“What do you mean I can’t get homeowner insurance?”
Unfortunately, this line is becoming more common by the day in Florida. Homes are being bought and sold at a quick pace again, and any house built between 1978 and 1995 probably started out with Polybutylene plumbing pipes. If your house has not been re-piped it has been blacklisted by nearly all insurance companies. This isn’t because insurers want to be mean. It is because there is evidence that Polybutylene fails more often than other types of plumbing.
“That’s ridiculous! My house has 20 year old Polybutylene pipes and I’ve never had a leak!” That may be completely true, but insurance works along the concept of the law of large numbers. This means that information used to figure something out isn’t looked at on a case by case basis. Instead, it’s looked at across all of the available sources. Your plumbing maybe rock solid, but if 7 out of 10 homes have a failure it is the 70% failure rate that matters.
“So what’s the proof? I’m still not buying it.” Polybutylene was considered the pipe of the future back in the 1970’s because it was very inexpensive and easy to install. Time has shown that oxidants in the public water supply – like chlorine – can actually make the pipes brittle and prone to breakage. In fact, the 1980’s saw multiple law suits filed against manufacturers of Polybutylene. The pipe makers never admitted to a product weakness, but they did settle for $950 million in a Class Action case.
“What I’m hearing is that I should not buy that house, and/or my house is unsellable. Can this be true?” That position isn’t entirely inaccurate but it’s worst case scenario. I am aware of one company in Florida who will readily insure homes with Polybutylene plumbing. They are an “Admitted” carrier and they hold a financial stability rating of “A – Excellent” from Demotech, Inc. All of that just means that they are bound by the standards of the Florida Office of Insurance Regulation (admitted) and an independent review organization says their finances are healthy (Demotech, Inc.). Additionally, it has become very common for sellers to either make concessions for a buyer to re-pipe after closing or to re-pipe the home themselves before the sale.
Polybutylene piping isn’t inherently bad. It does not make you 100% uninsurable. It will not definitely fail. It does, however, put a homeowner at a potentially higher risk for serious plumbing leaks. Insurance isn’t just about fixing problems after they occur. It’s also about trying to anticipate them and stop them and the headache they cause form happening at all. That’s why I definitely recommend and many insurance companies demand re-piping be completed if a home has Polybutylene.
Q. What are polybutylene pipes and why does my insurance carrier dislike them?
A. Polybutylene pipes are a kind of common household water pipe used mainly in the 1980’s. Insurance professionals cannot say whether the pipes are good, bad or anything other, but it should be noted that nearly all homeowner insurance companies in Florida will not provide coverage for a house plumbed with polybutylene piping. Many times homeowners don’t know they have polybutylene pipes until they have had a 4 Point Inspection. The companies say that they experience many more claims as a result of broken or leaking pipes in homes with polybutylene. However, there are insurance carriers that will provide coverage on homes with this type of piping. If you need help finding one of those carriers let us know so we can help.
Shane SpencerMay 28, 2019
We bought a house 4-5 years ago, how do we find out if the poly claim from the lawsuit was paid out to original homeowners or prior owners, we believe they took the money and ran and title company cant find out any info so I was wondering if you had any suggestions?
Jason LevineMay 30, 2019
Thanks for reaching out. Unless the party that was paid had a contractual obligation to re-pipe the house or make some concession to you that they didn’t nothing wrong has been done. You just are best advised to re-pipe!
Lori PfisterApril 20, 2019
Hi – my mother is selling her home in FL. The buyers had an inspection where PB pipes came up, they have asked that my mother replace the piping prior to closing. We reviewed the inspection report from when my parents purchased the home 5 years ago, and it states copper piping what recourse do we have with regard to the inspection company that screwed up? Thank you.
Jason LevineApril 22, 2019
Unfortunately, you have little to no recourse. It’s likely that the realtor 5 years ago did a lot of business with the inspector that was used, and the inspector was just helping the realtor close deals. I didn’t say that is what happened, but it’s a problem that happens from time to time. Regardless, you could pursue a Professional Liability (Errors & Omissions) claim against the inspector. If they do not have the proper insurance coverage though, then it may be like trying to bleed a turnip. Unfortunately, while most home inspectors have General Liability we find that many do not have Professional Liability.
