What to do if pipes freeze, burst: What will insurance cover?

aaaSustained below freezing temperatures in Virginia are causing frozen and burst pipes for some residents, and the cold snap is not over yet. Knowing what to do and what insurance is likely to cover, however, may give homeowners a piece of mind.

“The first week in January has been filled with dead car batteries, slippery roads and frigid temperatures. For some, frozen or burst pipes are adding to the already challenging scenario.Knowing what to do and what insurance is likely to cover when water is suddenly flowing where it normally doesn’t,however, may help ease some of the stress,” said Martha Mitchell Meade, Manager Public and Government Affairs for AAA Mid-Atlantic.

AAA Insurance offers the following tips for those with frozen/burst pipes:

AAA Tips on Insurance Coverage – Frozen/Burst Pipes:

  • If you discover that pipes are frozen, don’t wait for them to burst. Take measures to thaw them immediately, or call a plumber for assistance.
  • If your pipes burst, first turn off the water and then mop up spills. You don’t want the water to do more damage than it already has.
  • Call your agent or company as soon as you can. An insurance adjuster doesn’t need to see the spill before you take action. However, he or she will want to inspect any damaged items.
  • Make temporary repairs and take other steps to protect your property from further damage. Remove any carpet or furniture that can be further damaged from seepage.

AAA Tips on Insurance Claims – Frozen/Burst Pipes:

  • Make a list of the damaged articles and take photos.
  • Save the receipts for what you spend—including additional living expenses if you must leave your home until repairs are completed—and submit them to your insurance company for reimbursement.
  • Standard homeowners’ policies will cover most of the kinds of damage that result from a freeze. For example, if house pipes freeze and burst or if ice forms in gutters and causes water to back up under roof shingles and seep into the house. You would also be covered if the weight of snow or ice damages your house.
  • If your home suffers water damage, it is important to make sure that it is properly dried and repaired to prevent any potential problem with mold. Remember, mold cannot survive without moisture.
  • Check with your agent or company so you’ll be sure what your policy covers.
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