The coverage options for home insurance in the United States are vast: eight different types of coverage – HO-1 through HO-8 – allow you to get what you want without splurging on excessive and insignificant features. However, basic homeowners insurance does not cover plumbing and drainage, which is a gap that must be filled for those intolerant to such risks.
The breakdown of the continuous ‘freshwater – wastewater’ cycle may cost an arm and a leg for unprotected homeowners. Thousands of dollars may go down the drain should one of the pipes burst at the most inconvenient time. The loss of water can reach over 50,000 gallons per year.
But you can mitigate, if not downright eliminate, plumbing and drainage-associated risks by buying or adding the right plumbing and drainage cover to your homeowners policy. Read on to learn what plumbing and drainage cover is, why you may need it, and how to choose the best policy.
What Is Plumbing and Drainage Cover?
Plumbing and drainage cover (also known as drain plumbing cover, drain pipe cover, boiler plumbing and drainage cover, home emergency cover, or home plumbing insurance) is an addition to a homeowners policy that covers various drain-related problems from a dripping tap to leaky pipes to drain blockage. Plumbing and drainage coverage may also be part of boiler coverage and other related coverages.
Do You Need Plumbing and Drainage Cover?
Whether you need plumbing and drainage cover depends on the state of these systems, how you use them, how many people live in your house, your risk tolerance, budget, and other possible factors.
Drain problems may stem from objective and subjective causes:
- Land movement. Sinkholes, mining, and drainage of organic soils may cause land subsidence (with further encrustation) that may be overlooked when purchasing your house or insurance. Encrustation needs to be removed, and you don’t want to pay for it out of pocket.
- Tree roots. The outward growth of the roots is always noticeable, but you never know the damage done by tree roots underneath the building. For example, tree roots can cause pipe fracturing. Plumbing and drainage cover will allow you to remove tree roots without damaging the pipe and having to pay for it out of pocket.
- Food leftovers. Oil and fat turn solid when it cools, which can cause a blockage. If you discard food into the sink when washing dishes or if you constantly flush baby wipes, then you might need plumbing and drainage insurance.
Most plumbing and drainage issues can be covered by plumbing and drainage insurance, which you can buy as a separate policy or addition to your homeowners insurance.
What Does Plumbing and Drainage Insurance Cover?
Most policies include blockage and water supply disruption coverage (issues with drains, pipes, sinks, toilets, and water supply), but there may be more coverage depending on the plan.
A good plumbing and drainage plan will include everything needed to fix your plumbing and drainage problems, including:
- Locating the breakdown, collapse, or blockage
- Excavation of the broken pipe with further repair or replacement
- Unblocking, dislodging, and clearing pipes and drains
- Cutting, welding, and fusing
An extensive plan may extend to your heating system, boilers, and even pest infestations.
What Is Excluded from Plumbing and Drainage Insurance?
- Negligence. Most policies will not cover problems stemming from the lack of maintenance of drains and pipes. Likewise, uncertified systems and items – as well as systems with no proof of annual service – will likely not be covered.
- Day-to-day maintenance. Even though you are responsible for maintaining the pipes and drains on your property, day-to-day maintenance costs are usually excluded from coverage.
- Old systems. If your heating, plumbing, and drainage systems are older than 10 years, it will be difficult to find an insurer that will cover these risks.
- Pest infestations. Sheds, gardens, and other outbuildings prone to pest infestations will be harder to cover.
How Much Plumbing and Drainage Insurance Do You Need?
Whether you need plumbing and drainage insurance and how much coverage is needed depends on your risk tolerance, budget, how old is your house and its systems, how you maintain it, and more. It is advisable that you have coverage for damage caused by natural perils (floods, fire, earthquakes, storms, etc.), explosions, fallen objects, collisions, busted or frozen pipes, and vandalism.
How to Choose the Best Plumbing and Drainage Insurance?
When choosing your plumbing and drainage policy, take the following factors into account:
- Coverage type. Make sure the plan covers exactly what you need so that you don’t pay for unneeded coverage.
- Coverage amount. Make sure the coverage is enough but not excessive so that you are not underinsured or overinsured. Also, pay attention to the maximum number of claims you can make per year.
