Galvanized Pipes and Home Insurance: What You Should Know

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Galvanized Pipes and Home Insurance: What You Should Know

Updated:  |  Published:

Insurance companies are dropping coverage for homes with galvanized plumbing
Insurance companies are dropping coverage for homes with galvanized plumbing

Recently, we've heard many horror stories about customers who have had their home insurance policies canceled suddenly and unexpectedly due to the presence of galvanized pipes.

It is important to know how the presence of galvanized pipes might affect your homeowners insurance.

Here at Repipe Specialists, the replacement of corroded old galvanized plumbing is the single most common reason our customers choose to repipe.

In this article, we will break down whether you can insure a home with galvanized pipes, if insurance will cover water damage caused by a galvanized pipe failure, whether insurance will replace your outdated pipes, and why a full home repipe is the best option to ensure the continuation of your home insurance policy.

Can I Insure A Home With Galvanized Pipes?

Depending on your homeowners insurance, you might be able to insure a home with galvanized pipes.

However, there are several important considerations to keep in mind. Galvanized pipes, which were commonly used in homes built before the 1960s, are made of steel coated with a layer of zinc to prevent rusting. We have an article that details what galvanized piping is.

While they were a popular choice for plumbing due to their durability, over time, the zinc coating can erode, leading to rust, corrosion, and potential plumbing issues. These factors can influence the willingness of insurance companies to provide coverage and may affect the terms and cost of the policy.

Factors Affecting Insurance Coverage

  • Age and Condition of the Pipes: The primary concern for insurance companies is the age and current condition of the galvanized pipes. Older pipes are more likely to have significant corrosion and rust buildup, which can lead to leaks or pipe bursts. Insurers such as Liberty Mutual state that the presence of old or outdated pipes may significantly affect your home insurance rate.
  • Inspection Requirements: Many insurance companies will mandate a home inspection to evaluate the plumbing. If the inspection reveals corrosion or signs of leaks, the insurer might require the homeowner to replace the galvanized pipes before issuing or renewing a policy.
  • Risk of Water Damage: Homes with galvanized pipes are at a higher risk of water damage due to potential leaks or pipe bursts. Insurance companies take this risk into account, which might result in higher premiums or more stringent policy terms. Travelers Insurance states that "if a water line breaks on your property due to age, regular wear and tear… the break and resulting water damage isn't likely to fall under your regular coverage." Due to galvanized pipes being a known issue because of their age, it is unlikely that a galvanized pipe leak will be covered under homeowners insurance.
  • Upgrades and Replacements: If the galvanized pipes in your home have been fully replaced with modern materials like copper or PEX, it can positively impact your insurance options. In some cases, insurers might offer discounts for homes with updated plumbing systems. Contact your home insurance provider to see if they offer discounts.
  • Disclosure and Transparency: When applying for homeowners insurance, it is crucial to be transparent about the presence of galvanized pipes. Failing to disclose this information can lead to denied claims or even policy cancellation if a water damage issue arises due to the pipes.

If you're concerned about how the presence of galvanized plumbing will impact the home insurance rates of your home, be sure to contact your insurance provider directly.

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Will Insurance Cover Water Damage From Galvanized Pipes?

Insurance coverage for water damage from galvanized pipes depends on the specifics of your policy.

Generally, sudden and accidental damage, such as a burst pipe, is covered. However, gradual damage from slow leaks or corrosion typically isn't covered by most insurance providers, nor is damage resulting from neglect or lack of maintenance. Most remaining galvanized plumbing is at least 60-70 years old, meaning it is well past its service life and will fall under gradual damage from corrosion.

Allstate Insurance outlines that they will take the presence of galvanized pipes and outdated plumbing into account when calculating your home's insurance coverage. This can cause the cost of your home insurance policy to skyrocket, or for your insurance policy to be canceled outright.

Similarly, USAA will cover water damage if it is sudden or accidental, but won't cover seepage or foundation leaks if they have occurred over time. Note: Galvanized pipes are one of the main causes of slab leaks in the United States.

old galvanized pipe leaking under a slab foundation
Old galvanized pipe leaking under a slab foundation.

