Does Homeowners Insurance Cover My Water Heater?
Finding yourself mid-shower with no hot water is never a pleasant experience. Neither is discovering that your water heater sprang a leak that has ruined your floors. Unfortunately, an old or malfunctioning water heater can leave you without hot water and may even damage parts of your home.
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Hot water is an essential part of a modern home, but does homeowners insurance cover water heaters? Here’s what you should know.
Home Insurance Doesn't Usually Pay for Water Heater Repairs
Most standard homeowners insurance policies won't pay to repair or replace a water heater that stops working due to wear and tear. Most of the time, homeowners are responsible for maintenance, repairs and replacements for all appliances, including water heaters.
Home insurance may cover a water heater damaged by an event covered explicitly in the insurance policy, such as a fire. Additionally, insurance policies often cover house damage caused by an unexpected water heater leak.
Since standard homeowners insurance policies don't cover appliance repairs, homeowners are typically responsible for repairing their water heater, even if the breakdown isn't their fault. Home insurance doesn't provide coverage when a water heater malfunctions due to:
- Owner neglect or failing to care for the appliance properly
- Age of the appliance
- Wear and tear
- A manufacturing defect in the water heater
- Faulty installation
- Plumbing problems in the pipes connected to the water heater
Homeowners can prolong the life of their water heater with proper care and maintenance, such as periodically flushing the heater. But like most appliances, water heaters eventually wear out and must be repaired or replaced.
Some insurance companies do sell additional equipment breakdown coverage that pays for necessary appliance repairs and replacements. You can speak with your insurance agent to determine if this type of coverage is available to you. You'll want to consider the cost of the premium and whether you'll have to pay a deductible.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Heater Replacement?
Home insurance policies treat water heater replacements the same as repairs. Policies don't cover water heater replacements when a water heater stops working due to age or negligence, even if the homeowner isn't at fault. Replacement costs can be high, especially for new tankless water heaters, so you may want to plan ahead if your water heater is older or showing signs of problems.
Water Heaters May Sometimes Be Covered as Personal Property
However, homeowners insurance may cover your water heater under certain limited circumstances. Home insurance policies provide some personal property protection coverage for personal items inside the home, and your water heater will probably be treated as personal property.
Insurance generally only covers personal property lost or damaged due to a "listed peril.” Listed perils are specific causes of loss named in the policy. Listed perils can vary, so you'll want to review your policy or speak with your agent, but examples include:
- House fires
- Lightning strikes
So, your homeowners insurance may pay for your water heater, but only if the damage is due to a cause named explicitly in the policy. Personal property protection won't replace a water heater that stopped working due to age or normal wear and tear.
Is a Leaking Water Heater Covered by Insurance?
While a home insurance policy probably won't pay to fix a leaky water heater, it may cover water damage caused by the leak. Although home insurance doesn't cover flood damage from natural disasters, most property coverage will pay to repair damage to your home caused by appliance malfunctions. A water heater that leaks or drains unexpectedly can damage flooring, drywall and other parts of the house. You may be able to file a claim to have your home insurance cover related repairs.
Insurance companies may deny claims if they believe water damage occurred because you neglected to repair a failing or damaged water heater. Ensuring your water heater receives necessary maintenance and repairs can help you avoid this scenario.
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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Plumbing?
Your water heater is an important piece of your home's plumbing system, and sometimes, problems extend beyond the water heater itself. Insurance companies usually don't pay for plumbing repairs; homeowners are generally responsible for paying a plumber to repair pipes. Most policies don't cover frozen pipes, either.
However, you may be able to file an insurance claim for water damage caused by burst pipes and other plumbing problems. If your pipes cause flooding, some homeowners insurance policies might pay for repairs to the structure of your home.
Getting the Most Value From Your Water Heater
Understanding the different types of water heaters available can help you maintain your current system and plan for the future. Although initial installation costs can be significant, a well-maintained water heater will be a vital piece of your home for many years. So, does homeowners insurance cover water heaters? Bottom line: No. But, you can take it upon yourself to maintain your unit and prepare for the expense of a malfunctioning appliance.