Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Cast Iron Pipes?

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Written by Cara Carlone
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Yes, most homeowners insurance will cover cast iron pipes under certain circumstances. To find out what these circumstances are, keep reading. With over twenty years of assisting consumers to gain a better understanding of their home insurance, I can help you acquire useful knowledge about your coverage.

Key Takeaways

  • Home insurance might cover replacement of cast iron pipes under certain circumstances.

  • Insurance policies don’t typically cover the cost of the actual pipes.

  • Damage that is indirect but caused by problems with cast iron pipes may be covered, such as damage to your floors

  • Provided that your cast iron pipes meet all of the criteria for coverage, you might think about filing a claim.

Does Homeowners Insurance Provide Coverage For Cast Iron Pipes?

Yes, home insurance provides coverage for cast iron pipes in some situations, dependent on what caused the damage.

For example, if an event that is a covered peril in your home insurance policy causes damage to cast iron pipes in your home or property, it will probably be covered.

Here are some of the covered perils that would be covered by your homeowners for repairs to cast iron pipes:

  • Fire – If your cast iron pipes are damaged by fire, your insurer will probably cover the repairs or replacement.
  • Tornadoes
  • Burst pipes
  • Lightning – If your cast iron pipes are struck by lightning, it is a covered peril and so will be covered.
  • Roof leaks
  • Hail – If hail damages your cast iron pipes, your policy will provide coverage.
  • Accidental leaks
  • Windstorms

Whatever is considered a covered peril in your home insurance policy and covered is normally also covered in the case of problems with your cast iron pipes. As with most other coverage in a standard homeowners policy, the damage or loss should be the result of an accidental, unexpected, and preventable event.

What Types Of Cast Iron Pipes Are Covered By Home Insurance?

Your homeowners insurance policy will generally provide coverage for the two most common types of cast iron pipes:

  1. Gray Cast Iron Pipes: Gray cast iron pipes are renowned for their superior resistance to corrosion as well as their compressive strength. Graphite flakes are what give gray cast iron pipes their color. These pipes are often used in sewage systems along with underground applications because of their ability to withstand soil load and external pressure.
  2. Ductile Cast Iron Pipes: Ductile cast iron pipes, sometimes referred to as nodular cast iron pipes or ductile iron pipes, are a modernized variation. They’re treated with magnesium to enhance their ductility along with flexibility, which renders them suitable for a broad variety of applications. The graphite used in the microstructure of ductile iron pipes is in a spherical form, making these pipes stronger and tougher than gray iron pipes.

Gray and ductile cast iron pipes are the two major types that are commonly used in modern plumbing systems.

Note: Some homeowner insurance policies have a separate deductible for hurricanes or wind storms. The deductible might be a percentage of your dwelling amount, so check your deductible before you file a claim. You don’t want to file a claim if your deductible is going to be more than the amount of the damage.

When Are Cast Iron Pipes Not Covered By Homeowners Insurance?

Homeowners insurance is likely to provide coverage for cast iron pipes. That being said, there are some events that probably will not be covered.

Here are some circumstance when your home insurance may not provide coverage for cast iron pipes:

  • If the insurer concludes that the damage to your cast iron pipes was preventable, it wouldn’t be a covered loss.
  • Normal wear and tear from long-term use is usually not covered by homeowners insurance.
  • If a fire that destroyed or damaged your cast iron pipes was started by you, or another person with your knowledge, insurance won’t cover this as it is arson.
  • Your insurance may not pay a claim if your home is in a high- risk area subject to wildfires and this is what damaged or destroyed your cast iron pipes.
  • Earthquake damage to cast iron pipes is seldom covered since this event is typically excluded from homeowners insurance.
  • Flooding: Flooding is not, as a rule, covered by your homeowners insurance policy, so damage to your cast iron pipes probably won’t be either.
  • Slow leaks tend to be considered negligence by insurers, and therefore excluded from coverage.

If your home was built before 1978, chances are it has cast iron plumbing and should be inspected for problems on a regular basis.

Are There Ways You Can  Avoid Damage To Cast Iron Pipes?

Yes and no. While there are steps you can take to help avoid damage to cast iron pipes, the fact is that over time, they will corrode and rust.

Here are some tips to help prolong the life of your cast iron pipes as long as you possibly can.

Avoid Chemical Drain Cleaners: Chemical drain cleaners can contribute to corrosion and rust of cast iron pipes. If you have a clogged drain, try using a plumber’s snake or plunger instead.

Regular Inspections: Performing regular inspections of the visible sections of cast iron pipes can be quite helpful in spotting problems and addressing them before much damage is done.

Insulation: Wrap exposed cast iron pipes in insulation to prevent freezing during the cold months. You may also use heated wraps for even better freeze protection.

No Heavy Impact: Many pipes and septic tank covers have been cracked or broken by the heavy weight of a large vehicle or piece of machinery passing over them. If you have workers in your yard for some reason, be sure to mark the areas where pipes are buried and also the location of your septic tank.

