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My insurance carrier barely offered me enough money to repair my master bathroom. Scott was able to create an estimate that accurately represented my loss. My claim was settled expeditiously because of his efforts. Homeowner

Understanding Plumbing Leak Claims

Plumbing leaks are among the top 10 insurance claims. These leaks include:

  • Frozen Pipe Burst & Ice Dams
  • Drain Pipe Leaks
  • Water Pipe Leaks, pipe breaks, burst pipes
  • Toilet Overflows
  • Tub Overflows
  • Water Heater Leaks
  • Leaky Appliances

Remember that even the smallest leak can cause mold and other significant personal property damage. Hiring a professional to handle this claim can make the difference between a minimal or adequate settlement to repair your damage due to coverage complications and the public adjusters ability to help manage costly dry-out charges.

Water damage from plumbing leaks seldom makes the headlines, but the damages can and often are catastrophic. Our firm has been involved in many claims over the years where the entire inside of buildings and homes have been destroyed due to water leaks, many of which are sudden, with others that may occur over time due to absent property owners.

Often compounding a water loss is what is called a "black water loss," which is one where the water discharged is sewage from the sewer system. Special care needs to be taken in the remediation process if the property is impacted with black water. Cost can and often will be many times more than a normal water remediation job. This type of loss will involve certified hygienists to set the necessary scope protocol as well as do clearance testing once the work is completed.

In both types of water losses the correct drying process is critical to a successful clean up. Carpets need to be pulled and the padding should be replaced. In most water losses it is necessary to remove baseboards and make the necessary cuts to air out wall cavities.  In a black water loss it will probably be necessary to remove at least 4 feet of drywall as well as wall insulation so that adequate space is availabile to clean and sanitize the structure.

A disturbing trend is developing in some states with some insurance companies successfully lobbying the insurance regulators to reduce or completely eliminate coverage for water losses. The new trend is for policy language to be written so that if a water loss is over 14 days old the whole loss is not covered.  Approval of these forms will have a devastating effect on property owners who own second homes or who travel and are not there to make regular inspections of their property. We now are hearing of a new tests that can detect how long a water loss has occurred by the breakdown of wood products and other materials. Sadly for property owners nothing is being offered for the first 13 days of a water loss. Property owners should pay close attention to any endorsements sent to them regarding water damage coverage.

FAQs About Plumbing Leaks

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If a black water loss has occurred to personal property there is a very good likely hood it may be beyond salvaging. If a regular water loss has occurred a general rule of thumb is that hard goods may be cleaned. Often soft goods will be stained and thus not restorable. It is a good idea to wait a few weeks after removing hard goods from the damaged building  to see if they have cracked and split from the water damage.

We cannot stress enough the need to have agreements if possible with restorations firms and the insurance company adjuster before the work begins  as we often see billing for this work that can at times be shocking and border line fraud. If this happens the typical response from the insurance company is that you signed the work authorization and you have to pay the bill and deal with the charges or fight it on your own.

Understand what you are signing when presented a work authorization from a water remediation firm as this can possibly be used to lien your property and might in fact be an assignment of some of your insurance policy limits.

This is a decision that needs to be made based on the facts of a loss. We do not encourage or think it advisable to file claims for minor losses. Once a claim has been filed your loss will be sent to a central index bureau and an CLUE report will be on record. On the other hand if the loss is not manageable through your own efforts then consider calling a professional public adjuster to guide you through the process. 
No this is a water loss that is covered if you have a water peril in your policy. A flood as defined by the National flood Insurance Program (NFIP) usually involves two properties that are jointed or a two acres area that is flooded.  Homeowners and commercial properties policies generally have an exclusion for a flood and coverage must be purchased from the National Flood Insurance Program or from the private sector through an excess flood policy 

Our first order of business is to make sure the  property owner understands the need to take  the proper emergency remediation steps.  An agreement needs to be made with the  insurance company adjuster so there is no misunderstanding on the scope and price of the emergency services. 

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Local Office

Charles R. Tutwiler & Associates Inc.
Licensed Public Insurance Adjusters & Loss Consultants
Offices: Tampa, Orlando, Hollywood, Palm City, Florida; Dallas, TX; Pittsburgh, PA

Executive Office
4300 W. Cypress St.
Suite 780
Tampa, FL 33607
Phone: 813.287.8090
Toll Free: 800.321.4488

Licensed in Florida # W840088 &
Texas #1399706 plus 16 other states
and the Virgin Islands