A slab leak happens when a leak develops in or near the concrete foundation of your home. If you have one, you may be surprised to learn that slab leak insurance coverage is complex. Not all homeowner’s insurance policies cover all aspects of a slab leak by default. We’ll walk you through what you need to know about slab leaks to protect your home or deal with a leak.

How Common Are Slab Leaks?

Compared to other plumbing problems, like leaking faucets and backed-up toilets, slab leaks are not common. However, slab leaks are more common here in California than in many other places, because earthquakes and shifting ground can cause them. As the ground moves, it can damage the pipes in the foundation. Even minor leaks will build-up enough water in the foundation to create pressure, corrosion and other damage to the home’s foundation.

How Long Does it Take to Fix a Slab Leak?

It takes quite some time to fix slab leaks. Unfortunately, because slab leaks start out of sight, they are often only caught after they have done some water damage. Damage may even be severe, as few homeowners know the signs of slab leaks. They may suspect puddles of water outside their home are from rainfall and not from their waterlogged foundation.

Are Slab Leaks Covered by Homeowner’s Insurance?

Yes! Homeowner’s insurance policies almost always cover the cost of the water damage that results from a slab leak, including damage to drywall or furniture. However, things are a bit more complicated when it comes to covering the cost to fix the leak itself.

Most, but not all policies will cover the cost of replacing the home’s foundation, but few include the cost of replacing the broken pipes, which could be costly. The exception is a slab leak caused by an earthquake. This should be covered by your homeowner’s insurance, so long as the policy also covers earthquake damage and you can prove the earthquake did cause the leak.

As slab leaks are expensive to repair, you should expect your insurance company to investigate your claim very thoroughly, even if you’re claiming an earthquake caused the leak. Your policy provider may try to argue that your negligence or lack of maintenance was the root cause of the slab leak. Perhaps your home has too high water pressure, water with a high pH, or perhaps you poured cleaning chemicals down your drain.

To ensure you have the evidence you need to get the insurance coverage you’re entitled to, it is wise to partner with a restoration company that is experienced gathering evidence for insurance claims.

Frequently, slab leaks are caused by poor home design, poor construction, or damage to the pipes during construction. If that is the case, your slab leak may be covered under your home warranty, especially if your home was recently constructed, whether or not you are its first owner.

Ultimately, working closely with your plumber and your restoration specialist will help you repair the damage to your home and get as much insurance coverage for your slab leak as possible.