Is a Broken Pipe Under a Home’s Slab Covered by Insurance?

If you discover a broken pipe underneath the concrete foundation or “slab” of your home, you may be wondering if repairs are covered by your homeowners insurance policy. Unfortunately, in most cases fixing broken pipes themselves is not covered. However, damage to the slab caused by a burst pipe may be covered depending on your policy.

This article provides a comprehensive overview of how slab and underground pipe damage relates to homeowners insurance coverage including:

  • What constitutes slab and underground pipe damage
  • Typical causes of slab and pipe damage
  • Whether repairs are covered by homeowners insurance
  • What specific policy provisions to review
  • Steps to take in filing an insurance claim
  • Using a public adjuster or attorney

Understanding these key considerations will help set proper expectations when it comes to filing a claim for slab and underground pipe repairs.

What is Considered Slab and Underground Pipe Damage?

The “slab” refers to the concrete foundation poured on the ground that a home’s flooring sits on top of. Underneath this slab, supply pipes provide water throughout the home while drainage pipes take away wastewater.

Slab damage usually refers to cracks, shifting, or leaks in the concrete foundation under the home. Signs can include cracks in walls and floors, damp carpet, or foundation unevenness.

Underground pipe damage means leaks, breaks, blockages or other failures in the plumbing systems beneath the slab. This can cause water intrusion into the surrounding soil and foundation.

Pinpointing the cause of slab leaks or pipe breaks is key to determining if it may be covered by homeowners insurance.

Typical Causes of Slab and Underground Pipe Damage

Some of the most common causes of slab and underground pipe damage include:

  • Freezing temperatures – Can cause pipes to expand and crack under the slab.

  • Tree roots – Roots penetrating pipes under the foundation cause breaks and blockages.

  • Soil shifts – Drought, floods and soil erosion can shift foundations and break pipes.

  • Old pipes – Corrosion and wear over time can lead to pipe failures.

  • Heavy objects – Items placed on top of slabs can cause stress cracks.

  • Plumbing leaks – Leaking supply or drainage pipes can erode soil under slabs.

  • Improper installation – Incorrect pipe or foundation installation makes damage more likely.

Determining if the specific cause is covered under a homeowners insurance policy is key to claim eligibility.

Is Slab and Underground Pipe Damage Covered by Homeowners Insurance?

Coverage for slab and underground pipe damage under a homeowners insurance policy depends on the cause. Here are some general guidelines:

  • Slab damage – If caused by a covered peril like fire, falling trees or vandalism, repairs are typically covered. Damage from wear and tear, pests or natural settling is generally excluded.

  • Supply pipe damage – Burst water supply pipes caused by freezing temps are often covered, while gradual corrosion is not.

  • Drainage pipe damage – Backups caused by tree roots infiltrating pipes are generally excluded as maintenance issues.

  • Actual pipe repairs – Policies rarely cover direct repairs to damaged pipes themselves, only resulting water damage.

The exact coverages, exclusions, limitations and costs vary significantly by insurer and policy. Carefully reading your specific homeowners insurance policy is crucial to understanding what is covered.

Key Homeowners Insurance Policy Provisions for Slab and Pipe Damage

If you have suffered slab or underground pipe damage, here are some key provisions in your homeowners policy to review:

  • Causes of Loss – Lists specific causes of damage that are covered (perils) vs. excluded.

  • Property Covered – Defines what structures on the premises are insured, which typically includes the home’s foundation. Makes sure “underground pipes” are not explicitly excluded.

  • Exclusions – Damage from “wear and tear”, “deterioration”, “rust”, “corrosion” and similar causes are usually excluded.

  • Limits – Common caps are 50-75% of dwelling coverage limits for foundation damage and only $10k-$25k for water damage/pipe repairs.

  • Deductible – Expect a deductible of $500-$2,500 to come out of pocket before insurance kicks in.

Consulting your agent or insurer directly about policy inclusions/exclusions is highly recommended before filing a claim.

Steps to Take in Filing an Insurance Claim for Slab and Pipe Damage

If you confirm or strongly suspect your homeowners policy provides coverage for the cause of your slab or pipe damage, here is the process to file an insurance claim:

  1. Document the damage – Take extensive photos and videos showing cracks, leaks, flooding or other damage.

  2. Mitigate damage – Take reasonable steps to limit further damage like turning off water to broken pipes. Keep receipts for incurred costs.

