Does Chicago Homeowners Insurance Cover Polybutylene Plumbing?

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Does Chicago Homeowners Insurance Cover Polybutylene Plumbing?

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Polybutylene is a nightmare when it comes to home insurance
Polybutylene is a nightmare when it comes to home insurance

Polybutylene (aka poly-b, Qest, Quest pipe, pb-1 pipe, or just plain "poly pipe") plumbing, once a popular choice for residential plumbing systems, has gained a notorious reputation for its susceptibility to failure and subsequent water damage.

It's often a matter of when, not if, all your Chicago polybutylene plumbing needs replacing. We have an article that breaks down why Polybutylene plumbing fails.

If you're a homeowner in Chicago grappling with concerns about polybutylene plumbing, understanding how your homeowners insurance policy comes into play is crucial. We will walk you through whether Chicago homeowners insurance covers polybutylene plumbing, if it will pay to replace your outdated pipes, and how much it costs to replace your polybutylene pipes in your Chicago home.

Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Polybutylene Plumbing in Chicago?

Polybutylene/Quest plumbing is a type of plastic piping that was commonly installed in homes between the 1970s and 1990s. While initially seen as a cost-effective alternative to copper piping, polybutylene pipes have since been associated with a high risk of ruptures, leaks, and subsequent property damage.

It is important to know what Chicago homeowners insurance covers when it comes to polybutylene plumbing.

Homeowners Insurance Coverage in Chicago

  • Water Damage Coverage: Most standard homeowners insurance policies in Chicago provide coverage for sudden and accidental water damage. This typically includes damage caused by burst pipes. However, coverage might vary depending on the specific terms and conditions outlined in your policy. For example, Allstate Insurance, which operates in multiple areas including Chicago, will only cover damages from a leak that is "sudden and accidental".
  • Polybutylene Exclusion: Many homeowners insurance policies in Chicago explicitly exclude coverage for damages resulting from polybutylene plumbing systems. Insurers consider polybutylene pipes a high-risk feature due to their known tendency to fail. As a result, any damage caused by polybutylene plumbing may not be covered under your policy. Recently, we've seen a spike in homeowners contacting us when their insurance company imposed rate increases and/or applied exclusions of leak coverage, even when there had been no claims or poly pipe leaks. State Farm Homeowners Insurance clearly states that their homeowners insurance policy has "limits for water damage due to such things as a broken pipe", with water damage falling under one of their excluded perils.
  • Endorsements or Riders: Some insurance companies may offer endorsements or riders that provide coverage for polybutylene plumbing-related issues for an additional premium. If you're concerned about the risks associated with polybutylene pipes, you can inquire with your insurer about the availability of such endorsements to enhance your coverage.

While homeowners insurance in Chicago typically covers sudden and accidental water damage, coverage for damages related to polybutylene plumbing may be limited or excluded altogether.

It's essential for homeowners with polybutylene plumbing systems to thoroughly understand their insurance coverage and take appropriate measures to manage risks effectively.


Will My Chicago Homeowners Insurance Replace Polybutylene Pipes?

We don't believe there are any situations where a current Chicago homeowners insurance policy would pay for a full or even partial replacement of polybutylene pipes.

For example, Allstate Insurance clearly states that their insurance policies will not cover the source of the water damage if a leak has occurred.

mold from a polybutylene pipe leak
Mold from a polybutylene pipe leak

Starting in 2012, following the ruling in a lawsuit between a homeowner and State Farm Insurance ( Guadiana v. State Farm Fire & Cas. Co.), most insurance companies added specific exclusions to ensure they would not be required to replace homeowners' poly pipes. We have a detailed article on lawsuits involving polybutylene pipes.

Homeowners should carefully review their policy documents, consult with their insurer, and explore all available options to address polybutylene plumbing concerns effectively.


What to Do if You Have Polybutylene Plumbing

If your Chicago home still has polybutylene plumbing and you are worried about your homeowners insurance, there are a number of steps to follow to ensure that your home is protected against any water damage or poly-b plumbing issues:

  1. Assess Your Coverage: Review your homeowners insurance policy to understand whether it provides coverage for polybutylene plumbing-related damages.
  2. Consult Your Insurance Provider: If you're uncertain about your coverage or need clarification on policy terms, don't hesitate to reach out to your insurance provider for guidance.
  3. Consider Replacement: Given the high likelihood of failure associated with polybutylene plumbing, considering a full home repipe with more durable and reliable piping material will help mitigate future risks and ensure your insurance coverage.

Even if you haven't experienced leaks or other issues with your polybutylene pipes, it's still important to consider repiping. Some homeowners may not have encountered problems with their poly pipes, but this doesn't mean their luck won't run out.


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

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How Much Does It Cost to Replace Polybutylene Pipes in a Chicago Home?

In Chicago, the cost to replace polybutylene pipes in a home can vary depending on several factors, including the size of the property, accessibility of the plumbing system, and the type of repiping material you select.

Generally, our repipes range from $4,500 for a two-bedroom, one-bath house to up to $15,000 for a larger property with more bathrooms and longer pipe runs. We break down polybutylene replacement factors in our article How Much Does It Cost To Replace Your Polybutylene Pipes?.

The damage caused by a single poly-b water leak can easily exceed the cost of a full home repipe. Slow leaks that go undetected for long periods within walls and behind cabinets can cause mold buildup that is extremely costly and intrusive to remediate.

Our repipes come with a lifetime warranty, can include drywall repair, and are typically completed within 1 or 2 days. Investing in a full home repipe is not only a proactive measure but also a necessary one to mitigate the risk of catastrophic water damage and associated repair costs.

By replacing polybutylene pipes with more durable and reliable materials such as PEX tubing or copper pipes, Chicago homeowners can safeguard their plumbing and ensure their peace of mind for years to come.

Contact us to have one of our local repipe consultants provide a free consultation and quote, delivered in-home or remotely.


Receive a Free Polybutylene Replacement Quote

Here at Repipe Specialists, we've fully replaced polybutylene plumbing in homes across Chicago using both copper piping and PEX tubing. 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 cover repipe cost factors in detail.

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. Fix polybutylene plumbing issues at the source, repipe now.


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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