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Do you know what your drain line looks like?
Probably not, but the journey to the answer might begin with this question: “honey, what’s that smell coming from?” Hopefully, it’s not your toilet backing up due to an issue with the cast iron drain line. That would stink. Cast iron pipes are a growing concern here in South Florida. Here’s why: many houses built prior to 1975 have cast iron pipes that are now approaching the end of their lifespan. Over time, the cast iron drain pipe may deteriorate, turn brittle, become easily penetrated by tree roots, etc. This could lead to the following symptoms:
- Drain or toilet backups
- Drain or toilet overflows
- Poor drainage
- Sewage odor
- Presence of mold
- Extra green and lush patches of grass
- Caving in pavers/lawn
- Cracks in the flooring and/or walls
- Rodent/inspect infestation
So you think you might have problematic cast iron pipes? Needless to say, homeowners insurance companies are not exactly enthusiastic about paying cast iron pipe claims. Actually, and this is partly based on our experience as former insurance company attorneys, insurance companies are allergic to your rusty, brittle, damaged, root-intruded cast iron drain pipes. Probably because the ENTIRE cast iron drain line often needs to be replaced (i.e. expensive), not just that particular section of the problematic cast iron pipe.
Is replacing the cast iron drain pipe covered by my homeowners insurance? The verdict is…it depends. Generally, policies cover the costs for removing and replacing the problematic cast iron drain line if you have triggering damage within the home and that damage is related to the problematic cast iron pipe. Whether your homeowners insurance will pay what you are entitled to is a question you likely already have the answer to.
If you intend to report a cast iron pipe claim to your insurer or have already reported a claim, have your own plumber ready, willing, and available to inspect and provide a report on the condition of your cast iron pipes. If you had to “snake” the plumbing lines, make sure you also have someone video the line rather than rely solely on the insurance company’s friendly plumber.
Additionally, document any and all damages, even stains to baseboards or vanities that may be related to the cast iron pipe backup and overflow. Remember, generally there must be triggering damage for policies to provide coverage. If your insurer has already denied your claim, don’t take no for an answer. Consult a professional and have the denial letter reviewed.
|Whoever said money isn’t everything didn’t have a cast iron drain line claim that was wrongfully underpaid. We recently recovered $90,000.00 in a lawsuit involving a cast iron pipe claim that was wrongfully underpaid. The insurance company initially only paid $4,000.00 after investigating. According to their plumber, the portion of the cast iron pipe that caused the overflow and stain to the baseboard (triggering damage) was on the outside (of course, right?) under the driveway pavers, not underneath the home itself.|