How can I get my homeowner’s insurance company to pay for a broken sewer pipe?

My plumber says my homeowner’s insurance should cover his repair of the broken sewer pipe in my basement, not the pipe itself but the cost of opening and closing the repair site. I have coverage for water damage, however I was able to stop the laundry before the basement was flooded very much so there is no real damage to the floor. Anyway, the plumber said I should threaten the insurance company with a lawsuit and they will pay. This pipe has to be fixed but I don’t want to waste time and money on a pipe dream if they will not pay anyway.

Asked on March 29, 2017 under Insurance Law, Pennsylvania


SJZ, Member, New York Bar / FreeAdvice Contributing Attorney

Answered 3 years ago | Contributor

There is no way to answer your question in the abstract, because an insurance policy is a contract, and like any other contract, is governed or controlled by its plain terms. The insurer has to pay when--and only when--the terms of the contract (as applied to the facts of the case) require them to pay. Therefore, whether they need to pay here or not depends on what your policy says--What coverage do you have? What exclusions to coverage apply? What are the definitions of different covered (or uncovered) losses? Etc.
You need to review you policy carefully to see if the should cover. If in doubt, bring the policy and any correspondence, etc. from the insurer or their adjuster to an attorney to review with you. IF it turns out that the insurer should pay for this loss, you could sue them for "breach of contract" to force them to do so.

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