Case Law Wednesday – Coverage for Plumbing under your Pool?

Most insurance policies cover losses on an all risk basis if a claim is the result of a direct physical loss. This coverage can be tricky when dealing with damage to the outside of your property. Insurance policies typically contain a section describing what an insurance policy expressly excludes from coverage.

In Kokhan v. Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida [1], the insureds’ experienced significant damage to their pool deck and surrounding structures when their pool’s underground drainpipe developed a leak. The insurer denied their claim, stating that the claim was barred due to the policy’s water damage exclusion. The insureds’ policy included a water damage exclusion that did not provide coverage for water below the surface of the ground, including “water which exerts pressure on or seeps or leaks or flows through a building.”

On appeal, the Fourth Court of Appeals stated that the policy language that the insurance company was referring to was naturally existing water exerting pressure from outside of the plumbing system, not a leak from within the plumbing system itself. This Court concluded that the pool’s underground drainpipe was not excluded from the policy because the water damage was not due to naturally existing ground water. Instead, it was due to the pool’s underground drainpipe leak.

An insurance company may provide coverage for the plumbing under your pool. However, it is important that when you are faced with a leak at your property, you gather information on the nature and time frame of the leak. Additionally, the language contained in your policy is extremely important. As we always caution, insurance coverage and exclusions should be reviewed every year to ensure that coverage is appropriate for the circumstances.

If you have sustained a leak at your property, schedule a consultation with the experienced attorneys at Alvarez Law Group today. Call us at (786) 620-2820 or email to schedule a consultation.

[1] Viatcheslav Kokhan and Zoia Kokhan v. Auto Club Insurance Company of Florida, 4D18-3607 (Fla. 4th DCA 2020)

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