Polybutylene Plumbing

Plumbing and Insurance: Understanding the Exclusions

One of the first questions we ask prior to quoting your home is a crucial one for homeowners of dwellings older than 1997. What type of plumbing is in your home? If it’s polybutylene plumbing, we have had to pivot on the carriers offered or decline coverage altogether. So the question beckons- why is it so often excluded from insurance coverage??

If your home has polybutylene plumbing, or you’re considering purchasing a home with this type of plumbing, this blog post is for you.

What is Polybutylene Plumbing?

Polybutylene is a type of plastic resin that was used extensively in the manufacture of water supply piping from the late 1970s until the mid-1990s. It was popular due to its low cost and easy installation. However, over time, it was discovered that polybutylene pipes are prone to failure, which can lead to significant water damage.

Why is Polybutylene Plumbing Excluded from Insurance Coverage?

1. High Risk of Failure: Polybutylene pipes are known to deteriorate and fail due to their reaction with oxidants in the water supply. This can lead to leaks and bursts, which can cause extensive water damage to a home.

2. Costly Repairs: When polybutylene pipes fail, the damage is often widespread, requiring costly repairs or replacement of the entire plumbing system.

3. History of Litigation: In the past, there have been numerous lawsuits related to polybutylene plumbing failures, leading to substantial payouts by insurance companies. As a result, many insurers now exclude coverage for homes with polybutylene plumbing.

What Can You Do If Your Home Has Polybutylene Plumbing?

If your home has polybutylene plumbing, there are a few steps you can take:

1. Plumbing Inspection: Have a professional plumber inspect your system to assess its condition. They can identify any potential issues and recommend necessary repairs or replacement.

2. Plumbing Replacement: If your polybutylene plumbing is showing signs of deterioration, it may be best to replace it with a more durable material like copper or PEX. While this can be a significant upfront cost, it can save you from more costly repairs in the future and may make it easier to secure homeowners insurance coverage.

3. Discuss with Your Insurance Agent: If your home has polybutylene plumbing, it’s important to discuss this with your insurance agent. They can help you understand your coverage options and may be able to recommend insurers who specialize in high-risk homes.

In conclusion, while polybutylene plumbing was once a popular choice due to its low cost and easy installation, its high risk of failure has led many insurance companies to exclude it from coverage. If your home has polybutylene plumbing, it’s crucial to have it inspected and potentially replaced to protect your home from water damage.

As always, our experienced insurance agents are here to help you navigate these issues and find the best coverage for your home. Contact us today to learn more!

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