a faucet dripping waterHere in North Texas, you might notice freeze warning signs around your neighborhood. That's because deep freezes (which often happen this time of year) can damage your home. Among the most common is damage to your plumbing. If this occurs in a home you rent, are you responsible for the damage? Will your renters insurance help you pay for the recovery?

How Cold Affects Plumbing

In Texas, a lot of our water pipes run close to, or even above the surface of the ground. Therefore, they remain exposed to cold air. When cold air makes the pipes cold, it also cools the water in the pipes. And cold water can freeze.

When water freezes, it expands. If the water freezes in a pipe, it stops moving, and begins to put pressure on the walls of the pipes. Therefore, the pipe might eventually burst. When it does, it could immediately begin to spill water into its surroundings. The sudden flood could immediately damage a home's structure and personal items. That equals money lost.

So, if you have a pipe burst in your rental property, the damage could affect more than you alone. It might damage not only your belongings, but also the home (which belongs to someone else). How will you be able to pay for the damage?

If you have renters insurance, you should have a degree of recourse following the flood loss. Coverage won't apply to weather-related floods. However, it will usually cover damage from burst pipes.

If you have renters possessions insurance, you should be able to receive funds to replace some or all your damaged belongings. Also, with renters liability insurance, you might be able to pay for repairs to the home itself, even if you rent it. Otherwise, your landlord's insurance should cover the damage. You'll likely need to check your lease to determine which party pays for the repairs.

Avoiding Burst Pipes

Preventing burst pipes in the first place will likely help you keep your renters policy rates affordable. You'll also be able to avoid the hassle of a cleanup. How can you avoid burst pipes resulting from freezes?
  • Warm the home. You usually shouldn't lower your thermostat below 50 degrees in winter.
  • If you have exposed pipes, especially outdoors, wrap them in some form of insulation like paper or cotton towels.
  • Drip a small stream of water through the faucets throughout the home. Even running a small amount of water in the pipes will reduce the risk of bursts significantly.

Frozen and damaged pipes are often extremely costly, not to mention harmful. Therefore, you should do everything you can to prevent these threats in your rental home.

Contact us today to learn more about your renter's insurance coverage options.

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