Short of threatening litigation against the inspector (if you can find them), you’re just going to have to make a price consideration or re-pipe the home for the buyer before closing. It’s a very frustrating situation, but over what is likely a sub-$5,000 ordeal I don’t think you’ll find many attorneys willing to be aggressive. You could try and file a complaint with the state. You can search for the license here or with the proper regulatory authority for whichever license that inspector held: https://www.myfloridalicense.com/wl11.asp?mode=0&SID=.
DanaFebruary 2, 2019
When I bought my house in 2005 no one told me the pipes would have been an issue or I would not have purchased it. How can I figure out who did the inspection so I can file a Suit? I am now trying to sell the home and this just came up on the inspection report. Please advise,
jformanFebruary 5, 2019
Thank you so much for reaching out! First, I always like to counsel towards avoiding litigation if at all possible. We live in a society that has morphed into a sue first and reason later culture. It bothers me personally and plays a tremendous role in my professional life as a risk management professional. No matter how unbelievable it may be the first and most applicable to answer to why insurance premiums seem to only go up is: Litigation.
That said, let’s discuss your situation. The first question that I would ask is if your pre-purchase inspection back in 2005 revealed polybutylene piping as present. We need to review that inspection to determine if it gave polybutylene as the plumbing system material. If so, you’ve really got no recourse. If the report did show it and a realtor, inspector or other professional didn’t advise you that polybutylene could be an issue I still do not believe there is grounds for a lawsuit. There’s really not malpractice there. Best practices? No. Improper practice? Also, no. You see, you can buy/sell the phone and obtain insurance with polybutylene plumbing. We do have carriers willing to write Limited Water Damage (often subject to a maximum coverage of $10,000) for polybutylene piped homes that can show a favorable recent plumbing condition inspection. So the good news is that you are not out of luck. It is true though, that a savvy buyer will demand that you re-pipe the house or make a price concession so that they can do so immediately upon closing. It’s also accurate that the insurance marketplace including water damage coverage for homes with polybutylene piping is exponentially smaller than it is for those with other types of pipes.
Assuming that the 2005 pre-purchase inspection omitted the piping material you still have several hurdles to overcome:
1. Is the inspection service even still business?
2. Did that inspection service carry Professional Liability Insurance?
Frighteningly, many do not. Most carry General Liability Insurance (GL), but GL only covers bodily injury or property damage to a third party. It does NOT cover professional error or omission. Otherwise examples of Professional Liability would be a doctor’s Medical Malpractice coverage or an Attorney’s Error’s & Omissions insurance. If the inspector had no coverage is the inspector a turnip? Can you bleed him or her?
3. Are the court costs (time and money) worth incurring over a plumbing job or price concession that is likely well under $10,000. It may even be below $5,000, which lands it in small claims court. Most attorneys don’t involve themselves in these types of cases.
Unfortunately, it is my opinion that you are a victim of circumstance. There is a constant barrage of unexpected expense and twists & turns that come with homeownership. I know all too well. The likely most cost-effective outcome (considering your stress level, financial outlay, and expenditure of time) is to either re-pipe or make a price concession for the buyer to do so. Frankly, if you have polybutylene your house was likely building during the 1980’s. Your plumbing is likely 30 years old or more, which means it’s probably time to re-pipe no matter what!
I know this isn’t like the response you were looking for, but based on seeing thousands of these situations I hope my two cents can help shed some light. Best of luck & please let us know who things turn out in the end!