- Deductible (excess). Make sure you are comfortable with the amount you will have to pay before the policy kicks in.
- Premium. Make sure the premium is reasonable for the type/amount of coverage and the deductible you get.
Last but not least, choose insurers that provide certified technicians and a 24/7 helpline so that you can reach a specialist in the shortest time should an emergency occur.
What Is a Home Warranty and How Can It Help?
A home warranty is a contract between you and your home warranty company that facilitates discounted repair or replacement of the named home’s components. The components may vary depending on the warranty, but almost any warranty includes plumbing and drainage coverage.
When you purchase a home (whether it is new or not), chances are you will be offered a home warranty. Note, however, that it is not the same as homeowners insurance.
Among the best home warranty providers for plumbing and drainage in the United States are Home Service Club, Select Home Warranty, Choice Home Warranty, and Liberty Home Guard. Check these out to identify a plan that suits your needs.
Plumbing and Drainage Cover in the United States
Whether you are looking for plumbing and drainage cover from an insurer or a warranty provider, you have dozens of options in the United States. Among the best insurers are:
- Service Line Warranties of America
- Erie Insurance
- Home Serve
- Choice Home Warranty,
- American Family Insurance
- Mercury Insurance, and more.
When choosing your plan, pay attention to the type and amount of coverage, the deductible, the number of claims you can make per year, and your budget and risk tolerance. Last but not least, don’t forget to explore available bonuses to lower your premium and get the best deal.
Plumbing and Drainage Cover in the United Kingdom
When shopping for plumbing and drainage cover in the United Kingdom, choose a provider regulated by the Financial Conduct Authority (FCA), a state-run regulator overseeing insurance in the UK.
Over a dozen prominent UK insurers offer plumbing and drainage cover, including British Gas, Smart Cover, Home Serve, Home Emergency Assist, Hometree, Prominence Support, Big Warranties, and more. To choose the best offer, among other things, pay attention to the monthly premium and the excess (deductible). The range of monthly costs of plumbing and drainage cover is £1 to £10, with the deductible varying from £0 to around £50.
Is It Worth Buying Plumbing and Drainage Cover?
Whether buying plumbing and drainage coverage is worth it depends on the age and location of your house, the systems installed on your property, your risk tolerance and budget, how many people live in your house, how you maintain plumbing and drainage, and more.
Keep in mind that issues are likely to arise as your house ages and its plumbing and drainage systems wear out. There’s very little chance you will never need plumbing and drainage cover.
Are Plumbing and Drainage Cover a Separate Insurance Policy?
You can buy plumbing and drainage cover independently, as a part of some other cover (for example, boiler cover), or include it in your homeowners policy.
Will My Homeowners Insurance Reimburse for a Collapsed Drain?
Most standard homeowners policies do not include drain coverage, but you can add this type of coverage to your policy. Note, however, that problems that arise from lack of maintenance are usually not reimbursed.
Also, whether you will be held responsible for a collapsed drain depends on the country, state, and whether the drain is within your property. For example, in the United Kingdom, lateral drains and sewers located outside the policyholder’s property are the responsibility of the respective sewerage company.
Can I Fix Drainage Problems on My Own?
Some issues can be fixed on your own.
If the drain is blocked, you can:
- Use industrial chemicals to dissolve the clot
- Use a plunger or a rod to clear up or dislodge the blockage
If none of the above helps resolve your drainage problem, it’s time to call your insurer.
What is Excess on Plumbing and Drainage Cover?
Excess (deductible) is an amount you must pay out of pocket before your policy kicks in. For example, if the excess on your policy is $100, you will have to pay $100 out of pocket, while the rest will be covered by your insurance (up to the policy limits).
Do Tenants Need Plumbing and Drainage Cover?
As a tenant, you don’t need to buy plumbing and drainage cover. However, you must inform your landlord of existing issues with drainage and plumbing. After that, your landlord or letting agent should take care of it.
Oleksandr is an expert in deep research. He covers insurance topics across four major insurance verticals – auto, health, life, and home insurance – while taking into account the legal landscape of the state in question. Come rain or shine, you can expect regular quality blogs and timely updates from Oleksandr.