What renters should do when frozen pipes burst in their unit

Published: Dec. 28, 2022 at 7:04 PM CST
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JACKSON, Miss. (WLBT) - We’ve seen the impact that the hard freeze over Christmas weekend had on pipes inside some of your homes.

So, what are homeowners and renters supposed to do when a pipe bursts and causes significant damage?

Well, the situation for homeowners is pretty cut and dry.

If your home suffers damage from a burst pipe, you - the homeowner - is responsible for the repairs, but some things could be covered depending on your homeowner’s policy.

The situation for renters, however, is a little different.

If you walked into your rental unit over Christmas weekend to a pipe burst, you should have already done step 1 - call your landlord.

Ken Myricks, an agent with Affordable Insurance Solutions in Jackson, said it’s crucial to document any damage that your home took on.

“The best way to document any communication is via email - taking pictures and videos of any damage that you have would be the best thing to do.”

Myricks suggested email because it will provide you with timestamps of when you documented the damage.

The next step likely goes without saying but make sure you do anything possible to prevent further damage to your belongings because that’s ultimately what you’re responsible for.

“The landlords have the responsibility of the structure itself, whether it’s a home or an apartment. They are responsible for the pipes if they burst,” Myricks said. “The renter is literally responsible just for his or her contents that would be damaged - their furniture, their clothing, anything of that sort.”

That’s where the next phone call comes in.

After calling your landlord, call the company that’s providing you with renter’s insurance to see how much will be protected.

“Anything that you brought in when you moved in is protected under the renter’s insurance, up to the limits on the policy that you have,” he said.

If you don’t have renter’s insurance...

“Then you are completely at the disposal of your bank account, as far as it comes to replacing your items,” he said.

So, we’ve all heard the best practices for preventing pipe bursts - doing things like leaving your faucets dripping when we experience a hard freeze.

But the best thing you can do is make sure you have renter’s insurance and be familiar with what’s covered under your policy.

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