Terrie LevingstonJanuary 15, 2019
Hello Jason, I recently found out that I have polybutylene pipes. This was after I noticed a spike in my water bill. We had a plumber come out and tell us that we had the poly piping and things were just going to get worse. We are on a slab and unfortunately our leak is under the slab. I filed a claim with my insurance company but because there is no visible damage at the moment they closed it. It is going to cost me between $3500-$5000 to just replace the plumbing. That will not include the drywall and ceiling damage that will occur. I have contacted the insurance commissioner to file a claim against my insurance company because I know that there is damage even though you can’t see it at the moment. Is there a chance the insurance company will drop me once they find out the polybutylene pipes are here? I am so confused as to what I need to do. I never heard of these pipes!!! This is turning into a nightmare! We purchased our house new in 1994. My husband and I are older and on a fixed income which is why I desperately need for my insurance to help with this burden. Help me please.
Jason LevineJanuary 17, 2019
Unfortunately, I don’t think I have much good news for you. There are two possible tracks that arise from your description of the situation though. You may be able to reach a settlement if one of them is, in fact, the case.
1. Homeowner insurance is, in fact, just that; Homeowner Insurance. It’s a product designed to contractually obligate your insurer to indemnify (make you whole without gaining) you in the event of a loss. A loss must generally be sudden, accidental and unforeseeable. A Homeowner Insurance Policy contract is NOT a home warranty, which is more likely what would help you. It sounds like your carrier investigated and found no damage. Deterioration and wear & tear due to normal use and aging is not insurable. It’s not sudden, accidental or unforeseeable. It’s a lengthy process and it’s expected to occur as an item reaches the end of its useful intended life. Thus, if you are not experiencing water damage and only know of 25 year old pipes that are wearing out and slowly leaking there is no property damage and your carrier acted appropriately. It pulls at my heart strings to hear about the position that you find yourself in, but unfortunately the hedge against your situation is a program involving any combination of a home warranty, savings, or an “emergency” line item in your household budget. It’s sort of like a shingle roof wearing out at 20 years of age. There’s much documentation that that is such a roofing system’s expected life. I would ensure that the contractor you use to re-plumb works damage repair into the contract. Luckily, drywall is very inexpensive. The real cost for drywall repair is labor hours. This is, unfortunately, part of owning and being responsible for maintaining a structure.
2. There is water damage. If you have a slab leak it’s a problem. The next issue becomes what caused it. If it can be determined that a pipe just wore out due to wear/tear then refer back to item 1 above. However, any resultant water damage may be covered. If you have flooring (carpet, tile, linoleum, etc.) this wet, buckling, etc., then you have water damage that is likely insurable. I’m hoping that you asked for the claim to be reopened or invoked your policy’s mediation or arbitration clause before heading straight to the Office of Insurance Regulation, but either way you’re hopefully headed towards results. Remember, the key is water damage. Wet concrete won’t likely qualify, but water damaged property will most likely.
Please let me know how the situation progresses. I’d be happy to further discuss any details with you!
Tara MJanuary 31, 2019
Terrie. I am dealing with the exact same thing right now. After a very high water bill and visit from a plumber, I had a leak specialist out to find the leak today… jackhammer my tile/concrete, repair the leak, refill the concrete. Insurance isn’t wanting to cover either but hasn’t yet closed my claim. Have you had any luck since your post?
Jason LevineNovember 13, 2018
A 4-Point should be good, however, I would urge you to have the paperwork (contact & paid invoicing) available from the licensed plumber that performed the work.
Melanie BrazielNovember 13, 2018
I recently purchased a home, I had a 4 point inspection, but it did not state that home had polybutylene piping. Now I have flooding in one of my bathrooms and under my flooring in the home. I called out a plumber who advised of the polybutylene piping. Please advise what course of action I have.
Jason LevineNovember 13, 2018
Thanks for reaching out! You may have several avenues of recourse based on some further information.
1. The Home Inspector that missed the polybutylene piping should carry Errors & Ommissions insurance coverage. Unfortunately, many only carry General Liability (which would NOT provide coverage for this professional oversight). You may wish to find out if they have Professional Liability and pursue a claim based on the notion that you may not have purchased the home or you may have insisted on negotiating a different deal if you’d known of the polybutylene plumbing system.
a. You do have the option of filing a law suit even if they don’t have Professional Liability coverage.
