Burst Pipe Water Damage: 8 Surprising Types of Damage to Watch For

Insurance covers the damage caused by burst pipes, just not the pipes themselves. However, many homeowners are surprised by how much damage a burst pipe can do.

Burst Pipe Water Damage in Home

Burst pipes can leave mold hidden behind your walls, for example, which could have catastrophic outcomes on your home and health.

Having a burst pipe in one area of your home could also mean you have a cracking or leaked pipe in another area.

If you’re dealing with a burst pipe insurance claim, then here are the 8 most surprising types of burst pipe water damage to watch for:

Category 1 Water Damage: Clean Water Damage

A burst pipe could cause clean water damage, which is considered Category 1 damage on the IICRC scale. It can cause water damage throughout your home, but it’s less severe than Category 2 (grey water damage) and Category 3 (black water damage) situations.

Common types and sources of Category 1 water damage include:

  • Appliance issues
  • Broken clean water pipes
  • Burst water supply lines
  • Overflowing sinks and bathtubs

Category 1 water damage is caused by “clean” water because the water is free of toxins and sewage. Unlike grey water (which could have toxins) and black water (which is sewage), clean water is easy to dry with a lower risk of serious health problems.

Category 2 Water Damage: Grey Water Damage

Category 2 water damage comes from grey water. Common sources of grey water damage include toilets, washing machines, or sump pump backups.

Grey water is somewhere between clean water and black water. Some grey water has toxins – like cleaning solutions. Other grey water has biological compounds – like skin cells or hair. Some of these compounds are harmful to humans, while others are not.

Your burst pipe could lead to Category 2 water damage. The burst pipe could spread toxins, chemicals, and biological substances throughout your home, and restoration crews may need to perform additional cleaning to ensure your home is safe.

Category 3 Water Damage: Black Water Damage

Black water damage, or Category 3 water damage, is the most serious type of water damage. Black water is sewage water, and restoration crews need to take immediate action to tackle this damage.

Your home may experience black water damage from burst sewage pipes, toilet backups, or other serious plumbing issues.

Many homes also experience black water damage from local emergencies or natural disasters. Floods and hurricanes, for example, can push black water into your home, causing serious damage.

To remediate black water damage, restoration crews need to extensively clean your property and remove damaged materials. Restoration crews dry your property and disinfect it thoroughly to remove all traces of black water damage.

Damaged Wiring Behind Walls

Water damage can damage your home’s electrical system. If the water leaked behind walls, for example, then it could damage wiring.

Water and electricity don’t mix. When wiring gets wet, it can cause a short circuit, damaging your appliances and even causing a fire.

To fix water-damaged wiring, restoration crews may rip away walls, then let an electrician replace any affected wiring.

Damaged Insulation

Damaged insulation is common when dealing with burst pipe insurance claims and water damage.

Just like water creeps behind walls to damage wiring, it can also creep behind walls to damage insulation. Insulation and water do not mix: insulation quickly becomes waterlogged, and you can’t repair water-damaged insulation. Water compromises the structural integrity of insulation. Regardless of whether you have cellulose, loose fill, or fiberglass insulation, they all lose their effectiveness when they contact water.

To fix water-damaged insulation, restoration crews cut away damaged walls, then rip out and replace any insulation.

Rotted Structural Materials

A single burst pipe could impact the structural integrity of your home. Water damage can seep through your home, impacting critical structures. When left ignored, this damage could increase the risk of a home collapse or other serious incident.

Your burst pipe could spread water damage to wooden support beams and sub-floors, for example. If this water damage isn’t spotted and dried early, it can cause rotting. As these critical support systems rot, it impacts the structural integrity of your home.

This is one of many reasons why fast action is crucial when dealing with water damage. The sooner you contact an insurer and a restoration company, the better chance you have of avoiding costly damage to your home’s structure.


Burst pipes can lead to mold damage. If your burst pipe is left undetected, then it increases the risk of mold damage.

Even if you spot a burst pipe quickly, water can seep throughout your home to cause mold damage.

Restoration crews work quickly to remove water-damaged material on which mold can grow. However, even top restoration crews can miss an area, which could have serious consequences on your home’s future health and integrity.

Some of the places mold can grow after a burst pipe include:

  • Inside air ducts
  • Behind walls
  • In any water-soaked materials, including carpeting
  • Throughout your home’s HVAC system

Every time you turn on your home’s heating or air conditioning system, it can push mold spores throughout your home. Even if the burst pipe only affected one part of your home, mold can quickly spread to other parts of your home as well.

Damage Not Covered by Insurance

Some of the most surprising burst pipe insurance damage is the damage not covered by insurance.

Yes, insurance covers a standard burst pipe incident. However, insurance does not cover certain types of burst pipe-related damage, including damage in the following categories:

Damage from Poor Maintenance: If your burst pipe occurred because of maintenance issues or wear and tear, then insurance could deny your claim. As a homeowner and policyholder, you have a responsibility to maintain your home in proper condition. If you let your home’s plumbing system degrade over time, leading to a burst pipe, then insurance could deny the resulting damage.

Damage from Outside Sewers or Drains: A traditional home insurance policy does not cover water that backs into your home – say, through an outside sewer or drain. However, some homeowners add water backup coverage to their policy to cover this type of damage.

Flood Damage: A standard home insurance policy does not cover flooding or flood damage. If your water damage occurred due to flooding, then your insurer may deny your claim.

Contact a Public Adjuster to Maximize Water Damage Compensation

A good public adjuster can help you obtain the highest possible amount of compensation for your water damage insurance claim.

Public adjusters have decades of experience tackling tricky burst pipe water damage insurance claims. They know how to spot hidden damage behind your walls, negotiate with your insurer for maximum compensation, and ensure policyholders get every penny they deserve.

Contact ClaimsMate today to speak with an expert public adjuster who can solve your burst pipe insurance claim problem.

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