Posted on January 1, 2018 in Insurance
Slab-based leaks occur when water lines in the slab wear down. There are lots of reasons the pipes spring a leak. Even a pin-hole leak can cause substantial damage as the water tries to find a way out. This is what ultimately creates variation in the damage – the water goes wherever it can, up, down or around, until it finds a way out.
Finding and validating a slab-leak is best left to a professional plumber that has the equipment necessary to easily find the problem. This can save you time and money in the effort and the cost should be absorbed into the loss for your insurance claim as a necessary claim expense. Yes, your insurance will likely cover a leak in your slab as long as you report it as soon as you find it. You should also call a plumber immediately, as the insurance company will expect you to limit damages (it’s in your contract).
The plumber will work with your insurance company to access the leak under coverage called ‘Access and Egress.’ Over the past several years, this coverage has been limited by insurance companies and, in some cases, has been completely eliminated from the policy. Your insurance agent can tell you if you have this coverage and what the limitations are for coverage. A common cap in today’s world is around $5,000.
If the repair job requires demolition in your home, your property coverage kicks in to make you whole as the damage is a direct result of the water leak. This is often described as everything above the slab and includes things like floor treatments, walls, cabinets, fixtures, and any other item that may have been damaged by water or the need to access.
Conflict is common in a slab-based leak, so don’t be surprised if your contractor and insurance company disagree about the scope of repairs. Some common disputes include:
- How far to extend floor replacements. Are they stopping at a closed door or replacing the whole of the connected flooring treatment?
- Total cost for Access and Egress. What is the cap and what is included? Will they cover tunneling up from beneath to avoid cutting a hole in your slab? Are you content to have the hole cut, potentially in multiple places? Are there any other options that are less costly?
- How many cabinets will be replaced (and does it include the uppers?). If we have to tear up the island to access the leak, are they replacing the entire set of cabinets to ensure a match set or limiting coverage to the island alone? And, do they owe to replace the uppers, which have no damage, because they pulled out the bottom?
Can counter-tops be saved? Sometimes counter tops can be removed easily, and other times they’ll break with the slightest bit of pressure. The quality of the material makes a big difference, and sometimes accidents just happen.
Ultimately, when a water loss occurs in any form, the main point of contention during settlement is the insurance company’s effort to limit the scope of the loss through remediation, repair, and reuse. All of these efforts are generally in line with the coverage on your policy; however, you have the right to defend your claim and ask for what you believe is right and fair
when it comes to your settlement. Remember that you are customer and you’ve paid for your protection. Stand up, be heard, and get help from qualified local contractors that have experience dealing with insurance companies. Contractors like Hillock Builders.
We look forward to helping you with your loss, no matter the size.
Disclaimer: Hillock Builders, LLC is not an insurance company nor do we provide adjusting services or other insurance products. Our views and opinions are our own and do not reflect any commitments on behalf of your or any insurance company regarding available policy coverage for your loss. Our recommendations are based on years of experience and general understandings of how insurance processes and policies work. Our articles are for information-only purposes in an effort to provide feedback on our experience in a complex and changing industry. Your insurance may work differently due to policy coverage or internal policies. We encourage you to seek assistance from your agent or another representative of your company with any disputes regarding your coverage and claim settlement practices.