Damages from broken pipes may be covered by home insurance

NEW ORLEANS, LA (WVUE) - Many homeowners scramble to get their broken pipes fixed from the freeze.

Phones are ringing off the hook for plumbing company Pipes "R" Us.

"They went from freezing pipes, to now they're leaking everywhere," Pipes "R" Us Owner Danny Griffin said.

For those who don't have money set aside for their pipes, Griffin said they focus on making emergency repairs first.

"What we're trying to do is just get you some cold back on so you can figure out how to fix everything else. At least we're trying to get you some running water in your house for as minimal as possible," Griffin said.

During these desperate times, Griffin warns people to keep an eye out for scammers.

"I had a customer call me this morning. He went to Home Depot last night to get some parts to try to fix it himself. They had a guy just standing in the aisle in the plumbing department saying 'Hey man, I can come to your house for three or 400 dollars and get you taken care of,'" Griffin said.

Griffin says a legitimate plumber is licensed, insured and would inspect the pipes before giving an estimate.

With home insurance, damages from a broken pipe could be covered. However, local insurance agent Kirk Koster says you most likely won't be covered if the building is vacant.

"There's no heat being maintained. Therefore the water, the pipes freeze much easier," Koster said.

He says the standard deductible is $2,500, so homeowners want to check how bad the damages are.

"First thing to do is actually get that water stopped. Find your main in the house, turn that main off, so the water won't keep spilling out of the pipe, but also to take the photos associated with it and document where it's pouring," Koster said.

Koster said taking pictures of the damages will make it easier for the claims adjustor to identify where the break is.

As for now, plumbers will stay busy.

"We're working. We worked last night until 10:00, we'll be working again tonight until 10:00, we'll keep on working this Saturday, Sunday. They need to get their water back on," Koster said.

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