It's impossible to tell exactly how much it will cost to replace cast iron pipes. You may need a few hundred dollars to fix a small plumbing job of a broken cast pipe. But if the plumbing requires cutting through walls to replace these pipes and fixing possible water or sewer damage, it may cost you thousands of dollars.
The good news is your homeowner's insurance company is generally responsible for repairing or replacing these pipes if they've caused any damages to your home. But, unfortunately, it's never easy to have your insurance company settle a water damage claim.
This is the sad reality of many homeowners whose houses were built before 1975 when the cast pipe drainage system was popular. These pipes have a lifespan of about 20 to 30 years, and as they get older, they begin to rust and thin out, causing blockages, leakages, and poor drainage. If this is what's happening to your property, then sit back and read on because we've answered all your questions on what you need to do and how your home insurance should help you.
Signs That Your Cast Iron Pipes Need to Be Replaced
Whether it's your old family house or a new home you've just bought, these are the most common signs that your cast pipes are worn out and need to be replaced.
If you find yourself constantly calling a plumber to fix a leaking pipe around your house several times a month, there's a possibility that your pipes are old and need replacement.
It's advisable always to contact a professional plumber to fix a broken or leaking pipe rather than doing it on your own. Although DIY home repair projects are fun, you may not be able to fix a serious plumbing issue on your own. In fact, some DIY projects may lead to more damages, such as corrosion of the pipes with Sulphuric acid while unclogging your drain.
It's common for tap water to appear brownish if the taps remain unused for too long, especially in rural homes. However, if your water is often discolored even when you use your taps every day, it could indicate that the pipes are old and rusty and need a replacement.
Just to be sure, you can contact a plumber to find out what's causing the discoloration. Sometimes, brownish water derives from breakage caused by nearby construction or a disturbance in the water pipes.
Smelly tap water could be a sign that the sewer is leaking into your water drainage system. Old cast iron sewer pipes begin to form cracks because of rust and corrosion. As a result, these pipes may begin to leak into the nearby water pipes and also pollute the air around your home.
Apart from the awful smell, contaminated water can cause serious health problems to you and your family. If this happens, a plumber should inspect the drainage system to find out the cause of the problem.
Sewage backups are a clear indication that time is up for the old cast iron pipes. Old corroded pipes have rust build-up that reduces the size of the pipe or blocks it completely. As a result, sewage flows back into bathrooms and toilets or via the cracks found on the corroded pipes.
Damaged Foundation and Walls
Damages caused on the foundation and walls of a house are probably the most dangerous and expensive to repair. If you notice cracks, holes, and molding walls in your house, they could be signs of leaking pipes that need to be fixed immediately to avoid the risk of a caving foundation or collapsing wall.
What to Do When You Discover a Leaking Cast Iron Pipe in Your Home
If your home has one or more signs mentioned above, it's advisable to examine the extent of the damage caused before performing any repairs. But if the leaks haven't caused any damages or loss, there's no point in contacting your home insurance company for a water damage claim.
Generally, home insurances cover accidental and sudden damages caused by water leakages and not gradual damages resulting from normal wear and tear of the pipes. However, there are few isolated cases where the insurance company will be required to replace the whole piping system.
Some of the common types of water damages covered by home insurances include:
- Stormwater damages.
- Accidental water discharge.
- Accidental sewer backups or sewer overflows.
- Flood-caused damages.
If you have an accidental leakage and you suspect that the plumbing system is old and worn out, here's what to do:
Contact a Plumber
Contact a plumbing company for a damage inspection. The plumber should investigate the source of the water or sewer and any damages caused. They should also provide you with an estimate of the repairs and replacement costs needed to fix the problem.
Gather Evidence of Damage
Take pictures and videos of the damages, including all the properties destroyed due to the leakages. These photos and videos will be used as evidence while filing a claim with your home insurance company. Also, keep all the items damaged by the leakage; do not be too quick to get rid of them.
Contact Your Homeowner’s Insurance Company
Next, review your home insurance policy to find out the types of damages they cover and promptly contact your insurance company about filing a water damage claim.