  3. File a claim – Contact your insurer via phone, email or their website to start a claim. Provide documentation and specifics on what led to the damage.

  4. Inspection – An adjuster will inspect in-person and determine if the cause and extent of damage is covered.

  5. Settlement – If approved, the insurer will provide an estimated claim payout and plan for covered repairs.

  6. Appeal insufficient coverage – If you feel the approved claim does not adequately cover the damage costs, start an appeal process.

Be thorough, organized and persistent throughout the claims process to maximize your payout.

Using a Public Adjuster or Attorney for Insurance Claims

If your claim for slab or underground pipe damage is denied outright, or you feel the insurance company is undervaluing the damage or delaying settlement, consider hiring a public adjuster or attorney. They can professionally handle the insurance claim by:

  • Reviewing your policy provisions in detail to prove covered damage.

  • Negotiating directly with insurers to demand proper claim value.

  • Appraising damage costs and pushing for appropriate reimbursement.

  • Filing appeals and escalating to legal action when warranted.

A 10-20% cut of a settlement is common payment for their services if successful. This can be well worth it to receive full damage reimbursement the insurer owes.

Key Takeaways on Slab and Pipe Damage Insurance Claims

  • Burst underground water supply pipes caused by freezing are often covered, while damage from roots, wear or improper installation typically is not.

  • Homeowners policies usually cover foundation and slab damage resulting from specific covered causes like fire or storms.

  • Do not expect direct repairs to broken underground pipes themselves to be reimbursable, only related water damage.

  • Carefully check your policy provisions on causes of loss, property covered, exclusions and coverage limits.

  • Promptly file detailed insurance claims for slab and pipe damage with thorough documentation.

  • Consider hiring a public adjuster or attorney if you feel the insurer denies or undervalues your valid claim.

With sidewalks and driveways covering damaged pipes, it is easy for serious leaks and breaks to go undetected until foundation damage occurs. Stay vigilant for signs of underground pipe issues and understand your homeowners insurance coverage options if repairs become necessary.

Frequently Asked Questions

What is considered the slab of a home?

The slab is the concrete foundation that forms the floor of a home and sits on top of the ground. It provides a stable base for the home above. Underground water and sewer pipes run beneath the slab.

Does homeowners insurance cover if tree roots break pipes under a slab?

Unfortunately pipe damage caused by infiltrating tree roots growing under the foundation is usually excluded as a maintenance issue not covered by standard policies. Removing problematic trees may be required.

My pipe under the slab burst from freezing temperatures. Will it be covered?

Freezing that causes pipes under the slab to burst open is often a covered peril, assuming you maintained adequate heat in the home. Resulting water damage would be reimbursable minus your deductible.

What typical dollar limits apply to slab and pipe claims?

Policies often limit foundation damage coverage to 50-75% of the total dwelling coverage limit. Underground pipe leak coverage may be restricted to as little as $5,000-$10,000 in some cases.

If my claim is denied, what recourse do I have?

Hiring a public adjuster to re-file and negotiate your claim or an attorney to take legal action against the insurer may be options if you feel the damages clearly should have been covered.

With the right homeowners insurance policy and an understanding of what causes of damage are covered, you can get repairs paid for if you experience broken underground pipes, leaking slabs or other foundation issues. Carefully file detailed claims and appeal if necessary.

Does Insurance Cover Slab Leaks?


Does homeowners insurance cover broken pipes underground?

However, most homeowners insurance policies do not cover broken pipe repairs. Homeowners insurance assists with the vast majority of foundation issues including slab leaks and cracks only if the cause of the damage is covered by a homeowners insurance policy itself.

Does homeowners insurance cover a leak under the slab?

Dwelling coverage helps pay to repair damage to the structure of your home. If you have a slab leak, it may help cover the cost of removing the slab and replacing it after the plumbing is repaired, but probably will not pay to fix the plumbing itself.

Does insurance cover crack in slab?

If your slab cracks due to a covered hazard, like a pipe burst, homeowners insurance will likely cover the cost of tearing out and pouring new slab, but pipe repairs will likely not be covered. Slab and plumbing issues resulting from age or normal wear and tear are not covered by home insurance.

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