Many older homes across the United States have plumbing systems that utilize cast iron pipes, a type of piping that was commonly installed in homes prior to 1975.
Despite these pipes having an expected lifespan of 80 to 100 years, many homeowners across the U.S. are now seeing cast iron pipe failure decades earlier than anticipated as a result of premature corrosion. Faulty cast iron pipes can lead to drain backup, severe leaking, and replacement costs as high as $30,000.
This issue has prompted many Americans to turn to their insurance companies to file insurance claims for cast iron pipe failure and replacement. Unfortunately, there are some insurance companies that have made the process of receiving compensation for pipe replacement costs difficult—acting in bad faith by wrongfully denying claims or underpaying their policyholders.
At Florin|Roebig, our insurance recovery lawyers are committed to ensuring homeowners are able to receive the compensation they are entitled to in order to replace the piping in their homes and repair additional pipe-related damage.
If you’re having trouble receiving a fair claim from your insurance company for cast iron pipe damage, our lawyers can review your case and investigate your claim for evidence of unlawful tactics.
The Problem With Cast Iron Pipes
Although most homes that are built in the present day utilize PVC pipes for their water systems, cast iron pipes were the preferred type of piping system for much of the 20th century due to their cheap materials and promising expected lifespan.
However, about 76 million homes across America that were built prior to 1975 are estimated to use cast iron pipes, and an alarming amount of these homes are already experiencing pipe-related damage prematurely, or are at risk for such problems.
In states such as Florida, for instance, some homeowners are seeing evidence of their cast iron pipes failing after only a few decades—exacerbated by Florida’s high humidity and salt-rich soil.
All homes require regular maintenance and upkeep of internal systems in order to function properly, but when systems fail far before they’re supposed to, this can pose costly consequences for homeowners, who may face thousands of dollars of property damage.
The primary cause attributed to cast iron pipe failure is corrosion, or the gradual deterioration of the piping. This corrosion can be internal or external, leading to the cracking, leaking, or rupture of pipes. Over time, this can cause pipe failure, blockage, and severe leakage both within and outside of the home.
Identifying Cast Iron Pipe Failure
If you’re the owner of a home or other type of property that was built prior to 1975, there’s a good chance it uses cast iron piping.
Due to the spike in reports of cast iron pipe failure across the country, it’s important for homeowners who have these pipes in their home to be aware of how they might identify signs that their cast iron pipes are deteriorating.
Identifying these signs early may help you to avoid some of the catastrophic water damage—and resulting expenses— many other homeowners are experiencing as a result of this issue only recently coming to light.
Signs of cast iron pipe failure include:
- blocked drain
- water stains on flooring
- sewer or drain backup
- foul odors in the home
- insect infestation
- discolored water
- broken or cracked floor tiles
An initial sign of pipe failure is a noticeable slowing of your drains, which may result in water backing up in your sink, shower, and toilet. You may also notice receiving higher water bills as a result of leaking pipes caused by corrosion.
If you believe your cast iron pipes may be deteriorating, it’s in your best interest to have your piping inspected as soon as possible. An inspection will be required by your insurance company to assess your eligibility for property damage and replacement coverage, but it may also be a good idea to seek your own pipe inspector independently.
How Do I Replace My Cast Iron Pipes?
The total cost of pipe-related water damage and piping replacement costs can reach upwards of $50,000, with higher estimates possible for properties that have suffered severe damage to concrete, walls, and floors.
This total cost is not affordable for the vast majority of homeowners. To seek coverage for cast iron pipe damage, homeowners who are insured under a property damage insurance policy may be eligible to file a claim with their insurer.
Most property insurance policies offer some level of coverage for damaged piping. However, the types of coverage and the amount may vary according to your insurance carrier and terms and conditions outlined within your specific policy.
For example, one issue homeowners with faulty cast iron pipes have been experiencing is a denied claim on the basis of not reporting their water damage soon enough. This is because some insurance policies require that water damage be reported within 72 hours of discovery, or the policy will not cover it.
Before contacting your insurance company, it may be useful to contact an experienced insurance claims lawyer who can assess your policy and defend your rights to coverage in the event that your insurer attempts to wrongfully deny or underpay your claim.
If Your Insurance Company Denies Or Underpays Your Claim
Due to the high costs of cast iron damage replacement, there are some insurance companies that may try to undervalue or wrongfully deny claims for pipe failure—leaving homeowners without the means to cover out-of-pocket costs in a difficult and unfair position.
Insurance companies are legally obligated to provide an explanation for how they have calculated their coverage offer or why they have decided to deny a claim. They are also required to investigate claims that are disputed by policyholders.
Common reasons why insurers might deny homeowners insurance claims include:
- missing or late premium payments
- filing for uninsured losses
- lack of evidence to support your claim
- errors made by the insurance adjuster
- inadequate piping inspection
Insurance policies commonly include very complicated language that can be difficult for the average person to translate and dispute on their own.
Some insurance adjusters may use the complexity of these policies to mislead policyholders who dispute their claims and may interpret the language in such a way that appears to validate their low payout offer.
Additional tactics that might be used to wrongfully deny or underpay claims include:
- falsely claiming that your pipe-related damage isn’t covered under your policy
- failing to inspect your damage properly
- undervaluing your claim with a low offer
- refusing to perform an inspection or investigate a claim
These misleading or unlawful tactics used by some insurance companies are referred to as bad faith tactics. If your insurer has denied or underpaid your property damage claim in bad faith, you may be eligible to take legal action against your insurer by filing a claim or lawsuit against them for compensation.
How Our Insurance Recovery Lawyers Can Help You
At Florin|Roebig, our insurance recovery lawyers have a proven track record of recovering compensation for victims of bad faith insurance tactics.
Whether you are in the early process of filing a property damage claim for faulty cast iron pipes, or are having difficulty securing coverage from your insurer, our lawyers can help you by providing an initial assessment of your case and evaluating the extent of your water damage.
Many homeowners across the country have begun the process of filing lawsuits against insurance companies that are denying claims for pipe-related damage or capping payments to as little as $2,000.
If you suspect your insurance company is acting in bad faith to avoid paying you the money you need to fix your property damage and replace your piping, our lawyers may be able to help you by:
- providing a free initial evaluation of your case
- setting up an inspection to assess the full extent of your water damage
- consulting plumbing and engineering experts
- providing an estimate for how much your case is worth
- gathering evidence to build a strong case for your claim
- fighting for a fair settlement that is capable of covering your total losses
- helping you file a lawsuit against your insurer if necessary to defend your rights
Top-Rated Cast Iron Pipe Damage Lawyers
Voted one of America’s top law firms, the award-winning lawyers of Florin|Roebig have extensive experience holding insurance companies accountable for wrongfully denying or underpaying policyholders.
Who you choose to represent your interests and defend your rights as a property owner matters. Our lawyers have the knowledge, skills, and resources necessary to successfully secure the compensation homeowners are entitled to under their insurance policies.
Provided your case is eligible, we can work to settle your case quickly and efficiently, allowing you to redirect your focus to fixing your property.
Contact Us Today For A Free Case Evaluation
If you believe you have a cast iron pipe claim or wish to sue your insurance for bad faith, there’s no time to wait. Learn what our lawyers can do for you by calling the offices of Florin|Roebig today to schedule a free case evaluation.