Has your insurance company denied your claim for damage caused by a leaking pipe? Has your insurance company tried to tell you that there is only $10,000.00 coverage and you have to come up with the rest of the money to fix your home? If your home requires a re-pipe, this could be a very costly repair. Don’t just believe what the insurance company tells you. Get a free claims review. Depending on your policy language, you may have coverage that is not limited to $10,000.00 and the insurance company should pay to fix your home.
Older homes with lead or copper pipes can develop problems in the form of leaks. There are several facts that cause water pipe corrosion. The first is galvanic corrosion caused by joining two different types of metal pipe together. This causes a small electrical current to flow from one type of pipe to the other. This can be prevented by installing a dielectric union but oftentimes they are not used in order to save money. The second type of corrosion is caused by dissolved gases and chemicals. High levels of oxygen, carbon dioxide, chlorine and even fluoride can corrode metal pipes causing pinhole leaks. The third type of corrosion is low pH levels. Corrosion can start in copper pipes when the water is below 7.0 pH. This can be an issue for well users. A fourth cause of corrosion can be low alkalinity which can expose pipes to higher levels of acids causing leaks. A fifth cause can be due to low total dissolved solids. If your water has a low dissolved mineral content, that water can pull minerals from metal pipes causing the pipe to become weak. The sixth cause of corrosion is high temperature combined with a fast rate of flow. Hot water moving fast through a pipe can cause the pipe to break down faster. Finally, microbes can corrode piping as well.
As to whether or not your insurance policy will cover the damage due to a pipe leak depends on the language. Policies typically will cover a sudden and accidental loss. Policies however typically try to exclude losses that happen over time with the following language:
Constant Or Repeated Seepage or Leakage of water or steam, or the presence or condensation of humidity, moisture or vapor; which occurs over a period of
14 or more days, whether hidden or not.
Your policy may also have the following language:
(9) Constant or repeated seepage or leakage of water or the presence or condensation of humidity, moisture or vapor, over a period of weeks, months or years; unless
(a) Such seepage or leakage of water or the presence or condensation of humidity, moisture or vapor and the resulting damage is unknown to all insureds, and
(b) is hidden within the walls or ceilings or beneath the floors or above the ceilings of a structure.
It is important to read your policy language because not all policies are the same. Most policies won’t provide coverage in general if the leak has been happening for weeks, months or years. However, if the leak was recently discovered and appears to be recent, you likely have coverage. Also, if the leak is hidden and as soon as you notice it you call in a claim, it will likely be covered. An example of this would be if you had a leaking pipe behind a wall and you don’t notice that there is a leak until the water starts to stain the drywall or a puddle forms on the floor for no reason. This same coverage would likely be extended for leaks behind or under appliances, or above ceilings where you can’t see. Some policies provide that the pipe damage itself may not be covered but the resulting damage caused by the leak may be covered.
There are several signs to determine if you have a pipe burst in your home. If you hear bubbling, whistling or banging and clanking when you use the sink or flush the toilet it could be an indication of a broken pipe. If the water from your pipes has an unpleasant smell, it could be an indication that the pipes are corroded. If you have bulging or discoloration of the drywall or ceiling, it could be an indication of a burst pipe. If you have wood or laminate flooring and the floor starts to turn black or buckle, this could also be an indication. Also if your water bill suddenly spikes but you have been using the same amount of water as usual, this could be a sign as well. Little or no water pressure when using the dishwasher, washing machine or running the faucet could also be a sign.
Many homes have pipes that run in the slab of the home. If you have a pipe leak that caused damage to the home, many times the cost to tear out and replace the slab around the pipe will be covered. It depends on the policy language as to whether or not the actual cost to replace the plumbing system will be covered.
If you have a pipe burst, that pipe burst caused damage to the home and the insurance company has denied your claim, let Christopher Ligori & Associates review your claim and policy for free. We can determine if we believe you have a case and if the denial of your claim was correct. If there is coverage, depending on the wording of your policy, there may be coverage for the full repair or at least the cost of exposing the pipe so that the repair can be completed. If your insurance company claims that you only have $10,000.00 worth of coverage, this also may not be correct. Don’t just assume that the insurance company is telling you the truth. Find out your rights and responsibilities and then make an informed decision. Call us at Christopher Ligori & Associates and let us review your claim for free.