Does home owner's insurance cover pipe damage?

I have a single story home with a monolithic concrete slab and my sewer line below the slab is in need of repair due to a crack, sand piles in as laundry water is discharged through the line at a rapid rate and caused partial blockage. The problem has been confirmed by a video of the line.
The drain service company recommended to trench a tunnel from the outside to get to the pipe and repair it. Their estimate is:
$200 of digging per feet + $1000 actual pipe repair
They figured they will need to dig 7 feet from ground (a few feet to clear the footing, four more for a person to crawl through), then five feet over, then whatever length to expose the broken pipe section etc...could add up to 18 or 20 feet. That puts the total cost at $3000.
Another utility contractor looked at it and gave another estimate. He suggested to break a hole in my kitchen above the broken section. Open up a hole 48" x 36" through the 8" concrete slab. His charge will be $1800 to break the slab, plus $1000 for the repair of the pipe, then he will leave. It is then up to me to find someone to repour the slab, redo the tile (I have no replacement tiles) and redo the kitchen cabinets (the spot is below the cabinet). This is more expensive.
Regardless of the approach I take, they both told me my home owner policy (Florida) should cover it. It does not cover the actual repair, but it should cover the "access" to the repair. So may be the $1000 of repair is not covered, but the $2000 of tunneling will be. But I was told it depends on how you describe the problem to the adjuster.
I called the insurance company and the adajuster called back. I explained the problem to them and was told nothing is covered unless there is actual damage to the property. For example, if the pipe burst caused the carpet to be ruined, they will cover it. If it caused walls to be moist they will cover it. I told the adjuster over the phone that I know the pipe is seeping water and that could be flooding the slab from below and eventually popping my tiles out it's just a matter of time. I also told them the sand is being drawn in through the crack and is piling up downstream, this could cause an erosion of soil below my slab and my house can sink because of it (may be a little exaggerated). They said they will send someone out to see. Does anyone has experience on this that can advise whether there is any way this can be covered? Is it really how you technically state the problem? Any comments will be appreciated.
O
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------------- Your adjuster is correct. In standard policies, nothing is covered unless actual damage occurs. If damage is imminent, as you claimed, then the adjuster is doing the right thing by sending out someone to see. If the inspector determines there is damage imminent, and it's cheaper for the insurance company to pay for the repair now, rather than wait for a larger claim later, you'll probably be covered for the repair. Not all insurance companies will operate in that logical a manner though, so YMMV.
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Didn't you dig a hole yet? Did your adjustor tell you weather they would pay for any damage incurred to fix the pipe? You might be looking at it from the wrong end if you are trying to get it covered by insurance. I bet they will pay to repair the damage you do by tearing out the kitchen cabinets and jack-hammering a hole in your kitchen floor. My sister-in-law's insurance did in Jacksonville. Only it was her hot water line and not the drain. She ended up repiping the whole house through the attic. If you want to see pictures of the kitchen e-mail me out of group. My e-mail address is good, just take out the BUG.
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Thanks very much for the comment. Is there anything I should say or not say when the adjuster comes? I think there could be serious blockage could cause back up of bathrooms and toilets and could be a real issue, the depositing of sand in the pipe could also draw more and more sand into the pipe, causing a void space below the slab. Being in Miami and 1 mile from beach it is all sandy soil and we could have a settling problem. None of this can be "seen" today, but could be a problem tomorrow, next month, or three years from now.
By the way, this is not a crack. The video revealed the two ends of the pipe "snapped" open sort of. The plumber told me it looks like original construction was bad, glue was not properly applied or may be never applied, so it snapped open and could have been this way since day 1, and day 1 was 1980. I wonder if the previous owner knew, if he did it was not in the disclosure.
O
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orangetrader wrote:

Your adjuster is correct. Homeowners insurance pays for SUDDEN damage to your home. It most specifically states that it does not pay for maintenance. This is a maintenance issue.
I do alot of insurance work, and just as in the case of a pipe breaking and flooding your house, the insurance covers the damages, but not the repair of the pipe. In addition, since you now know that the pipes are old and subject to breaking, it is your responsibility to correct this issue. If another pipe breaks at a later date, the insurance company will not pay, because you have not addressed a known maintenance problem.
Unless you can show that this was a SUDDEN problem, and caused damage to your home, you are probably on your own. The insurance adjuster may come out to your home and take a look at it, but he is there to 1); show that they are responsive to you as a client, and 2); to document the circumstances in case you should try to pass this off as something else that is covered at a later date.
--
Robert Allison
Rimshot, Inc.
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Consider the possibility of having an inflatable bladder inserted into the drain to the problem area, An inflatable drain cleaner might be able to be modified for this. Access inside the cabinet by cutting out the cabinet floor inside the cabinet. Then saw out an access hole 18" X24" or so in the concrete. Dig to find the damaged spot. It probably is not very deep under the floor. If you can't reach it to do a normal slip coupling or glue repair, then use the bladder and have a concrete slurry poured or pumped into the void to seat up around the pipe to create a new concrete "wall" for the drain line. The bladder is then deflated and removed after the concrete sets. Search on some of the companies that specialize in chimney flue repair. The chimney guys use this method to reline old chimney flues. A piece of 4 inch firehose can have adapter blocks used on the ends to make inflatable bladders. They are used in some industrial conveyor systems for lift devices. I have on occasion used a wet vac to clean particle debri from floor drains in factories, by fishing the hose down the drain with it running. A smaller hose works better for this. This may could be used to help clear sand from your drains.
RJ

