Will insurance pay to replace sewer pipes for root damage?

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Jeffrey Johnson is a legal writer with a focus on personal injury. He has worked on personal injury and sovereign immunity litigation in addition to experience in family, estate, and criminal law. He earned a J.D. from the University of Baltimore and has worked in legal offices and non-profits in Maryland, Texas, and North Carolina. He has also earned an MFA in screenwriting from Chapman Univer...

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UPDATED: Dec 12, 2010

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Insurance Question from Castro Valley, CA

Asked on 12/12/2010

Will insurance pay to replace sewer pipes for root damage? We found out my mom's sewer pipe has cracked due to tree roots that have grown in the pipes over the years. She found this out because the toliet overflowed and after a video inspection of the sewer pipe, it was noted that roots have grown in the pipes and they are cracked in 3 different places. Should her insurance company pay for the repair and replacment of the sewer pipes?

Answer given on December 17, 2010

Unfortunately, the homeowner policy is set up to pay for damages to your home and contents, not the pipes leading into it.  The tree roots are a maintenance issue and up to your mother to maintain as she would any appliance in her home.  The homeowner policy is for “sudden and accidental” damage to your home.

The toilet back up, and the damage caused to the home, will be covered by the homeowner policy, subject to its deductible.  Your mother should call her insurance agent to confirm her deductible before submitting a claim.  Many homeowner policies will raise the rates if there is a loss, so be sure the amount she will collect is worth the loss of the claim free discount.  She should also talk to the plumber to see if they will offer a better rate for repairs since there may be no insurance coverage available.


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