You come home from a long day at work and notice a trail of water running from beneath your garage door. Panic sets in and you come inside to see a deluge of water flood through your home. A pipe has burst and now you’re burdened with repairing the pipe and replacing any soiled furniture or belongings.
It’s alright though because you have homeowner’s insurance, right? Unfortunately, this isn’t always the case. You may be paying your premiums on time, but your insurance company may still deny your claim. Many people with water damage to their home have their claims delayed, denied or undervalued. If you have homeowner’s insurance, there’s no reason you should be footing the bill for any type of water damage.
To maximize your settlement, it’s highly recommended you seek the counsel of an experienced insurance claims attorney.
Insurance Claims Lawyer for Burst Pipes in Tampa, FL
Homeowner’s insurance is supposed to reimburse you if damage happens to your home unexpectedly. However, some insurers deny claims if it’s water damage in relation to a burst pipe. To contest your insurance company, it’s recommended you gain legal representation.
Contact Michael B. Germain for quality legal representation. He has years of experience litigating and negotiating with insurance adjusters. Attorney Germain can draft up a claim, file it for you and represent you in court if necessary. Call (813) 835-8888 to schedule a consultation today.
Germain Law Group, P.A. accepts clients throughout the greater Hillsborough County area and surrounding counties including Osceola County, Paso County, Pinellas County, Polk County, DeSoto County, Sarasota County, Citrus County, Orange County and Hernando County.
Overview of Burst Pipes in Florida
- What Causes a Pipe to Burst?
- Are Burst Pipes Covered Under Homeowner’s Insurance in Florida?
- What Should I Do If a Pipe Bursts in My House?
- Additional Resources
What Causes a Pipe to Burst?
Burst water pipes can happen in a variety of ways. Normally, a pipe bursts when an extraordinary amount of stress is put upon it causing the metal to break open. This can happen from environmental factors, temperature, water pressure, corrosion and a number of other ways. Listed below are some common causes to burst pipes in Florida.
- Sudden Cold Temperatures – Florida natives usually don’t have to worry about frozen pipes. However, a sudden change in temperature could cause your pipes to burst. When the water freezes inside a pipe, it expands inside creating pressure. In some cases, the pressure becomes too much and the pipe bursts because of it.
- Water Movement / Water Hammer – Pipes that aren’t properly secured can sometimes burst if the water is suddenly turned off or on. The pipes will clang against each other inside the walls or floors, which is sometimes called a water hammer by plumbers. If the pipes move enough, it can weaken the joints causing pressurized water to escape.
- Issues with Water Pressure – It’s important to maintain a consistent water pressure in your pipes. A significant increase in water pressure can cause your pipe to burst from the unexpected pressure.
- Corrosion – Pipes have a long lifespan, but they’re not indestructible. Over time, your pipes may corrode from simple wear and tear. In these cases, the pipe will disconnect or fall apart due to rust. Sometimes the pipe will gradually narrow in diameter as rust builds up around its interior walls.
- Environmental Factors – Outside factors can also play a role in your burst pipes. Construction companies have been known to burst pipes in neighboring homes of their projects. Other environmental circumstances such as sinkholes or tornadoes could lead to a burst pipe.
Are Burst Pipes Covered Under Homeowner’s Insurance in Florida?
You will have to review your homeowner’s insurance policy in order to know what type of damages you’re protected from. It’s worth noting generally most Florida homeowner’s insurance policies cover burst pipes as a part of water damage to the home.
However, the vast majority of standard homeowner’s insurers don’t cover damage related to flooding. Flooding, foundational water seeping and sewage backing up into the home could all be considered a type of exclusion. This means your insurance company doesn’t cover it and you will need a separate type of insurance or a different policy. Another common exclusion for standard homeowner’s insurance is mold caused by water damage.
Depending on your policy, your insurance company should at least partially pay for your damages. However, many insurance companies will do anything they can to delay, deny or underpay your claim. They may use complicated verbiage and state pre-existing conditions caused the break so they can pay you as little as possible. Thankfully, there’s a way for you to maximize the settlement you deserve.
You can hire experienced legal counsel to analyze your policy. A skilled insurance claims attorney can review your contract to see if you’re eligible for coverage. They can then draft and file your claim to ensure you’ll receive the best possible outcome for your claim.
What Should I Do After A Pipe Bursts in My Home?
When a pipe bursts in your home it’s a chaotic situation. It’s natural for you to rush in as an attempt to remedy the situation before it gets any worse. However, if you want to maximize your settlement, you may want to do the following steps.
- Document Everything – Evidence is the most essential part of an insurance claims case. It’s recommended you take photos and videos of the damage, no matter how minor. You can even document it over time and keep a diary of how your home is affected by the burst pipe. If property was damaged because of the burst pipe such as furniture, it’s important you document this as well. You should also write down how it happened, where it occurred, and if negligence from another was involved.
- Call Your Insurance Company – After documenting the event, you should call your insurance company immediately. It’s important you don’t use the word “flood,” because most homeowner’s policies don’t include flood insurance. Ask the adjuster what the recommended course of action is and keep notes of the conversation such as date, the name of the adjuster and what they said.
- Read and Review Your Insurance Policy – You will need to take another look at your insurance policy after a burst pipe. Reviewing it yourself will save you the hassle of trying to understand what your adjuster is saying. It can be complicated and involve a lot of fine print but familiarizing yourself with it will help your case.
- Hire Legal Representation – The next best step is to hire an experienced insurance claims attorney. A lawyer can analyze your policy, conversations with adjusters, evidence and any other relevant information to your claim. They can then draft and file the claim for you so you can receive the maximum benefit from your policy.
National Flood Insurance Program – Visit the official website for the National Flood Insurance Program, an organization that helps property owners in at-risk areas to protect themselves from natural disaster related damages. Access their site to learn more about flood insurance, how to reduce the cost of flood insurance, and where your home is on a flood map.
How to Protect Your Home from Water Damage – Visit the official website for the Insurance Information Institute (III), an organization dedicated to informing others of general insurance policies. Access their site to learn more about water damage in the home and how to prevent it.
Burst Pipes Attorney in Hillsborough County, Florida
If your claim for a burst pipe was undervalued or denied, it’s time to call Germain Law Group, P.A.. Michael B. Germain is a trusted insurance claims attorney with years of experience. He has litigated water damage cases for numerous people and have helped them recover from their losses.
Contact Germain Law Group, P.A. today by calling (813) 835-8888 for a free consultation. Attorney Germain will sit with you, look over your policy and advise you on the next best step. Germain Law Group, P.A. litigates matters for people throughout the greater Tampa metropolitan area including Brandon, Plant City, Saint Petersburg, Temple Terrace, New Port Richey and Clearwater.
This article was last updated on June 21, 2019.