It’s always difficult to give definitive answers when discussing matters of insurance coverage because so much depends on the specific language of your policy and the cause of your claim. At any rate, there are two issues at hand when you’re talking about burst pipes: 1) whether the insurer covers the pipes themselves and 2) whether they cover any resulting water damage.
Standard home insurance policies will generally pay for water damage that occurs as a result of a pipe within your house bursting. Whether or not they pay for replacing the pipe itself depends on whether the break occurred as a result of “sudden and unexpected” damage or some fault of your own (e.g. lack of proper maintenance or leaving your house unheated during the winter).
This also holds true if, for example, your washer leaks water into your basement. In most cases, the insurer will cover the water damage, but you’ll likely have to pay for the washer’s replacement parts. However, if it’s clear that the washer broke because of some fault of your own, you may be on the hook for everything.
Now, there are a few things for which you are hardly ever covered by a standard homeowner’s insurance policy, which means you might have to get more specialized supplemental coverage, like flood insurance, in order to garner the proper protection:
• Water damage resulting from a sewer backup
• Seepage from the ground into your home
• Flooding from a body of water (e.g. nearby stream, lake or ocean)
• Water damage done to your lawn
Finally, remember that water damage and flooding are very different in the minds of insurance agents, so if you are reporting flooding due to a burst pipe, do not actually use the word “flooding” to describe it. In addition, avoid reporting damage that you know is not covered by your policy because your insurance company may document it and it may look like a claim to insurance companies you work with in the future.