Burst and leaking pipes; when will your insurance pay?

The new sectional title insurance regulations around burst and leaking pipes does not exactly match with what insurers are prepared to insure. This is the question we address in this blog.

New regulation 3 (e) water escape, including bursting or overflowing of water tanks, apparatus or pipes; refers.

The new regulation refers to water escape, a new inclusion to the rules and regulations. This description includes water that entered the property and escaped from the pipe or tank within the common property or section concerned, and caused damage to the property.

The traditional insurance cover has specific wording for this, i.e. Sudden and unforeseen bursting, overflowing or escape of water or oil from tanks, apparatus or pipes including any fixed water or oil-fired heating installation including damage to such tanks, apparatus or pipes – but excluding all damage as a result of wear and tear and gradual deterioration.

Therefore, a leak or drip or something not sudden will not be covered, specifically a leak caused by something like a pin-hole or gradual deterioration over time. This would still be water escape but not covered.

 

TO SUMMARISE

  1. BURST PIPE WITH RESULTING DAMAGE

Insurer should pay to locate and repair the pipe as well as the reinstatement, e.g. re-tile and replace any other resulting damaged areas such as ceilings damaged, carpet damaged, etc.

  1. DETERIORATED PIPE, SLOW LEAK, DAMP OVER TIME

Not an insurance claim – no sudden water damage, loss caused by deterioration.

Gradual deterioration, wear and tear usually excluded.

  1. DETERIORATED PIPE, BUT SUDDEN COLLAPSE OF PIPE – SUDDEN APPEARANCE OF WATER, RUNNING WATER, POOL OF WATER, FLOW OF WATER

Insurance will usually only pay for the resulting water damage, e.g. the ceiling in flat below that was SUDDENLY damaged. The location of the leak, the repair and re-tile, etc. – the cost of this part will be for the owner’s account or if this happened on common property, for the body corporate’s account.

In many cases, it can be argued that the insurer need not even pay for the resulting damage where the cause was wear and tear related but it is generally accepted that damage caused by SUDDEN flows of water will be admitted.

Common water damage treated as “wear and tear/gradual deterioration” (which we sometimes refer to as maintenance matters and not insurance issues) are not ordinarily covered:

Bath or shower traps leaking or dripping, blocked pipes, shower waterproofing not working properly, roots growing into waste pipes and causing damage over time, cracked drains, sealing (silicone beads) needing replacement, rising damp, roofing needing repairs, leaking balconies, failure of waterproofing, etc.

 

Author:  Mike Addison, Addsure

Contact Addsure – The Leaders in Sectional Title Insurance – for fit and proper advice from advisors who understand Sectional Title. Contact us in Johannesburg (011) 704-3858; Durban (031) 459-1795; Cape Town (021) 551-5069