2. If your homeowner insurance provides coverage for water damage you can pursue a claim through that policy.
Aside from either of those two options there’s really very little you can do other than to dry the house out, repair/replumb and move on!
Hope that helps,
ERICANovember 11, 2018
How long does replacement take and who fixes the wall damage? Is it extra to get the walls fixed too? Permits? How much 2.5 bath and laundry room?
We had pb come up on our inspection to purchase a home. The sellers called a plumber/inspector who told them since it had copper fittings that it id safe and they do not need to fix for the buyers… meaning us.
Jason LevineNovember 13, 2018
I really cannot speak to the construction end of it. That will vary by the scope of the project and your particular contractor. That said, having polybutylene piping with copper fittings is a good thing as far as a polybutylene plumbing goes, but it changes nothing from the insurance perspective. You still have polybutylene plumbing, and it is incorrect that needn’t be changed from an insurance perspective. If you go through with the purchase you will have very limited markets (insurance companies) available to you in Florida. You may even be forced to purchase insurance that completely excludes water damage (not just from a burst pipe, but from any source like a roof leak too).
My best advice is to demand that the plumbing be redone or that a price concession be made. Otherwise, you’re headed for difficulty, and you’re likely going to have re-plumb it yourself.
Yissel HernandezOctober 27, 2018
Once the house has been completely repiped and removed all the poly B pipes what documentation is need to show insurance of the change?
Would a 4 point inspection be enough?
Jason LevineSeptember 4, 2018
There are several things going on in your situation. First, you definitely need assurance that the leak has been fixed. I would not proceed with the contract unless you know that there is no active leak and that existing water damage was been repaired. Second, so long as you have a properly credentialed/licensed inspector you should be OK. Of course, I cannot guarantee the inspector will do a good job, but so long as you’ve vetted them and they are properly credentialed you’ve done the best that you can. Polybutylene pipes have a much higher propensity for leaking, particularly from pinholes that form at pipe junctions/connections. It is a statistical fact, and no one that refutes it is correct. It has been proved by thirty years’ worth of data over millions of homes. Finally, you may have some recourse if a professional like a realtor or an inspector does not perform their professional services properly. Such professionals should (they do not always) carry Professional Liability Insurance. This is different from General Liability Insurance. It may provide indemnification (payments to make you whole again) if they have caused you a loss via the conduct of their expert professional services.
Hope that helps! Thanks!
MaritzaSeptember 3, 2018
Hi Jason, I hope you are still answering these very important questions in your blog. I placed an offer on a villa unit and there is a leak on the garage, there is a wall between my ‘future’ neighbor that is my garage which is leaking. This Wed I am having my own inspector look at the house, but today I found out about this poly piping, nor my agent nor the seller’s agent knows if there is poly pipes. The contract is contingent on them to fix the leak of course, the area is Boynton Beach 33436 Greentree Villas built about 78=79, you can see why I am concerned now as I have signed an offer, I am not sure if these inspectors will find it, are they really qualified to inspect plumbing and will their assurance will be enough for us to close the deal? The inspectors were recommended by our realtor, we have been burned with a roof in NM before with water damage as the inspector didn’t reveal this over 12k later we moved here, so we are in pins and needles. I asked my realtor to send the other realtor an article about the poly piping he said it was just written by plumbers and have no veracity to them and for me to wait for the inspection. At that point if found, I am sure the owners will not change them so can I just back out of the deal for non-disclosure, who would be responsible if mine or their realtor do not inform me, perhaps not even the inspectors of any problems with the pipes? Do I have any recourse? thanks, M
Jason LevineSeptember 3, 2018
Unfortunately, there is just about no insurance that would pay to replace pipes, even if they break! Almost all property insurance would pay for the ensuing water damage, and it would pay for the labor to replace what was needed. However, the failed pipes themselves are actually excluded (just their materials cost) almost universally. It’s an interesting little nuance that most people are unaware of. Your case though, is a little different. Just because time has told us that a certain material has a higher propensity to break doesn’t mean there is any insurable loss. Insurance is designed to cover you against sudden, unforeseen and accidental incidents that cause measurable loss. The simple presence of suspect piping is not a loss; there’s no claim.
