The Cast Iron Pipe Problem
If you live in a home that was built before 1975, the chances are your plumbing system consists of cast iron pipes. Over time cast iron pipes corrode compromising their structural integrity and could end up causing a complete plumbing failure. The phrase ”the ticking time bomb under your home” comes to mind with some 2 million homes in Florida in its cross hairs.
What is a Cast Iron Pipe and how to know if you have a issue
Cast iron pipes are a type of pipes that are have been in use for plumbing since the mid 17th century. Pre 1975 these were the pipes that were used to run sewage to the septic tank or the main sewer line. Iron tends to erode and rust overtime and will eventually fail. Unfortunately, this is becoming commonplace in older South Florida homes and affected homeowners need to be smart and alert in order to get through this most unfortunate situation.
If you’ve ever heard gurgling after a load of laundry or long shower, you might be hearing the early warning signs. Also, if a toilet seems to be flushing slower than it used to or needs multiple flushes or, take note. An increase in roach sightings and general random bad smells can also signal trouble. A backup is a more severe sign and one you just don’t want to throw Drano at and forget. It is better to get a professional out to take a look early and deal with this head on. Here’s why.
As you might expect, as more homes are found with this issue, insurance companies are doing what they can to try and not cover it and are re-writing new policies to exclude coverage of this very problem. The longer you wait, the more likely your policy may be changed and you could be left with a unexpected repair bill.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Cast Iron Pipes?
As a general rule of thumb your insurance carrier wont cover the cause of the damage for example, if your water heater leaks and floods out your home your insurance wont pay for the water heater however they should be covering the cost of the build back or repairs.
When you have a cast iron plumbing system failure your insurance wont be covering the actual repair to the pipes rather they should be covering the access and all the build back that is associated with it.
In order to fix a cast iron pipe a plumber would have to trench through your home along the entire length of the pipe in order to remove it. The subsequent damage can run in the tens of thousands of dollars and this is what we as public adjusters would hold the insurance carrier accountable to.
However, insurance companies are notorious for giving lower reimbursements for cast iron claims, so be very careful. Sometimes the insurance company can take years to pay you your claim. They can even deny a claim completely, even though the policy technically covers it.
There are policies now that are excluding cast iron coverage, so make sure you understand your policy. To top it off many policy rates are increasing, and providing minimal stop-gap coverage. Always have a public adjuster or other insurance expert explain to you your policy and your coverage before you start a claim.
Filing a cast iron insurance claim can be one of the more complicated claims to file and the ensuing damages are normally complicated and extensive. Insurance claims are becoming more and more complicated as time goes on, most of the time the burden lands on you the homeowner to build and convince the insurance carrier that you have a covered claim. As Public Insurance Adjusters we understand policy and can help you through the claims process. It always pays to have an experienced advocate on your side.