A friend of mine called me a couple of weeks ago. She and her husband recently bought their first home together in east Dallas and are remodeling it. They smelled gas and called Atmos Energy who discovered a leak in the gas line between the meter and their home. She wanted to know whether her home insurance policy covered the repair of the gas line.
This was the first time I’d been asked about whether or not a person’s home policy covers a leak in the gas line. Usually the question involves whether a water line with a leak between the meter and home is covered. Let’s examine how most Texas home insurance policies will respond in either case.
Leak Repair: Most home policies address repairing the damage caused by a leak. In the case of a water leak, this may include damage to floors, sheetrock, the foundation (if optional foundation coverage has been purchased), etc. Some policies don’t pay for the repair of the leaking water pipe. They view this as a maintenance issue, and it’s the homeowner’s responsibility to maintain their home therefore they are responsible for the water line repair. In other cases, there are some policies which will actually pay to repair the line in addition to the damage the leak causes.
The biggest concern about a leaking gas line is if it causes a fire. Whether the home policy covers the gas line or not, had my friend’s home caught on fire, their policy would have covered the fire damage. It didn’t cover the repair of the leaking gas line though. They had to pay for that themselves.
No Man’s Land: One of the things most policyholder’s aren’t aware of though is that very few policies cover gas or water lines between the home and the gas or water meter. The utility companies are responsible for any leak that happens on their side of the meter, but not between the home and the meter. It’s possible, though unusual for a leak in the yard between the meters and home to cause much if any damage, so most insurance companies don’t include coverage for this. The reasoning is a leaking gas or water line is a “maintenance” item and the homeowner is responsible for maintenance related items.
I have not discovered a home policy that covers a leak in either the gas or water line located between the meter and the home. There are some home warranty policies or services who provide coverage for a water leak in an exterior water line, but I’ve not discovered anyone yet who provides this service for a gas line.
My friend’s gas line was beyond repair, it needed to be replaced. The cost to replace the line was over $2,000. For anyone living in an older home, I’d recommend setting aside money in savings to cover an incident like this or finding a service that covers this. If you do find a service that covers the gas line, let me know so I can share it with our clients. You can share it with me along with your questions, comments, and experiences on our Google +, Facebook, and LinkedIn pages. I’d love to hear from you!