Thanks for asking!
KateSeptember 2, 2018
Inspection of my ‘house for sale’ reveals polybutylene pipes. Buyers want pipe changed before closing so I’m getting it done.
Question: Do you know if FL homeowner’s insurance covers any replacement cost of pipes?
RogerNovember 22, 2017
How do I recognize it if a home has Polybutylene pipes in it?
Jason LevineNovember 28, 2017
Polybutylene is typically gray in color. Otherwise, it may be stamped or marked in some way. The best way is to have a plumbing inspection confirm the material used throughout your home!
L FerrisNovember 21, 2017
I had an inspection done on a DiVosta home in Riverwalk in West Palm Beach built in 1996 and the inspector did not see evidence of Polybutylene pipes, but he did tell me to verify if I could because of some moveent saw in a copper pipe. I have calls into the HOA, DiVosta corporate etc. etc. Can you suggest how I can verify that this material wan’t used? I had it in a former house that was verified by inspection and don;t want to deal with the re-sale problems any more.
Jason LevineNovember 28, 2017
Beyond a professional plumbing inspection to determine your residence’s piping material I don’t have any further advice. Best of luck!
Pete PriestNovember 3, 2017
Why will insurance companies continue to annually renew insurance for houses with PB piping without changing the coverage, but when the house sells, the new owner can’t get insurance. This doesn’t make sense. If there is risk for the insurance company with PB piping, it should be the same for the existing owner as well a new owner. The insurance companies have the right to renew insurance, or not, and change rates and coverage during the annual renewal. Yet, they don’t for houses with PB piping. Why not?
Jason LevineNovember 13, 2017
Believe it or not the answer is actually quite simple in the majority of cases: The insurance company doesn’t even know the house has polybutylene piping until its sold!
Polybutylene piping was most common in the 1980’s Most insurance companies do not require an in depth inspection of a home (like a 4-Point Inspection) until the home is 30 or in some cases even 40 years old. Thus, if the current owner took possession of a 1989 home with polybutylene (such as my own parents once did) any time before, well, 2 to 12 years FROM NOW it wasn’t an issue. Insurance applications have begun to ask what kind of plumbing lines homes have, but they did not always ask this. Thus, there is a whole stock of insured homes with polybutylene that are unidentifiable to insurers until present day underwriting guidelines can be enforced such as at the time of resale. It would be both intrusive and economically unfeasible to go back and re-inspect the millions of homes presently insured. We are left with inspection requirements on older homes to reveal issues like polybutylene plumbing and Federal Pacific or Zinsco electrical panels.
Hope that helps!
Joan ConklinOctober 31, 2017
How are condominiums treated when it comes to re-piping–i.e., who is responsible for the cost of re-piping?
One of our condominium owners who is putting her condo on the market, wants to re-plumb, but says the condo should pay for it.
Any ideas on how on research this?
Jason LevineNovember 2, 2017
I have THE idea on how to research this matter. The condo association documents should spell this out explicitly. Florida requires that association docs make clear who is responsible for what systems/building portions/functions within a condominium organization. It might be tedious to find, but it should be spelled out clearly. If I had to wager a guess, the association is responsible for common supply and waste lines, however, unit owners are responsible for the piping that comes from the main supply and waste lines into their units. That said, the condo docs will govern, and I’ve not reviewed them. Good luck!
MarciaOctober 28, 2017
I bought a home 4 years ago, and have had 2 pipe failure in 6 months due to polybeutelene plumbing. I understand the original class action suit has long since expired and exhausted funds but this problem still seems prevelant. Is there a current class action suit that can be considered. I get it wont help me now, but I would like to explore options to recoup my funds in the future.
