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Old 11-04-2011, 07:25 AM
 
Location: Somewhere over the Rainbow
625 posts, read 3,262,887 times
Reputation: 439

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Hi,

Ok so here is my dilemma. In 2010 when we had 50-60mph winds and rain for about 2 days one of the trees in my front yard fell over. I paid to get it cut up and hauled away even though some people said go through your homeowners insurance (I have NJ Manufacturers). Well fast forward to last month my basement shower was backing up with mainly tissue and stinky water everytime the upstairs toilet was flushed. I had my main line snaked about 60 days before that. The plumber comes in and tells me that the tree from over a year ago must have caused a "buckle" or something like that in the pipe from the street to my house and eventually this will keep happening until I replace the pipe or it completely rots out. The cost would be around $6k . Now I thought the city had to pay for that but he says no the city says the homeowner is responsible for those repairs. Now I'm no expert at this but wtf am I paying a $60 and $80 sewer and water bill for besides using it to flush and wash! Now there is no way I can come up with $6k and forget about taking out a line of credit I lost my job for a while and barely made my mortgage payments and cc bills so my credit is shot. Is this something my homeowners insurance could possibly cover? FYI I am in Paterson and my property taxes are over $7k so I am definitely pissed.
Thanks
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:33 AM
 
Location: Warren County and loving it!
5,079 posts, read 7,246,669 times
Reputation: 2557
If it was caused by the tree, call your homeowner's. They just may pay for it.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:38 AM
 
1,041 posts, read 2,441,074 times
Reputation: 764
Its my understanding, pipes are your responsibility UP TO THE STREET. Once you get to the curb, its on the city to fix. Did the plumber use a camera to scope the line to see where the problem was?

If you didnt get a scope, then this is all just speculation. You could have a bunch of things contributing to the backup.

Was the line snaked from the cleanout out to the street? Did he pull and debris when he pulled the snake out?
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:40 AM
 
14,777 posts, read 34,498,385 times
Reputation: 14278
From what I understand, the homeowner is responsible for the sewer line from the house to the trap by the street. If the issue is in your part of the line, the city will not help you. I understand being frustrated over what you pay in taxes and water/sewer fees, but this is how it works everywhere AFAIK. What your water/sewer fees pay for is the infrastructure throughout the town, treatment and delivery of water to your house and treatment of sewerage.

I have no idea whether or not your homeowners policy would cover it, that is entirely based on your individual policy. My in-laws had an issue and there's was NOT covered, because the damage to their orangeburg pipes (they have a 150 year old Victorian) was determined to be long term failure and not a sudden event, hence it was a maintenance issue, not a loss issue. In your case I think it would come down to proving that it was a "sudden loss" since the falling tree did the damage. Proving that would be up to your plumber and engineer getting the insurance companies folks to agree with that version of events. However, this is all dependent on your policy.

How did the plumber determine what caused the failure? Did he put an actual camera through the pipe and determine that the pipe was bent and the damage was most likely from the tree, or was this just his "best guess"? If he didn't run a camera through the line to determine exactly what's going on, you need to get another plumber out there.
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Old 11-04-2011, 07:42 AM
 
6,209 posts, read 6,582,043 times
Reputation: 3091
It sounds like your insurance should cover it. You may even submit the costs from the removal of the trees too. You've got everything to gain nothing to lose by calling and asking or just take a look at your policy.
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:05 AM
 
Location: Somewhere over the Rainbow
625 posts, read 3,262,887 times
Reputation: 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyStarksNJ View Post
Its my understanding, pipes are your responsibility UP TO THE STREET. Once you get to the curb, its on the city to fix. Did the plumber use a camera to scope the line to see where the problem was?

If you didnt get a scope, then this is all just speculation. You could have a bunch of things contributing to the backup.

Was the line snaked from the cleanout out to the street? Did he pull and debris when he pulled the snake out?
He did use a camera this last time. He did not pull out any debri when he snaked the mainline a little over 90 days ago.
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Old 11-04-2011, 08:07 AM
 
Location: Somewhere over the Rainbow
625 posts, read 3,262,887 times
Reputation: 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by NJGOAT View Post
From what I understand, the homeowner is responsible for the sewer line from the house to the trap by the street. If the issue is in your part of the line, the city will not help you. I understand being frustrated over what you pay in taxes and water/sewer fees, but this is how it works everywhere AFAIK. What your water/sewer fees pay for is the infrastructure throughout the town, treatment and delivery of water to your house and treatment of sewerage.

I have no idea whether or not your homeowners policy would cover it, that is entirely based on your individual policy. My in-laws had an issue and there's was NOT covered, because the damage to their orangeburg pipes (they have a 150 year old Victorian) was determined to be long term failure and not a sudden event, hence it was a maintenance issue, not a loss issue. In your case I think it would come down to proving that it was a "sudden loss" since the falling tree did the damage. Proving that would be up to your plumber and engineer getting the insurance companies folks to agree with that version of events. However, this is all dependent on your policy.

How did the plumber determine what caused the failure? Did he put an actual camera through the pipe and determine that the pipe was bent and the damage was most likely from the tree, or was this just his "best guess"? If he didn't run a camera through the line to determine exactly what's going on, you need to get another plumber out there.
Thanks for the info. He did use a camera and I definitely need to get a couple more estimates before I stress myself out any further.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:11 AM
 
1,041 posts, read 2,441,074 times
Reputation: 764
Quote:
Originally Posted by neekah18 View Post
He did use a camera this last time. He did not pull out any debri when he snaked the mainline a little over 90 days ago.
So what did he see with the camera? Those cameras usually have a beacon so they can tell from the surface where the problem is. Did your plumber not do that?

What exactly did he do, since he didnt pull back any debris, and he didnt pin point the problem with the scope?
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:16 AM
 
Location: Somewhere over the Rainbow
625 posts, read 3,262,887 times
Reputation: 439
Quote:
Originally Posted by TonyStarksNJ View Post
So what did he see with the camera? Those cameras usually have a beacon so they can tell from the surface where the problem is. Did your plumber not do that?

What exactly did he do, since he didnt pull back any debris, and he didnt pin point the problem with the scope?
Basically he said there is a bow in the pipe that could have been caused by the tree root when it fell. He said that after used a camera to see what was causing the problem because he said after he flushed he could hear the water running through the pipe.

When he came the first time and snaked the mainline all he did was snake it until the water that was visible went down along with the water that was in the shower drain. I paid $330 for that visit . But I didn't see any debri come up.
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Old 11-04-2011, 11:35 AM
 
Location: Randolph, NJ
4,074 posts, read 7,045,383 times
Reputation: 3231
Quote:
Originally Posted by jmking View Post
It sounds like your insurance should cover it. You may even submit the costs from the removal of the trees too. You've got everything to gain nothing to lose by calling and asking or just take a look at your policy.

This seems very very optimistic. Good luck, but with the passage of time, I don't know how you're going to get coverage for the tree or prove that it caused this issue.
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