Does a home warranty cover plumbing?

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Nazar Ryback/iStockphoto
Nazar Ryback/iStockphoto

Your plumbing system is vital for your home’s functionality. But parts will inevitably break with routine use. When plumbing issues crop up, you’ll want to avoid the unwelcome costs of the emergency service bill and buying replacement parts. That’s why homeowners and renters often ask, “Does a home warranty cover plumbing?”

In short, yes — a home warranty can ease the financial burden by covering repairs and replacements for many plumbing components. Let’s find out what it does (and does not) cover, how it differs from home insurance and whether it’s worth having.

Home warranties cover normal wear breakdowns over time. Most providers offer tiered plans focused on either appliances, major home systems or a combined option with available add-ons.

Reputable home warranties typically offer coverage options that include essential plumbing fixtures. Still, the specific plumbing parts covered and excluded can vary across home warranty companies and tiers. And you still need to do your part to care for your plumbing systems. Maintaining pipes and fixtures makes them last longer and lowers the chances of denied claims arising from abuse or negligence issues.

What plumbing issues are covered by a home warranty?

Standard home warranty plans cover common plumbing issues that result from regular use, such as:

  • Clogs in drain lines or fixtures

  • Complete water heater failures

  • Leaks from pipes or plumbing components like faucets or showerheads

  • Malfunctions in toilets

More comprehensive plans may address a broader range of plumbing repair and replacement needs, such as:

  • Septic tanks

  • Well pumps

  • Sump pumps

What plumbing issues aren’t covered by a home warranty?

Some plumbing problems that standard home warranty plans won’t cover include:

  • Clogs resulting from roots, corrosion or tenant negligence

  • Leaks or damage from freezing temperatures, natural disasters or power surges

  • Problems with plumbing system parts like toilet lids

  • Sewer line backups or underground piping

  • Updates to meet building or plumbing codes

  • Sediment buildup in water filtration systems

It’s worth noting that home warranties don’t address preexisting damage or issues from tenant negligence. Master plumber and co-owner of Service Force Plumbing, Hendrik Vandepoll, advises that homeowners and renters know what not to do with their plumbing systems. He explains, “Home warranties often won’t cover problems you caused. For example, if your clogged sewer happened because you poured grease or dumped coffee grounds down the garbage disposal, your warranty may not cover the repair.”

What factors influence home warranty costs for plumbing?

On average, a systems home warranty costs around $600 annually. Several key factors determine the cost of your home warranty plumbing coverage:

  • Coverage tier: Higher tiers allow larger reimbursements per plumbing issue.

  • Service fees: Expect to pay a $60 to $150 trade call fee whenever you need a plumber to come out and assess your issue(s).

  • Your location: Coverage costs more in areas with older pipes or extreme weather-stressing systems.

Without a home warranty, plumbing repair and replacement costs vary depending on factors like labor costs, your home’s size and project complexity.

Instead of paying a small trade call fee with a home warranty policy, you could be looking at the following cost estimates for plumbing repairs and replacements:

Plumbing repair and replacement cost estimates

Home warranty vs. home insurance for plumbing issues

Plumbing issues fall under either home warranty or home insurance. Here’s a glance at what each handles (and doesn’t handle):

Coverage for common plumbing issues

Adrian Pedraza, owner of Southern California home-buying company The California Homebuyer, sums up the difference well. He explains that home warranties “cover wear and tear issues that your home insurance won’t touch,” while home insurance takes care of significant water damage from plumbing failures. He suggests having both a home warranty and home insurance policy if you want comprehensive coverage.

What to do when your home warranty doesn’t cover plumbing

Even the best home warranty plans have coverage limitations on plumbing issues. So, what should you do when faced with an excluded problem? Jason Brady, CEO of AC, electrical & plumbing repair company, Above and Beyond, advises these six steps:

  • Review your entire home warranty policy documentation to confirm the exclusions. Ensure the plumbing issue falls outside of coverage.

  • Contact the warranty provider to appeal their decision if the problem falls under the coverage based on your understanding of the contract.

  • Contact licensed plumbers to schedule assessments and get quotes on the necessary repairs or replacements.

  • Explore payment plan options to make the expense more manageable for your budget.

  • Consider financing the costs via a home improvement loan or a line of credit if the repair fee is steep.

  • Look for resources or financial assistance for necessary home repairs. These are available in some communities, especially for low-income families or senior citizens.

Is home warranty plumbing coverage worth it?

Whether home warranty coverage makes sense depends on your situation. According to Vandepoll, after more than 20 years working in the plumbing industry, “The most important thing when buying a home warranty is to choose a reputable company, even if it costs more.” Top-quality providers aim to resolve issues quickly so you can live comfortably. Meanwhile, lower-quality providers may find reasons to draw out or deny claims.

A home warranty can be worthwhile for older, failure-prone plumbing if you invest in a reliable provider. The potential costs from failures like a broken water heater far outweigh the yearly warranty fees. However, new construction and short-term rentals may benefit more from direct preventative care rather than selective warranty coverage.


  • Peace of mind

  • Covers older appliances

  • Multiple coverage plans to choose from

  • Can make a home more attractive on the market (if selling)


  • Possibly more coverage than you need

  • May not always cover renters

  • Can exclude some repairs

  • May be limited to certain repair companies

Bottom line

For homeowners with pipes prone to leaks or failures, the right home warranty can save thousands each year. But even decent plans can miss covering common and costly issues that arise.

So, find out what’s actually included and excluded before committing to a home warranty. Factor in your risk, lease term (if renting), budget and policy gaps to make an informed choice. With due diligence upfront, warranties can provide critical safeguards against plumbing disasters down the road.

Frequently asked questions (FAQs)

Note: The prices above reflect the retailers' listed price at the time of publication.

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