Does Homeowners Insurance Cover a Water Leak Under My Slab in the Garage?

Written by James Hirby | Fact checked by The Law Dictionary staff |  

Slab leaks can be particularly devastating and costly. Although they can be caused by a variety of serious plumbing problems and may feature both hot and cold streams of water, they typically progress in a predictable manner. When a pipe that runs through your home's walls or under your house's foundation develops a leak, the constant stream of water from the broken pipe pools under your foundation's "slab" and may cause major damage.

If the offending pipe is located above ground, its leak may cause damage to your home's insulation, structural supports and crawlspaces. Certain areas behind your home's walls could develop dangerous mold mats and require substantial restoration to remain safe. If the offending pipe is located underground, the damage will be localized under your home's foundation and in its yard. However, the leak will be far harder to detect, pinpoint and correct. This inevitable delay could ultimately raise the cost of repairing the damage from the leak and may have significant implications for your homeowner's insurance policy.

Depending upon the amount of time that elapses between the genesis of your slab leak and the point at which it's discovered, the repair costs associated with the incident could be staggering. This is due to the fact that the water from the leak may hollow out the ground beneath the slab on which your house sits. As a result of this persistent erosion, your home's foundation may become less secure. Even if the foundation itself doesn't crack or split apart, it may list to one side and cause a chain reaction that might ultimately destabilize your home's walls and roof.

Many homeowners who unknowingly endure slab leaks for long periods of time discover the problem only after cracks have begun to appear in their homes' structural walls. In the worst-case scenario, a broken window might finally alert you to the problem.

Unfortunately, your homeowner's insurance company is far less likely to cover repair costs for slab leaks that have advanced to this point. If you file a claim for such a problem, you should expect a cold response. When your claims adjuster views the damage, he or she is likely to argue that the damage to your home is the direct result of negligence on your behalf. In general, homeowner's insurance policies pay for water damage caused only by sudden and catastrophic leaks. When they arise gradually, devastating slab leaks are liable to be ignored.

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