Jason LevineOctober 30, 2017
I’m sorry to hear that you know very well why polybutylene plumbing is unfavorable from an insured standpoint. It has a higher than normal failure rate, and plumbing problems are quite predictable. I’m unable to advise you re: any class action law suits involving polybutylene, and unfortunately I don’t have anything to offer about how to recoup funds. My best advice is always simply not to buy a home with polybutylene piping, or insist that the seller either re-pipe for you or make a price concession so that you can immediately re-pipe. Unfortunately, you bought the home fair and square and I don’t believe that there is much that you can do by way of recourse against others.
alanna lamoureuxSeptember 19, 2017
Just a day ago my home that was built in the 80s,had a pipe burst,the plumber informed that I had polybutylene pipes and that I needed to repipe my home will my is rance cover the repiping
Jason LevineSeptember 19, 2017
I’m sorry to hear that you’ve had some plumbing issues. Unfortunately, your insurance will most likely not cover a re-pipe. Most property insurance covers water damage from a burst pipe, but it does not actually cover damaged piping material itself. You may be eligible for coverage for the labor to repair the broken section of pipe, but not the material and certainly not a whole home re-pipe.
Thanks & good luck!
Jason LevineAugust 24, 2017
First, let me thank you for reading our blog and reaching out! The fact that you’re in the tri-county (Palm Beach, Broward, Miami-Dade) area does not help your cause. Those three counties have been hotbeds for fraudulent claims activity centering around interior water damage and hail damage to roofs. Crooked contractors have made a new industry out of grossly inflating and even fabricating claims. It’s a statewide issue, but your local community is ground zero. As such, there are many companies who will not write insurance coverage at all in the tri-county area. Many of the companies that will either limit or exclude water damage coverage, which is my concern for you and your polybutylene pipes.
You should be able to get insurance coverage for you home with relative ease if you meet underwriting eligibility criteria other than the pipes. The issue then lies with coverage for damage by water. It will most likely be excluded in your case unless you have the home re-piped with non-polybutylene components. The water exclusion won’t just be for water that comes from a broken pipe. It will be a total water exclusion meaning that even water damage from a roof leak would NOT be covered. There are a few carriers who will write limited (usually capped at $10,000 per loss) water damage coverage for a home with polybutylene plumbing, but they will require a recent inspection at your expense to confirm the good working order/condition of your plumbing system.
Hope that helps! Thanks again & don’t ever hesitate to give us a call!
Deborah DrakeAugust 23, 2017
I am in Broward County. Are there any insurers that will still insure a home with polybutylene. Home was built in 1992. If they will insure, how much increased premium during to the pipe? Thank you!
Jason LevineAugust 7, 2017
Thank you for your question about polybutylene pipes. Please correct me if you were, in fact, talking about polyurethane. In short, you need to consult with your plumbing contractor. Any portions of your system that are polybutylene will need to be replaced to comply with many insurance companies’ eligibility guidelines. This may seem annoying, but water losses are caused by failure of a P-Trap under your sink just as much as they are caused by a pipe bursting in your crawlspace, slab or attic. The good news is that all of your piping isn’t polybutylene!
Ultimately, the best thing to do is to re-plumb your supply lines entirely if an inspection shows them to be poly. If your supply lines turn out to be another acceptable material then you can just target the individual sections that contain poly.
JanetAugust 2, 2017
Hello Jason my 4 point inspection showed visible polyurethane in the attic. But I also see copper plumbing coming from walls to bathrooms and water heater. How so I know if I need replumbing or do I just replace the visible ones ?
AJuly 26, 2017
Any recommendations on plumbers or GCs who can verify the condition of poly pipes for the purposes of getting insured?
Jason LevineJuly 26, 2017
Unfortunately, we do not have a specific referral list. Many plumbing contractors are very geographically specific too, so it would depend upon where in Florida (or elsewhere) you are. I would definitely pay attention to online reviews, perhaps use a referral service like Angie’s List and make sure your plumber is properly licensed.
R MrownMay 13, 2017
Is there any financial help out there in replacing Polybutylene in one’s home?
What is the recommended replacement for Polybutylene pipes?
