Have you ever experienced a burst plumbing pipe? It's definitely a scenario that homeowners want to avoid at all costs. That's because a burst pipe can cause a lot of damage. Not only will portions of the plumbing system itself require expensive repair, but the ensuing water damage can also affect hardwood flooring, carpets, cabinets, walls, and furniture in your house. Attorney Bill Voss explains how difficult it can be for homeowners to recover from a burst pipe.
That's because insurance claims related to burst pipes are among the most frequently denied claims. Read on to learn how to handle a burst pipe, from the moment you discover the damage until the moment you receive the payout from your insurance company.
What Causes Burst Pipes?
When temperatures dip far below freezing and stay there for a while, the water in pipes can freeze, expand, and increase the pressure on the pipe to its breaking point. In locations with typically mild temperatures, like Texas, a cold snap can be particularly risky, as structures might not be built to protect plumbing from extreme cold, and homeowners might not know how to mitigate the risk, or even that the risk exists at all.
There are other reasons a pipe can burst, however, including:
- Faulty pressure valves
- Clogged pipes leading to high pressure
- Deterioration that occurs because of age
- Ground movement due to earthquakes or shifting soil conditions
Of course, a combination of these concerns can also result in a burst pipe. An old and corroded pipe will be much more susceptible to bursting under any type of pressure, naturally, than one that's new or in good repair.
When Does Insurance Cover Burst Pipes?
Generally speaking, insurance companies are more likely to approve claims for broken pipes due to cold temperatures. Those that burst as a result of preventable damage, on the other hand, will likely be denied. Homeowners have a responsibility to maintain the various systems and structures in their house; when they fail to do so, insurance companies are not very sympathetic.
Things get especially tricky when it's difficult to determine what caused the burst or if several factors were at play. Additionally, insurance adjusters will want to see evidence that homeowners have taken reasonable steps to prevent burst pipes even from frigid conditions. When a pipe freezes even though the homeowner has proper insulation in place and maintains a certain indoor temperature, chances are the insurance claim process will go pretty smoothly.
Will Insurance Cover Additional Repairs and Costs?
Let's say that you feel confident the insurance company will pay a plumbing-related claim. But what about all the water damage and other problems that occurred due to the burst pipe?
It may be possible for you to recoup expenses such as replacing carpet, mold remediation, structural repairs, or even replacement of furniture or belongings.
As you can imagine, getting everything fixed is going to take some time, too. Depending on the extent of the damage, you might even have to pack up the family and leave your home for a brief period while the repairs and restoration are completed. In some cases, the insurance company will pick up the tab for a hotel stay if it's unsafe for you to remain in the home.
Is There Any Recourse After a Claim Has Been Denied?
Absolutely! Call the Voss Firm, which has an excellent track record of helping clients just like you get the insurance payouts they deserve after a burst pipe or any other catastrophic occurrence. With the help of our qualified, experienced attorneys, you may be able to win:
- The damages caused by the initial problem
- Interest and even penalty interest
- Bad faith damages
- Your attorney's fees and court costs
Of course, no two homes, homeowners, or situations are the same. Why not call to discuss the particulars of your insurance claim issue? We can answer any questions you might have and help you get started on the path toward insurance claim approval. Get in touch with the Voss Firm by using our convenient contact form or start reading our free informative guide, Your Essential Guide to Residential Claims.