A home is only as strong as its foundation—and slab leaks can drastically impact the structural integrity of your home's foundation.
Worse, as they are incased in concrete, they can be expensive to repair and often go unnoticed.
That leaves many homeowners asking one question when facing a slab leak repair bill—does home insurance cover slab leaks?
Here is everything you need to know about slab leak insurance coverage.
What Is a Slab Leak?
A slab is a singular concrete foundation that sits flush on the soil to serve as an alternative to a conventional basement or crawlspace.
Slab foundations are generally only two to three feet thick and are most common in southern states where the warm weather reduces the chances of freezing or cracking damage.
Slab leaks occur when groundwater or plumbing water permeates the concrete. Some potential causes include aging water lines, torrential rain, earthquakes, and pipe corrosion.
How common are slab leaks?
That depends on your home’s location and materials. Areas more prone to ground shifting tend to have a higher risk of slab leaks.
That might include earthquakes, frequent freeze and thaw, or be the result of improper soil preparation before installation.
Antiquated pipes, such as cast iron, galvanized steel, and rigid copper, also increase your risk of slab leaks because they are more vulnerable to wear.
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How to Detect a Slab Leak
Detecting slab leaks requires vigilance. The most significant force working against your home is time, which wears away at pipes and concrete in imperceptible increments.
Keep your eyes peeled for any of the following warning signs:
You don’t need to be a professional plumber to detect a slab leak. All you need to know is where your meter box is and some of the warning signs.
The real question is, “Is leak detection covered by insurance?”
Some homeowners insurance policies cover inspections as a way to incentivize routine maintenance and repairs.
Contact your insurance provider if you’re unsure about what your policy covers.
What’s the Average Cost of a Slab Leak?
The cost of slab leak repair depends on multiple factors. How extensive is the damage? What is the cause?
Is the leak in a contained area, or does it affect the entire slab?
The average slab leak detection service costs $150 to $400.
A professional plumber or concrete contractor can determine the leak origin and take steps to repair the damage.
Experts estimate that the average slab repair costs about $2,000.
For instance, crack repairs cost $250 to $800. Fix these fissures as quickly as possible because they can undercut your foundation's integrity.
If the cracks are expansive enough to warrant repair of the entire slab, expect to pay anywhere from $2,000 to $6,000 for new tiles, sealant, and concrete.
Some contractors also may recommend leveling your foundation if setting or sinking caused the leak.
Leveling restores your slab to an even consistency and negates underlying soil inconsistencies. The method, along with pier installation, costs $1,000 to $3,000.
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Will My Home Insurance Cover Slab Leaks?
Fortunately, you don’t have to pay out of pocket for these expenses—homeowners insurance does cover slab leaks.
Slab leaks are a commonly covered peril along with lightning, wind, fire, and theft.
In fact, two types of homeowners insurance coverage apply to slab leaks: dwelling and personal property coverage.
Dwelling coverage applies to your home's physical structure. That includes any leaks you find in your foundation and surrounding walls.
Note that dwelling insurance doesn't cover other structures. If you have a shed or barn with a slab leak, those fall under a separate category known as coverage B.
Dwelling insurance falls under category A, while personal property coverage slots into coverage C.
Personal property coverage protects your belongings from slab leaks. Your insurance provider will reimburse you for repairing or replacing any lost property.
For instance, you'll receive a check for any furniture damaged by the leak if it is beyond repair.
Note that personal property coverage has limits. Your insurance provider will pay up to a predetermined amount for repairs and replacement.
They also may not cover high-value items, like jewelry, musical instruments, electronics, and artwork.
What your policy in particular covers will depend on your insurance company and policy specifics.
Is There a Way to Prevent a Slab Leak?
If you find any of the warning signs mentioned above, that doesn't guarantee you have a slab leak.
Contact a professional plumber or concrete contractor to inspect your home. Many companies offer free consultations, so you can determine the root cause without paying out of pocket.
They can also perform annual checkups and nip potential problems in the bud.
Preventative maintenance goes a long way in mitigating potential leaks. Use a water softener if you notice scale on dishes or appliances or unusual tasting water.
Avoid using harsh chemical drain cleaners that can corrode pipes, too.
Maintaining proper water pressure reduces the burden and wear on your pipes. You may have excessive water pressure if you notice faucet leaks during laundry or a shower.
Banging or clanking sounds when the water is running is another sign of high water pressure.
Most homeowners insurance policies include a provision covering slab leaks.
Speak with your insurance company or read your policy to determine your coverage limits and whether leak detection is covered.
Don't forget to perform routine maintenance throughout the year to save yourself the time and effort of the claims process.
Have more questions about slab leak insurance coverage?
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