Oklahoma’s freezing temperatures cause water lines to freeze and break. Most of us think of winter as the accumulation of snow or ice. Ice can be a major cause of damage to a home, but broken pipes is another type of winter weather that creates insurance claims. Is water damage to a house and personal belongings covered by homeowner’s insurance?
Some insurance policies will provide coverage for damage caused by pipes freezing and breaking. However, many insurance policies have important exclusions. For example, some policies state that if the water is not shut off or reasonable steps are not taken to keep the home heated, then there is no coverage. Questions arise. What are reasonable steps to ensure the heat was turned on? What measures were taken to prevent frozen pipes? The circumstances surrounding the freezing of the pipe may be the determining factor in having coverage.
For the insured homeowner, it is not fun to wake up or come home from a vacation and find that the plumbing has been leaking. Pipes that froze and burst are usually hidden from view. Preventive measures to help keep pipes from freezing are far better than an insurance claim. Keeping the thermostat above 55 degrees Fahrenheit, leaving the faucet dripping, and opening cabinet doors to allow heat to get to uninsulated pipes are a few ways to help keep pipes from freezing. After the damage, this kind of advice doesn’t fix the damages.
When prevention fails, it is important for both the adjuster and the property owner to understand the insurance policy. Policy language determines coverage initially in the insuring agreement. Exclusions, typically found near the back, take away coverage. Reading contracts isn’t for everyone. Adjusters find lots of aspects more interesting than reading policy language. Only insurance coverage attorneys are twisted enough in their thinking to enjoy reading insurance policies.
Let us know if we can help with your insurance coverage questions about ice accumulation, broken pipes, and those wintertime claims. Winter in Oklahoma is almost here!
Hiring an Oklahoma attorney who is experienced in insurance law is the best way to determine what your policy covers, what the exclusions are, and what the limitations are. Our Tulsa-based law office has an experienced Oklahoma insurance attorney who has reviewed insurance policies for coverage of frozen, burst water pipe cliams all over the state of Oklahoma. Knowing what type of coverage the policy provides or excludes makes claims a breeze. Knowing the coverage about pipe freezes lets you appropriately adjust your insurance claims. The insured needs the answer promptly. The determination may be there’s no coverage. An insured needs the information. While denial may be bad news, at least it provides the information to go forward. Not knowing and waiting is sometimes worse than anything.
If the loss is covered, then the peace of mind over payment is a big relief.