Plumbing issues (sneaky plumber inspection) insurance claim

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Sun Dec 02, 2007 3:54 pm

Hello all!
First of all, I am really glad to have found this website!

I have a problem with my mobile home and hope, you guys can give me some information as this is the first time, this happened.

I have a 1977 double-wide with recalled ABC plumbing. Unfortunately, I did not know that the plumbing system was recalled. I have lived in this mobile home for more than 2 years and about 4-6 weeks ago, 2 of the pipes bursted. My neighbor did an emergency repair to stop the leakage but now the floors in the laundry area and bathroom (basically just above the pipes) are badly damaged. There is also mold and the floors discolored and "wavy", if you guys know what I mean.

I had the insurance look at it but since the piping was repaired, the plumber they sent out could not see any piping issues. Which in turn means that the insurance denies the claim because they say this damage was not accidental.

The plumber claimed that he did a "crawl space inspection", "sound check" and "pressure test (60psi)" but the only equipment he had was a flashlight, a notepad and a camera. I am really unhappy about that guy and I am thinking about reporting him. He sent a report to the insurance saying that he did all of these inspections and charged them $275 for about 20-30 minutes of looking at the place.

Sorry for writing so much stuff but I am kind of desperate. The repairs would cost between $1500-2000 (just for the flooring, not considering replacing the recalled piping).

Any of you know, what "crawl space inspection", "sound check" and "pressure test (60psi)" mean exactly? I mean, can anyone define this for me? I want to dispute this because I can simply not afford the repairs.

Thanks a lot and again, sorry for writing so much stuff.


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Sun Dec 02, 2007 4:55 pm

Hi Nina,

Welcome to the forum. The crawl space inspection probably just means he crawled around under your home. A sound check could mean that he listened for drips, hissing and running water. To do an actual pressure test, he would need more than a flashlight and a camera, but if you do not have any current leaks, then it is a safe bet that you would pass a 60# pressure test.

What does puzzle me is that if he had his camera, he should have been able to take a picture of the repaired plumbing to substantiate that there was a plumbing issue repaired. When I work for Foremost and other insurance companies, they often will ask for the removed fittings. But they have not always been available when they asked. I don't know that you are required to keep these items for the insurance company, but I know you are required to take the steps necessary to safeguard your property, and having someone repair the leak would be the right thing to do.

I would not accept this ruling and expect the insurance company to stand behind their policy. I would work with the insurance company to have another inspection of the repairs, and to change their ruling. If they still won't, I would go to your state insurance commissioner. While they may have enough disclaimers and doubletalk in the policy to fight you on this matter, they generally do not want to deal with official complaints.

Once your claim has been approved, be sure that the repair estimate and adjustment includes replacing wet floor insulation and belly wrap. Be sure to look at the bottom of the walls for water damage or stains. Some of this may seem picky, but you will typically need as high of an adjustment as you can get to get your home repaired properly. I would wait until I got approval on the claim before stirring up too much mud on the costs though. Once the claim has been approved, then all legitimate damage would have to be included. Your policy states to return your home to the condition it was in before the water leak. Even small water stains at the bottom of the wall are fair game, when returning your home to it's original condition.

Today is PERFECT!

All information and advice given is for entertainment and informational purposes only. The person doing the work is solely responsible to insure that their work complies with their local building code and OSHA safety regulations.


Sun Dec 02, 2007 5:44 pm

Hi JD,

Thanks for the reply. I am working on putting together a letter to the insurance company. Btw, I am with Century National Ins. What do you think of them?

You brought up a few really good points, thanks a lot. It sounds like a good idea, trying to work w/ the insurance to have another plumber come out.

I'll keep you guys posted. Have a good Sunday!

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Joined: Sat Feb 17, 2007 10:16 pm
Location: Eastern N. Carolina

Sun Dec 02, 2007 6:47 pm


If I am not mistaken the time has passed for you to file a claim on the plumbing class action lawsuit.

Also keep in mind that your insurance company will only restore your home to its original condition. This means that 10 yo old flooring, particle board flooring will not be upgraded to plywood, nor the floor covering to something "really nice". They deduct for depreciation purposes.

JD is correct that your underbelly and insulation that got wet will need to be replaced, and the inspector should of taken pics of all the damage.

Oh, Welcome to the site and sorry you had to find us under these conditions.

Happy Holidays,

The difference between success and failure is who gives up first!

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Joined: Wed Feb 28, 2007 8:01 pm
Location: Weedsport, NY

Sun Dec 02, 2007 8:21 pm

Nina, Hi & welcome. basic flooring repair is not all that hard to do, it is time consuming. If the insurance company continues to give you the run around rest assured that it is a job you can do yourself, plus you have the the best support team in the world right here.
Yanita is right, the deadline for the class action suit has gone by long ago. As far as I know it payed pennies on the dollar any way.
I would recommend Mark's book avalable in the books & parts section of this site. Mark is the owner of this site and wrote a how to book on mobile home repair, it covers about every aspect & problem you may encounter. Greg
"If I can't fix it, I can screw it up so bad no one else can either."


Sun Dec 02, 2007 10:20 pm

I second Greg's opinion about buying the book. Even if you have someone else do the repairs, you'll be able to tell if they're doing it right.

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Joined: Tue Feb 27, 2007 7:27 pm
Location: Iowa

Mon Dec 03, 2007 6:19 am

The liability rests with the manufacturer, however since that has long since expired, it will be up to you to fix.

It sounds like the problem was anticipated, not accidental. Home insurance is different than say auto insurance. There are more exclusions, because the stakes are higher, for the most part. I'd never seen so many exclusions in one place before I read my mh policy.

Have you read the policy and exclusions? There may be a loophole, but from what I know about mh insurance I'd say the cost to fix the problem rests with you.

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Joined: Tue Jun 05, 2007 7:58 pm
Location: Edmonton,AB Canada

Sat Dec 08, 2007 10:59 pm

Sorry to hear about your problems. Here in Canada(Alberta) the insurance company is responsible for the repair of the damaged areas but not the actual part that caused the damage. the reason i can tell you this is my neighbour across the road just went through this and like so many out here have found out plumbers do not want to work on these homes. One company quoted them 1500 to replace the damaged lines and after a short conversation with the company the price rose to over 3000. Being a good person i did do the plumbing job and after all was said and done the actual cost to my neighbours was only about 1200 for the entire home to be redone.guess i work cheap. the insurance company paid for the replacement of damaged floors,insulation and belly tarp so TALK to the insurance company as they do indeed have a responsibility to repair the damage that was caused by the sudden release or escape of water, less your deductible.
The dirtyist word in the dictionary takes many too soon and leaves nothing but anger and pain. We all mourn the loss of those that have succummed to this......