Cast Iron Sewage and Drainage Pipe Insurance (PHILADELPHIA)

17 Replies

I have been looking for insurance on my sewage and drainage pipes in my basement and out to the street. My house is around 100 years old which is common in Roxborough, Philadelphia and they have these old cast iron pipes. I've called Home Serve, Aqua, Geico, Erie, and have had no luck so far. All I can seem to get is sewage and water back up coverage but I want to actually insure the pipes in case they break. I just want a plan to cover these pipes because if they go the repair can be 10-15k. If anyone knows of how I can do this it would be greatly appreciated!

They won’t just spontaneously combust on you.  When they near the end of their life they will start to get pitted and develop pin hole leaks on the bottom.  The vertical stretches will likely last longer than horizontal.  Start replacing a few sections at a time.  Cost of pvc is much cheaper than cast iron if you can replace with pvc.

I thought that Erie had it and it was called Underground Service Line Coverage. I don't have the coverage because the space between my street and my house is not very big so the replacement cost is less.

@Matt Tallent

I would talk to an insurance broker to see what they have. If you want a contact, I would be happy to share if you PM me. That said, I can't imagine the cost of repair would be that high. 

Disclaimer: While I’m an attorney licensed to practice in PA, I’m not your attorney. What I wrote above does not create an attorney/client relationship between us. I wrote the above for informational purposes. Do not rely on it for legal advice. Always consult with your attorney before you rely on the above information.

I'm not aware of any company that would insure what sounds like "wear & tear" on those old pipes. You may be able to buy some kind of service line coverage from your utility company but most likely nothing from an insurance carrier.

I used to have this coverage when I lived in NJ after the copper main leaked once.

Here in Philly, I’d be surprised if anyone offers it. ALL the sewer lines will need to be replaced at some point.

Where I live, all are clay drains and galvanized supplies. About 2-3x month there is someone in the neighborhood digging up the sidewalk or street to replace a curb trap or one of the lines.

Roxborough has mostly cast iron, and they are newer - and in many cases still in good working order.

Instead of insurance, I’d put $20-50 away each month in a capex savings account. Whether it’s the pipes or the roof or the windows, something will need to be replaced at some point! The delight of older houses. :)

Who supplies the water in your location?  In our area it's Pennsylvania American Water Co -- they offer both drain and supply line insurance.  If it is a different company that supplies, check with them.

Originally posted by @Matt Tallent :

Most of it is pvc except for where the pipe exits the house which is around a 2000 fix so I was trying to find an alternative. 

PVC or ABS?  Where I am familiar it is ABS.  Never heard of PVC being used for sewer but maybe it is a regional thing.  

I replaced an entire under house with ABS and then a couple years later replaced from the house to the city owned sewer with ABS.  I expect it to last until I am dead.   Will not ever rust.  Does not get the build up at the joints that iron junctions get.  Have you ever looked at 50 year old iron sewage junctions?  Typically the build up has constricted to less than 50% of the original diameter.  This build up results in more clogs.

So I suggest you plan to replace the cast iron.  I think you may save money in plumbing calls in the long run.

Good luck

I was offered the coverage through Philadelphia contributionship insurance. through my broker.. like 2 weeks ago. but if its only $2,000. i would just replace it.

If it is the curb trap you are referring to then it could cost between 5-7k to fix. I've have to repair two in the last two years.

The Philadelphia Contributionship offers insurance against this but I found it to be too expensive ($100 per month).

Let me know if you want to be introduced to my insurance broker. That way to aren't wasting your time calling around to different companies.


So Philadelphia City is our water supplier and I checked online they say they don’t offer insurance. I’ve heard Philadelphia Contributor does offer it and I actually found American Water Resources probably will to. I’m going to call tomorrow and I’ll let you guys know how the policy plays out. Thanks for all the input!

@Matt Tallent What you are looking for is service line coverage.  When you said insurance you will confuse the reps at the utilities company. You can typically get it through the utilities company, added to your property insurance or separately through a vendor.  Philadelphia Contributionship, Erie out of the carriers I represent has it.   Phila can do up 10k to 15k of coverage, Erie is 10k.  You can also call around the local insurance agents and ask them to get more choices.  

Dave is right we are both Erie agents. Erie offers this which included a lot of the coverage you are looking for.

I can send you the job aid that goes of FAQ on the coverage and you can see if that is what you are looking for. Shoot me a message. My office is in Philly.

So far I know Erie, Phila Contribution, and Berkshire Hathaway GUARD are providing this coverage in our market.

@Matt Tallent I live in Manayunk and would not mind meeting for a beer to talk real estate. Sounds like we have different strategies but may run across some deals to share. I buy and hold <50K properties around the city. 


@Matt Tallent ran across this thread looking for options on a property I’m under contract for in Philly and found that Philadelphia has a program the water and sewage line protection program. It looks to be about 10 bucks a month and was started in 2018. I haven’t gotten to dig any deeper into the program. But I hope this helps.