Preventive measures, such as repiping with modern materials such as PEX and copper, can mitigate risks and enhance your insurance protection. Always check with your insurer to understand the details of your coverage and consider additional options if necessary.

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Will Insurance Replace My Galvanized Pipes?

Homeowners insurance typically does not cover the cost of replacing galvanized pipes simply due to their age or potential for future problems.

In fact, we don't believe there are any situations where a current homeowners insurance policy would pay for a full or even partial replacement of galvanized pipes.

All galvanized piping will eventually require replacement, and doing it gradually over time will be much more expensive than completing the entire job at once. Additionally, a single leak can lead to more water damage than the cost of a full repipe.

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Should I Repipe My House If It Has Galvanized Plumbing?

If your home still has galvanized plumbing, it is a matter of when, not if, all your galvanized plumbing needs to be replaced.

Here at Repipe Specialists, we have extensive experience in repiping homes with galvanized plumbing. Our expert team will assess your specific needs, provide you with customized solutions, and deliver high-quality repiping services that meet your requirements and budget.

When repiping galvanized plumbing, we recommend using materials such as copper piping or PEX tubing. Both options offer various advantages that address the limitations of galvanized pipes.

  1. Copper piping: Copper has long been a trusted material for plumbing systems. It is known for its durability and longevity. Copper pipes have a proven track record and can last for decades with proper installation and maintenance. We have a thorough article detailing the advantages of copper piping.
  2. PEX tubing: PEX (cross-linked polyethylene) tubing has gained popularity in recent years due to its flexibility, ease of installation, and resistance to corrosion. PEX is a flexible plastic tubing that can be bent and routed through tight spaces, making it ideal for repiping projects. PEX tubing is known for its durability and is less prone to cracking or bursting compared to rigid materials. It is a cost-effective option for homeowners looking for a reliable repiping solution.

The choice between copper piping and PEX tubing will depend on your specific needs, budget, and preferences.

If you're thinking about buying a home with galvanized pipes, it should definitely factor into your offer. However, you should not automatically pass on the house. We have an article that breaks down why galvanized plumbing shouldn't scare you away from buying your dream home.

Ensure the continuation of your home's insurance policy by repiping outdated galvanized pipes. Contact us to have one of our local repipe consultants provide a free consultation and quote, delivered in-home or remotely.

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With over 75,000 repipes completed, we've perfected our One-Stop Repipe™ for your home.

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Get A Quote To Replace Your Galvanized Pipes

Here at Repipe Specialists, we've fully replaced galvanized plumbing in over 75,000 homes since 1991 using both PEX tubing and copper piping. We continually get positive customer feedback from customers about their overall home repipe experiences. We often exceed their expectations on:

  • Speed: Our repipe crews typically complete a repipe in a day, returning on another day for wall patching.
  • Convenience: Through our One-Stop Repipe™ Process, we handle everything from permits, to wall patching, to inspections.
  • Cleanliness: Our crews are trained to protect your home while working (we cover all surfaces with protective sheeting), and to clean up fully at the end of each day.
  • Peace of Mind: Repipe Specialists is a fully licensed plumber in every state we operate in, and we back all of our repipes with a lifetime warranty.
  • Financing programs: To help take the sting out of unplanned repipe expenses, we offer several financing programs.
  • Price: As a specialist that performs hundreds of repipes a week, we can deliver high quality repipes at a lower cost vs generalist plumbers. We have an article that covers repipe cost factors in detail. Our quotes typically range from $4,500 to $15,000 depending on the size and complexity of your project.

Schedule a free in-home consult, and one of our local repipe consultants will explain all your repipe options and provide you with a written, fixed-price quote. Ensure your homeowners insurance policy, repipe your galvanized pipes now.

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About Repipe Specialists

Expert Repiping at an Affordable Cost

Since our founding in 1991, we've been completing residential and multi-family building repipes to the highest standard.

With over 75,000 repipes completed, we've perfected our  One Stop Repipe™ process: providing you with a high quality and convenient repipe experience while offering significant savings compared to traditional plumbers - plus, our work is guaranteed for life.

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