Does My Homeowners Insurance Cover My Broken Drain line?

South Florida Cast Iron Pipe Failure

Many homeowners contact our office wanting to know whether their insurance policy covers the damages caused by failed drain lines. The cost of repairing the damages caused by failed or failing drain lines could add up to tens of thousands of dollars. In Florida, drain line failures are becoming more common today due to how drain lines were installed in the past. Prior to 1975, most homes built in Florida were constructed with plumbing systems made of cast iron pipes. Cast iron pipes traditionally have been known to last as long as 50-100 years, however, deterioration is known to begin roughly around 25 years post-construction. Although cast iron pipes were a great choice for many parts of the country, due to the acidic nature of the soil in Florida, cast iron drain lines are failing at an alarming rate. Therefore, if you live in a home with cast iron pipes, and those pipes have never been replaced, it might be a good idea to get an opinion from a licensed professional plumber about the condition of your pipes.

What are some common signs that you have a problem with your cast-iron pipes?

  • Frequent back-ups from your plumbing system
  • Slow-draining sinks and bathtubs
  • Roaches or drain flies
  • Foul odors coming from your drains
  • Clogging toilets

It is important to know that all plumbing systems experience wear and tear over time, however, pipes made of cast iron are especially vulnerable to deterioration just 20-25 years after the pipes are installed. It is estimated that about 76 million homes in America have cast iron pipes that must be replaced or the homes risk serious plumbing problems in the near future. In different cities in Florida like Miami, Ft. Lauderdale, Boca Raton and others, it’s estimated that 2.5 million Florida homes may be affected by early cast iron pipe failure.[1]

How does this effect your homeowner’s insurance policy?

Insurance companies have teams of insurance adjusters and lawyers dedicated to writing the insurance policies that they sell to you, the homeowner. Beware of the fine print. It is important to note that most homeowners do not know that they have an issue with their cast iron plumbing system until it is too late. You the homeowner usually have no idea that you have a plumbing problem until a massive sewage back up causes water damage to your bathrooms, kitchen or bedrooms.

So, what is the homeowner insurance industry doing about this and the costly nightmare that is water damage and sewage back-up? Well, insurance companies have recently begun placing $10,000.00 limitations on plumbing losses. This means that if you have any kind of plumbing leak, whether a drain line back up or simple plumbing leak, you the homeowner, in a best-case scenario­ will only be compensated $10,000.00 minus your deductible. So, you the homeowner, would have to come out of pocket not only for your policy’s deductible but also for the costs of the repairs to your home caused by the water damage.

What can you do to protect your home?

Read your policy carefully. The limitations on coverage, and the exceptions and exclusions to coverage are purposefully buried deep within your policy. We at Barnard Law Offices have the experience in reviewing your policy in order to determine what you’re covered. Please feel free to contact us for a free consultation to go over your homeowner’s insurance policy. It is important to note that just because you have a homeowners policy that states you’re covered for hundreds of thousands of dollars worth of damage to your home, because of the fine print in your policy, you may barely be covered for the types of damages most likely to occur to your home.

 

[1] https://www.consumernotice.org/products/home-safety/cast-iron-pipes/

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Michael is a trial attorney with a focus on property insurance. Michael's primary focus and passion is rooted in representing individuals that feel they have been wronged and treated unfairly. Michael can be contacted directly via email at me@barnardlawoffices.com.

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