Water stains. Warped floor boards. Sewage fumes. Clogs, backups, or slow drains. Roaches even.
If your Florida home was built before 1975, these symptoms may be the telltale signs of corroded iron pipes. Because of the iron content, these pipes are susceptible to rust, causing leaking, cracking, and even burst pipes. Some estimates suggest that up to 76 million homeowners nationwide have a slow sewage leak that may have gone undetected. Because pipes are hidden, the signs only appear after the damage has spread. Once that damage is done, your only recourse is costly and invasive repairs.
The repairs involve tearing out all of the old piping and installing modern replacements. Pipes can run through walls, under flooring and into the basement or crawlspace. Plenty of surfaces and interiors are involved, which means the bills really start to add up. If vermin such as cockroaches or rats have been attracted to the sewage, you may also need to call an exterminator.
What about Insurance?
Most insurance policies in Florida should cover the damage caused by cast iron plumbing problems. In fact, they should cover the cost of replacing all of the house’s iron pipes. But, even so, the insurance company may very well deny your insurance claim or cover a fraction of the repair costs.
Why would that be? There are two common reasons: timeliness and apparent damage. It’s important to file your claim as soon as the water damage becomes visible, which usually means within the first 72 hours. Otherwise, insurance companies might deny on grounds that regular upkeep was not performed on the house.
The other reason you might receive less than the cost of repairs is that the insurance company may only want to pay what is obviously damaged. But replacing only the cracked or burst pipe is like putting a finger in the dam. Other pipes will fail sooner or later, more than likely sooner if you’ve already seen major issues. The insurance company may send an inspector to your home to assess the damage. Remember that you can also call in your own experts for estimates, which may help if you need to take legal action.
When Is It Time To Call a Lawyer?
You most likely have a case if you meet the following criteria:
- You are a Florida resident.
- Your house was built before 1975, and you’ve filed a water damage claim that was denied or lowballed in the past.
- Your house was built before 1975 and you see evidence of water damage, but you have yet to file a claim.
Don’t get saddled with costly repairs covered under your homeowner’s policy. When you need help navigating your cast iron plumbing problems, call Pazos Law Group. We’ll help you if your insurance company won’t.