Grease and Oil Disposal: Never pour grease or oil down the drain. It can accumulate and cause a blockage in cast iron pipes that may end up a visit from a professional plumber to dislodge it. The same goes for food waste. There is no hidden garbage disposal in plumbing pipes that will mince up leftovers so that they’ll go down the drain with ease. Instead, they’ll cause a blockage.

Check Water Acidity: Check your water and if it’s acidic, purchase a water filter that will make it more alkaline. Besides being less likely to corrode your cast iron pipes, it’s healthier for you.

When To File A Home Insurance Claim For Cast Iron Pipes?

Filing or not filing a claim for damage to your cast iron pipes can be a big decision.

What you decide to do comes down to a couple of key factors:

  1. Your deductible amount
  2. A probable premium increase

If you have a $1000 deductible with your home insurance and the repairs to your cast iron pipes are going to cost somewhere in the neighborhood of $700; you don’t need to file a claim.

It wouldn’t net you anything, in fact you’d be upside down on the deal. Some companies won’t even allow policyholders to file a claim when the cost is less than the deductible.

The next major factor is that insurers will almost always raise premiums after a claim. The increase might last for the life of the policy, which could be quite pricey after a few years. Statistics tell us that a standard home insurance policy in the U.S. runs approximately $1300 annually, with no claims.

Following a claim, the average premium increases 21% per year—a not inconsiderable amount. So, before you decide to file a claim, weigh both sides of the decision.

How Do You File A Home Insurance Claim For Cast Iron Pipes

Simply put, if you’ve filed one claim, you’ve filed them all. Be it a health insurance claim, an auto accident claim, or a claim for a stolen item, the process is much the same.

Note: Some insurers have separate deductibles for wind or hurricane losses. These  deductibles may be a percentage of your home’s dwelling limit and not a flat amount. Always look at the correct deductible before deciding whether the damage is more than that amount.

Here is what you should do if you decide to file a claim for repair of your cast iron pipes:

  • Let your home insurance carrier know about the problem.
  • Take clear photos and/or videos of the damage to your cast iron pipes, plus notes about everything pertaining to the situation, along with any damage done as a result.
  • Your insurance company will send a claims adjuster to appraise and assess the damage to your cast iron pipes and any damage this has caused to your property. You need to be present for this assessment if possible.
  • Once you have obtained approval from your insurer, get estimates for repair of your cast iron pipes from contractors and submit these estimates to your insurer.
  • When the estimates and contractors have received approval from your home insurance provider, the repair work can begin. Keep all of the estimates and all receipts. Make copies for your records and turn the originals over to your insurance carrier.

You should know that your deductible must be paid before your claim is paid.

Are There Additional Types Of Coverage Available For Cast Iron Pipes?

Yes, there are additional types of coverage available for cast iron pipes. Here are some of your options:

Service Line Coverage: Some home insurance providers offer what is known as a service line endorsement, or rider, as an optional add-on to your policy. This additional coverage usually provides protection for your underground service lines, which include, sewer lines, water supply lines, and electrical lines. If your cast iron pipes have sustained damage from external factors such as shifting soil or invasive tree roots, this service line coverage can help to cover your costs of repairing or replacing the damaged sections.

Equipment Breakdown Coverage: Equipment breakdown coverage, which is sometimes referred to as appliance coverage even though it covers more than appliances,  extends beyond basic home insurance. It also covers repair or replacement of essential home systems, including plumbing. If your cast iron pipes fail due to mechanical breakdown, this extra coverage can help cover the cost of repairs..

Scheduled Personal Property Endorsement: Although this endorsement isn’t limited to cast iron pipes, it can help you if your cast iron pipes need repair in specific circumstances. Cast iron pipes began to be used back in the 1700s, so if your home is very old or historically significant, so are your cast iron pipes. This means that you can insure them as antiques.

Water Backup Coverage: Water backup coverage will offer protection for damage caused by backing up of water into your home through sewers, drains, pipes or sump pumps. This includes cast iron pipes. If your cast iron pipes cause a water backup, this additional coverage can help you cover the cost of repairs.

 

FAQs

Can you purchase separate insurance coverage for cast iron pipes?

Yes. You can add a rider, or endorsement, to your homeowners insurance that will help cover costs of repairing any damage to your cast iron pipes. Although somewhat uncommon, you can also buy an endorsement called a Service Line Endorsement as an add-on to your home insurance policy. It provides extra coverage for cast iron pipes.

Will a standard homeowners insurance policy cover cast iron pipes?

Yes, in most cases it will. You should know, though, that events excluded from coverage in a standard home insurance policy are also going to be exclusions for cast iron pipes. In other words, extreme events such as earthquakes and floods that damage your home’s cast iron pipes are probably not going to be covered

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