Got water? Can’t figure out where it’s coming from?
When you have a broken pipe or some form of supply to your plumbing system that ruptures beneath the slab, the plumber will need to create access, meaning a cut in a hole in the floor to get to that plumbing.
How does my insurance company handle the plumber’s damage?
It can get really expensive. Really Expensive. why? Well…
…sometimes you have to take up the entire floor. It’s called plumber’s access
All right, so plumbers’ access itself is covered under most homeowner policies. There are some specific areas in the policy that may call it to tear out. But it’s generally covered under the policy. It is limited for the most part to indoors only. So, if they have to dig up your front yard, the access portion is generally not covered in the front yard.
So, anything inside the house would be covered under the access provision. And it doesn’t cover the cost of the plumbing repair or the pipe. So, they spend thousands of dollars digging up to get to the broken pipe. And then whatever it costs to fix the pipe won’t be covered.
This can be really limited, the amount of coverage available on what we call modified forms, then being the forms, you see on TV every day.
Did you know… rerouting of plumbing actually can be an option under Access Claims.
Meaning instead of digging up the floor, instead of tearing all through here, can we rerun this pipe in a way or a manner that gives us less damage to the property? All right, so let’s look at it a little bit further.
So, the companies you want to look out for right now are State Farm and Farmers.
- They both have limits in this section that can be detrimental to a claim.
- Some of them, we call tunneling limits, that is where you have to push or dig a pipe underneath to get through concrete without disrupting the concrete, where you basically tunnel the pipe underneath something.
- And there are specific limits in these policies for how much money is available for that.
Again, the State Farm and the Farmers’ policy has very restrictive language.
Let’s take a look at a plumbing invoice example.
they had to cut a hole in the concrete slab as we showed you in the beginning. So, If they charged $1,200. They repaired the pipe underneath the slab, say, for $600 and then they patch the concrete for $300. Almost all those plumbers are going to say, “Hey, we’re not responsible for any of the damage we created,” meaning the tile, the paint, and everything else.
So, the tile repair estimate was $5000. So, under most policies, you’re going to have the covered portion being the access of the broken pipes not covered, so you’d have the $300 to patch the concrete and the policy would most likely cover the $5,000 in tile or building damage.
The only thing not covered in a Standard HO form would be the actual pipe repair of $600. Not such a bad deal. Take a look at Farmers, if that involved tunneling.
Finally, the cost to tunnel under, cut into or tear out and replace any part of the foundation slab, concrete floor, patio, or pad or the like or the foundation or a retaining wall is limited to $2,000. Well, if you had $5,000 to dig out that slab, they would actually limit the coverage to that section to $2,000. Well, it’s not uncommon for the access provision or access cost to be $3000, $4000, $5000, even $10,000, and so on.
Here’s a secret… if you have a Farmers policy, and this loss occurs to you, you’re not looking for this coverage when you buy the policy.
It doesn’t show on the declaration page, and they certainly don’t make a commercial about it.
But it’s right in the policy that is copied and pasted, right out of the policy, the limit is $2,000. It’s really pretty aggressive, just so you know. State Farm is really complicated, So, most access provisions or tear outs are the results of a blockage in plumbing.
How about this…
So, you flush the toilet, and all of a sudden, the toilet overflows, that’s generally what is known as a trigger for access coverage. You call the plumber, and you say, “My toilet overflowed,” had a little bit of water on the floor, not a big deal, maybe it got the vanity wet”.
The plumber comes out and says, “Yep, we ran a camera through the line, and we have to tear up the middle of the house to get to it.”
Well, if you read State Farm’s provision, it says The costs you incur to tear out and replace only that particular part of the building, or a condominium unit to gain access to this specific point that that system or appliance from within where the water escaped.
Well, in my scenario, the water escaped from the toilet. And I’m going to need to access the middle of the family room where the break is underneath the slab, and therefore, this provision may not apply.
It’s incredible. It needs to be fought. I know there is some class action work being done on this provision. But I can tell you right now that this if you have this in your policy and you do if you have a new State Farm when you have an under-slab plumbing leak, you can be in real trouble.
We hope that makes sense. It’s a little bit unusual. If you have any questions, you’d like to contact us Or if you would like a policy review, you can always email us directly at firstname.lastname@example.org and we will be glad to help you out.
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