Jason LevineMay 15, 2017
I am unaware of any financial assistance available to re-pipe from polybutylene, but that doesn’t necessarily mean that a program doesn’t exist! As far as preferred replacement pipes go, the standards are currently CPVC and PEX. Both are excellent. PEX (polyethylene) is generally accepted, though we are aware of a single insurer that requires PEX re-pipes to use what is called a Manifold System. It basically creates individual supply lines to each fixture. If your kitchen sink fails you don’t have to turn the water off to the whole house. You can isolate and shut-off that sink, while keeping the rest of your fixtures working.
PierreMay 3, 2017
What materials are approved for replacement? I am pretty handy and would consider doing most of the work myself.
Jason LevineMay 8, 2017
Thank you so much for your question! First and foremost, being handy is a great thing. However, when it comes to major home systems I cannot professionally recommend that you conduct a complete re-pipe yourself. In fact, most insurance carriers will demand that work be done by a licensed contractor. Some may even look for permitting records with your municipality. This is because not everyone may be as truly handy as you even if they think they are!
If your polybutylene piping is limited to P-Traps or other small areas already exposed/in the open within your home, it is probably fine to replace it yourself. Again though, a complete re-pipe is work for a licensed plumber! At the very least I can see insurers demanding that licensed plumber complete an inspection after the re-pipe if you do it yourself.
Hope that helps and thanks again!
MadisknApril 19, 2017
Well now things have changed again! Now if your house is over 40 years old they will limit your coverage to 10,000$ Regardless of pipes! Poly, pvc, pex.. You can have a brand new repipe and it won’t affect anything!! I just found this out, I’m disgusted
Jason LevineApril 19, 2017
Thank you for your comment. The issue of Water Damage Coverage and the age of a home in Florida is indeed a frustrating one. I would caution you to review your current policy, current alternative offers and search the market via your Independent Insurance Agent.
It is not the case that call carriers sub-limit Water Damage Coverage to $10,000 once a home hits 40 years of age.
It is becoming increasingly common for insurers to do so, but there is “full” (equal to your Coverage A or Dwelling coverage limit) Water Damage Coverage still available for older homes in the Florida marketplace. It typically requires a plumbing inspection to ensure that the home’s pipes are in good working order and appropriately updated per each company’s guidelines for eligibility.
A M WhitingMarch 19, 2017
Which company in FL does insure these pipes? I am on a well so no chlorine issues here with the pipes.
Jason LevineMarch 20, 2017
The issue of polybutylene piping and insurance coverage seems to be ever evolving. In years past there was a specific carrier that would write homes with poly piping without question. They did apply an increased deductible if the pipes caused a covered insurance claim, but they are no longer doing this. They have joined the ranks of everyone else, and they do not like polybutylene.
That said, one can obtain insurance coverage. There are several carriers in the marketplace that will do one of two things. Some will write the home, but they will completely excluded water damage coverage. That means whether a pipe bursts or your roof leaks there is no coverage if water caused the problem. The second stance that we are now finding is to require a comprehensive plumbing inspection to verify the conditions of the pipes. If they are in suitable shape than the insurer will apply a $10,000 water damage limitation. Thus, no matter how big the loss caused by water might be the most your insurance policy will be payout is $10,000. Anything beyond that remains the homeowner’s responsibility. Of course, there are still many carriers simply refusing to write coverage for such homes, as national data clearly demonstrates a higher than average fail rate for polybutylene.
If you’d like to further discuss available carriers there are many other factors about your specific castle that will come into play. Give us a call anytime. We’d be happy to help!
EdAugust 2, 2016
Do you recommend any company for replacing the Poly B pipes?
Jason LevineAugust 3, 2016
Truthfully, any licensed plumber can work with you for a re-pipe. Prices may vary widely, and I would recommend getting several bids to compare. We have worked very successfully on a referral basis with Baxter Restoration, who operates in much of Florida. They are a full service disaster mitigation company, which includes plumbing services. They may subcontract and/or refer out, but they may be a good place to start to ensure that you get an honest reputable contractor. Here is their contact information:
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