Florida Homeowners Insurance and Polybutylene Pipes

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Florida Homeowners Insurance and Polybutylene Pipes

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Florida homes with poly pipe are losing insurance coverage
Florida homes with poly pipe are losing insurance coverage

Polybutylene pipe (aka Qest, Quest pipe, poly-b, pb-1 pipe, or just plain "poly pipe") was extensively used throughout Florida from the 1970s to the mid-1990s.

However, it has become evident that polybutylene pipes are prone to failure, leading to significant damage to homes. This has prompted many Florida homeowners insurance companies to modify their policies, either limiting coverage for polybutylene or excluding it entirely.

In this article, we will explore how to identify polybutylene plumbing, assess whether Florida homeowners insurance covers damage caused by polybutylene, examine if homeowners insurance assists in replacing outdated pipes, and discuss suitable replacements for your home's plumbing.

How Can I Tell if I Have Polybutylene Plumbing?

If your Florida home was built between the 1970's and 1990's and you have never replaced your plumbing, it is likely you still have polybutylene in your home's plumbing.

Polybutylene piping is usually gray, and you'll only find it in your fresh water potable plumbing system. The tubing is typically 1/2" to 1" in diameter and is flexible. Look around your water heater, pipes in attics or crawl spaces, piping across the ceilings of basements, and supply lines under sinks in cabinets.

PB piping has not been used for drain and sewer lines, nor vent piping. If you find the tell-tale gray tubing, look for the code "PB2110" printed on it. That would confirm your plumbing is polybutylene.

If you suspect you have poly pipes but aren't sure - you can contact us for a free consult, and one of our local repipe consultants would be happy to assist.

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Does Florida Homeowners Insurance Cover Damages Caused by Polybutylene Pipes?

Polybutylene pipes have a known history of failure, so it is important to ensure you are covered for damages.

The coverage for damages caused by polybutylene pipes in Florida homeowners insurance can be limited and often depends on the terms of the individual policy.

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

For example, in Florida, Citizens Property Insurance Corporation will not insure any property with polybutylene plumbing. Citizens is the Florida not-for-profit insurance provider of last resort for homeowners who can't get coverage in the private market.

Similarly, Allstate Insurance, which operates in multiple states including Florida, will only cover damages from a polybutylene leak that is "sudden and accidental".

Lately, 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.

It's crucial for homeowners to review their insurance policies carefully and inquire about any available endorsements.

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Will Florida Homeowners Insurance Replace My Polybutylene Pipes if They Fail?

The replacement of polybutylene pipes in the event of failure is often not covered by standard homeowners insurance policies in Florida.

Here at Repipe Specialists, we don't believe there are any situations where a current homeowners insurance policy would pay for a full or even partial replacement of polybutylene pipes.

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. Prior to this case, many policies were worded to cover water damage plus repairs.

Allstate Insurance says, "Most homeowners insurance policies will not cover the source of the water damage." So even if you have a sudden plumbing failure, if it is polybutylene or not, the replacement of your pipes is not covered under homeowners insurance.

Some insurers may offer specific endorsements or riders for polybutylene pipe coverage, requiring homeowners to opt for additional protection. We have even seen situations where the annual insurance premium due to poly pipes exceeded the cost of the repipe itself. Sometimes running as much as $5000 to $7000 extra in premiums per year, for a small 2 bath single-story home.

If your Florida home still has polybutylene pipes, the only way to ensure your insurance coverage and the longevity of your home's plumbing is to replace your poly pipes.

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What is a Good Replacement for Polybutylene Pipe?

Replacing your polybutylene pipes will save you money and prevent future headaches, even in the short term.

Either copper piping or PEX tubing are suitable repipe materials, but we find that the vast majority of our customers replace their poly pipes with PEX tubing.

The damage caused by a single water leak can easily exceed the cost of a full repipe to PEX tubing. Slow leaks that go undetected for long periods within walls and behind cabinets, or a sudden catastrophic leak, can wreak significant damage to your home and furnishings if you can't quickly shut off the water supply.

Contact us to have one of our local repipe consultants provide you with a free quote and consultation.

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

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Receive a Free Polybutylene Replacement Quote.

Here at Repipe Specialists, we've fully replaced polybutylene plumbing in thousands of homes since 1991 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 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. Fix polybutylene plumbing issues at the source, repipe 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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