When we talk about irrigation systems for homes, it usually means a set of sprinklers used for watering the lawn or garden. Besides the use of sprinklers, another method of watering the lawn is drip irrigation which also falls under the category of home irrigation systems. Since a home irrigation system consists of a lot of parts and can be expensive, it also raises a question about whether such systems are protected by the homeowner's insurance or not!
If we look at any typical homeowners insurance, you will notice that the policy offers protection from a lot of different hazards such as extreme weather, theft, fire damage, vandalism, and so on. Although some perils are very straightforward and are properly covered, there are some types that aren't so straightforward!
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Irrigation System?
When we talk about home irrigation systems, it includes the plumbing parts, pump, sprinklers, and even the parts which control the automatic function of the sprinklers. So in that sense, we can say that there are two types of damage that can occur in an irrigation system: Electrical damage and water damage.
According to an estimate, around 2% of people claim water damage every single year, but only a small portion is reimbursed for the losses resulting from the water damage. This goes to show that claiming reimbursement for the water damage isn't as easy as it may seem...
If we look at the irrigation system, there are a lot of things that can break down, such as water hoses, irrigation system hoses, pumps, and so on. And one of the leading reasons which can cause some serious damage to the home irrigation system is failing to winterize it! If you fail or forget to drain water from the plumbing, the residual water will freeze and expand, thus damaging or even bursting the pipes. As a result, burst pipes can lead to a ruined home irrigation system which can even cause water damage!
As you can see, there are a lot of things at play when it comes to the topic of discussing whether normal home insurance covers irrigation systems or not. For starters, any type of water damage resulting from burst pipes is normally covered by the home insurance policy. But if you fail to properly winterize your exterior plumbing as well as the irrigation system, then it will fall under the category of homeowner negligence! In this case, there will be no coverage, and the homeowner will have to pay for the repairs or even a new irrigation system by themselves!
So to put it short, a properly maintained irrigation system will be covered by the homeowner insurance. But if the homeowner is not proactive and doesn't take the required steps to properly maintain and safeguard the irrigation system, then it will not be covered!
Different Types of Damages That Can Occur In an Irrigation System
As mentioned earlier, routine checks/maintenance is very important for the irrigation system (including the sprinkler systems). Failing to do so can lead to serious damage to the irrigation system and even property damage. If the damage is being done due to the negligence of the homeowners, then the damage will not be covered at all. In other cases, the damage may only be covered partially, which is also not a good outcome.
Earlier, I mentioned that two types of problems could arise in an irrigation system:
- Electrical Damage
- Water Damage
In general, damaged electrical wiring is usually covered by insurance. However, the type of wiring, as well as the age of your home, can also impact the extent to which your house will be covered and even the insurance rate! When it comes to electrical wiring, an old one will be at more risk of a fire hazard than the one which was recently installed. So if the damage is related to the electrical wiring, then it will be covered.
Now, let's talk about the irrigation wells, which are used as a water source for sprinkler systems and even for other uses. In general, well pumps are usually protected by an insurance policy, and if they stop working, you will be covered. However, once again, the reason which leads to the breakdown of the irrigation well pump will be equally important.
If your irrigation well pump broke down due to a reason which is common and covered by the homeowner's insurance, then you will be protected. But if the reason for the breakdown of the irrigation well pump is due to neglect or wear and tear, then you will not be covered at all. This means that if the insurance company decides that the damage to the irrigation well pump is due to the owner's fault/negligence or just wear and tear, then you will have to pay for the repairs out of your own pocket!
How to Protect Your Irrigation System from Damage
Available data suggest that it can cost anywhere from around $1500 up to $4000 on average to get an irrigation system for your home. This means that one should be proactive about protecting the irrigation system from damage - Failing to do so can lead to costly repairs and may even warrant buying new & expensive parts.
Furthermore, well pumps and plumbing parts that are damaged by the owner's neglect or failure to upkeep are not covered or only partially covered by the insurance companies!
That's why it is also important to protect your irrigation system from damage in the first place. But how can one protect their irrigation system from damage? Let's have a look:
Winterize Your Irrigation System
The best way to protect your home from water damage and to protect your irrigation system is to winterize it. During the winter season, the temperature can drop below the freezing point. We all know that water changes its form from liquid to solid (ice) once it reaches the freezing point.
The transformation of water into ice is a natural phenomenon, and there is nothing wrong with it. But if that water is present in your pipes and the overall irrigation system and it freezes, it can lead to some serious damage! For starters, it can cause your pipes to burst, and leaking pipes can cause damage to your entire home!
The best solution to solve all of these problems lies in winterization. The process of winterizing your irrigation system involves the removal of any residual water from the pipes and other components of the irrigation system.
Furthermore, all the parts of the irrigation system which are above the ground must be protected from extreme cold as well. The best way to protect these above-ground parts is to use different insulation products on exposed pipes and backflow prevention devices.
During the process of winterizing your irrigation system, remember not to cover any of the drain outlets or the air vents!
Protection of Irrigation Well Pumps
Now let's talk about how one can protect their irrigation well pumps from the damage:
- You can also buy insulation covers for your well pump to protect it from extreme weather conditions.
- Avoid overuse of the irrigation well pumps as continuous running can also damage the electrical components.
- If the electrical wiring which powers up your irrigation well pump is old or faulty, consider replacing it with a new one.
- Check if the irrigation well pump as well the entire irrigation system have surge protection or not. If your system doesn't have surge protection or you are not sure about its status, talk to your electrician.
- Remember to prime your well pumps on a routine basis - A well pump that continues to run without water can cause the motor to burn or experience some serious damage!
As you can see, the home irrigation systems are only protected by the homeowner's insurance up to a certain extent. And we all know that insurance companies will try their best to come up with excuses to not pay for the claims! That's why it is best to be proactive to prevent any damage to the irrigation system from happening in the first place. This way, you can save yourself the hassle of dealing with insurance companies!
Furthermore, proper maintenance of the irrigation system doesn't take much time or money as well. As long as you follow the general guidelines for the protection of your system, it will continue to run for a long time while also keeping your lawn or garden green!