It's your responsibility to prevent any further damages that may be caused by the leakages. However, hiring a plumber to fix the leakages shouldn't stop the insurance company from paying your claim if it's validated.
In fact, if further damages occur after the accidental leakage, the insurance company may use that as a reason to offer a lower settlement amount for the claim or deny it altogether.
Keep Receipts of Expenses
While conducting replacements and repairs, remember to collect all the estimates and costs involved. If necessary, consider moving valuable items from the home to a safer location to avoid further damage.
What to Expect From the Home Insurance Company After Filing a Claim
Your insurance company will send an adjuster to assess the property and ask you a few questions about the damage. The adjuster will then submit a report to the insurance company for review. If the claim is accepted, the insurance company will offer a settlement amount to cover the costs of fixing the damages.
How to Handle a Water Damage Claim Denial
Nowadays, many home insurance companies don't cover wear and tear and gradual damages caused by leakages through old pipes. And even if they do, they may limit the amount they'll be willing to pay, which is often not enough to repair or replace serious damages.
However, your home insurance may cover the tear and repair done to access the house's plumbing system and not necessarily the cast iron pipes. Similarly, the cost of the wear and tear done during plumbing repairs is often higher than the cost of replacing the pipes. And that's what many insurance companies try to avoid.
Therefore, if your claim has been denied, here's what you need to do:
- Ask the insurance company for a detailed explanation for the denial.
- Find out if their reason is in line with their policy.
- If unsatisfied with how your claim was handled, contact an experienced attorney to review your denial.
How a Morgan & Morgan Insurance Dispute Attorney Can Help
Consider hiring an insurance dispute attorney from Morgan & Morgan to help you with your claim if you believe your denial was illegitimate. We'll review your insurance denial at no cost to you, and if need be, send our plumbing experts to inspect the damages caused to the property.
Most of our cast pipe iron cases begin with a denial or a low offer and end up with a deserved compensation for our clients.
How Long Does an Insurance Company Take to Settle a Water Damage Claim?
Every water damage claim is different, and there's no specific timeline for when your claim will be settled. However, different states have laws that limit the amount of time an insurance company takes to respond to or honor a claim.
What if I Don't Promptly Inform My Insurance Company of the Water Damage?
For different reasons, you may not be able to inform your insurance company of the water damage as soon as it happens. One of the common reasons is that you weren't home at the time of the damage.
Some insurance companies will deny your claim if the damage remains unreported for a certain period.
If your claim has been denied on this basis, Morgan & Morgan insurance disputes attorneys are always willing to review it for free and provide the best legal advice.
What to Do if the Insurance Company Claims That the Cast Iron Pipes Didn’t Cause the Water Damage
Morgan & Morgan will send our experts to inspect the damage and review the denial at no cost to you. Then, if your home insurance policy covers the damages, we'll advise you on what to do next. We have a solid track record of helping thousands of business and home owners win cast iron pipe claims that home insurance companies initially denied.
How Do I Get the Most out of My Water Damage Insurance Claim?
To get the most out of your water damage insurance claim:
- Report the damage as soon as it happens.
- Document all the damages through pictures and videos.
- Save undamaged items from the house.
- Don't discard the damaged items.
- Drain the water and fix the leakages to stop further damage.
- Hire an experienced attorney from a reputable law firm like Morgan & Morgan to handle your claim.
Contact Morgan & Morgan Insurance Disputes Attorney
You can easily lose your home to water damages caused by old and rusty cast iron pipes. But, that shouldn't be the case if you have a home insurance company that cares for you and your property.
Unfortunately, it's not always easy to fight for what you rightfully deserve as a home or business owner when such kinds of damages happen. This is because insurance is a business like any other, and such companies will always try to limit their losses, even if it means denying legitimate claims from their customers. But when you work with an insurance attorney from Morgan & Morgan, the largest injury firm in the United States, insurance claims adjusters know that we leave no stone unturned in our pursuit of justice and fairness.
And the best part of it is you don't have to pay us a thing unless we win the case! So what are you waiting for? Give us a call today at 877-443-8599 for a free, no-obligation consultation, or send us a quick message online, and we'll get back to you within 24 hours or less!