Ask an Expert


We have a situation with a leak under the driveway within a residential property.

Under the home definition the driveway is included as long as it is within residential boundaries. The client has a leak coming from the pipes installed under the driveway which is within the residential boundaries.

Hidden gradual damage benefit is as per policy wordings below:

Hidden gradual damage 

Hidden rot, hidden mildew or hidden gradual deterioration, caused by water leaking from any internal:

•     tank that is plumbed into the water reticulation system of the home and is permanently used to store water, or

•     water pipe, or

•     waste disposal pipe, installed at the home

Would the pipes installed under the driveway can be considered "internal"?

Reply:  Crossley Gates

That is a tricky one as most people would not consider a pipe running under a driveway as “internal”. However, applying the definition of “home”, which includes structures within the boundary, the pipe in the soil under the driveway could be argued to be internal to the driveway. Note that the pipe itself will likely also be part of the home as the definition usually includes underground utilities.

Please note also that the only likely alternative for the definition of hidden gradual damage is hidden gradual deterioration. Did the pipe gradually deteriorate or did it suffer sudden impact? What about the driveway? Did it suddenly crack? Is so that is not gradual damage.

March 2020

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