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On Fri, 4 Mar 2005 21:04:45 -0500, "orangetrader"

No offense to anyone here, but you need to contact your insurance company, not the newsgroup.
hth,
tom @ www.ChopURL.com
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I have contacted the insurance company and they will send someone to take a look. The reason I am posting this to the group, as detailed in my original post, is to find out more details about the comments (which I got a few) of the contractors or drain companies who told me "yes your insurance company should cover this, if you say the right thing, they will not cover the actual repair but they will cover the access to the repair which is the bulk of the cost" however they will not elaborate. I am not asking for someone to quote me policy, I am asking to make sure I understand more what they were trying to say to me.
No offense taken, but no it was not helpful.
O
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Have you read your policy? I've never seen one that wasn't quite specific about coverage and exclusions.
orangetrader wrote:

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On Sat, 5 Mar 2005 14:06:26 -0500, "orangetrader"

Sorry :(

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AN UPDATE.
The adjuster came out. The pipe is broken below the slab and in need of repair. Because when I ran the laundry line to it and sand piled into the pipe, causing the laundry water to back up, thus water spilled onto the wall and floor. Floor was tiled - no damage. The wall paint peeled off a bit there.
This, the "wall painted peeled off a bit" problem in my garage, ironically, was the difference maker.
He said if that was not there, there will be no coverage, nothing, because there is no visible damage to the house and the pipe repair and access be on my own. But because of the paint peeling, even though it may be a $50 repair (well I could fix it in 5 minutes my self) that is damage, and that damage triggered the coverage to access and fix the repair. The actual repair of pipe is still not covered, but the access will be, of course minus deductable. He took some pictures and measurements, and the estimates from the plumbers I have so far, he said those estimates are way high, but he will look at some numbers and get back to me.
I guess at this point, I can begin to repair, since no matter if they approve or not, or cut me a check or not, or for how much, I am going forward with the repair, since I need it.
O

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When I had my problem, if I had been smart I would have poured a bucket of water on the carpet. My agent came out after the adjuster and looked everywhere, even in the closets trying to find some water on top of the slab but no luck. I almost got the impression he was hoping I had been smart enough to dump some water somewhere..but what did I know? Tom.
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replying to orangetrader, Bosonova Lady wrote:

I Own a Home in Florida and the pipe was broken under my cement slab, Water filled two bedrooms, two bathrooms and part of the living room. Insurance will cover most damage to the home. They will cover Accessing the pipes and putting the cement back in. What they do not cover: The work in the yard, the actual pipe cost, etc. (So on a plumbing note, no they don't cover much. )
If you are saying you have floor, tile damage, get the Adjustor out there to inspect the floor, Anything damaged by water should be covered. Contact your Insurance Agent, go over your policy. If you find you don't have the coverage you wanted then talk to them about updating your policy.
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message

You don't explain exactly where the break is, but is it not possible to use one of the trenchless technologies to make its repair?
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On Fri, 11 Dec 2015 23:44:01 +0000, Bosonova Lady

It is not covered by homeowners insurance, and there is a much cheaper way to fix it if it is just cracked and not displaced. Dig down outside the house to the pipe, and have a specialist reline the pipe. Roto Rooter is one nation-wide chain that does this repair work
They may even be able to do it by going in through your sewer cleanout port without digging a hole.
Should run between $50 and $200 per foot to reline the pipe.
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On Saturday, December 12, 2015 at 12:11:21 AM UTC-5, snipped-for-privacy@snyder.on.ca wrote:

Are those prices in 2005 dollars?
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replying to orangetrader, Bosonova Lady wrote:

My home flooded, Sewer Line was built into the cement slab. I was frantic! I started researching on the Internet and I found a Miami-Dade law that stated if the sewer line was built into the cement slab of the home and it was a sudden flood your insurance is to cover the flood costs. Well they covered for the plumber to jack hammer out the old pipe, they will not pay for the new pipe, they call it Maintance.. They did however pay for Servpro to clean up, cut the walls out and dry out the home then they paid to restore the home to livable conditions. Sometimes you need to do a little foot work yourself--Research! Paid off for me!
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On Tue, 16 Feb 2016 04:44:01 +0000, Bosonova Lady

Insurance does not cover the part that failed - but it does cover the damage done by it. So in the case of the pipe being IN the slab, the slab is damaged - they pay for that. The pipe failed, causing the damage - they don't pay for that - but you are lucky because they DO pay for the labour and materials required to get to the pipe to replace it. If the pipe is UNDER the slab, YOU pay for that.
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