of a Slab Leak?

Unusually high water bills: A typical household slab leak can waste 10,000 gallons of water a year. A top 10 percent slab leak can waste 90 gallons a day. A considerable jump in water bills is a sign that something is wrong.

Cracks in the floor: If you notice the cracks appearing in the basement or slab, that could be a result of damage from a burst pipe in the slab

Noticeable moisture: With some slab leaks, there will be detectable moisture on the floor and baseboards from the water leaking through the slab.

Warm spots on the floor: If you walk into your kitchen and notice that a specific area of the floor in front of the sink, for instance, feels warm to the touch, it’s a sign of a leak.

What If I Do Nothing?

Because insurance policies usually won’t cover the costs unless there is damage, it may be tempting to wait for something terrible to happen. Don’t. While an insurance company won’t pay for a plumber to check for leaks, they definitely won’t cover damages to the home if there is evidence of neglect. If you notice something, it’s best to contact a plumber immediately to come out and inspect the issue. Good luck!

At your service,
Young Alfred