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.
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.
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.
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
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.
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
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.
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.
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
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.
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?
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.
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.
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!
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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