Norfolk

Norfolk homeowner discovers insurance won't cover plumbing damage

NORFOLK, Va. (WAVY) -- A lot of time has passed since Melvin Johnson Sr. moved to his home on North Ingleside Drive -- about 40 years.

He says he already had a homeowner policy with Allstate back then, and has been with them ever since.

He contacted them right after Easter Sunday when his grandson discovered a water leak in a guest bathroom.

"So I got down and looked and the tile was falling," Johnson said.

Then he looked where he had had some wood stacked in the hallway and found more damage. Then, in the carpeted closet in a guest bedroom.

"[I took the carpet up] and there was a lizard looking at me."

Johnson says it was a bad drainage pipe.

Allstate sent out two contractors.

First a water damage company came and set up a dryer, then a few days later, a plumber. A company spokesman says they were part of the company's network of experts who can assess damage quickly.

Both contractors concluded that the damage was from a long-term leak, likely a rusted pipe. That makes it a home maintenance issue, and something that isn't covered by Johnson's policy.

Johnson says he can't see through walls, and the time lapse shouldn't matter.

"I don't care if it's 10 years from now, I'm paying for protection."

Johnson got estimates -- $2,500 for the walls and flooring, another $800 for the plumbing. At 80 years old and on a fixed income, he says and his wife can't afford that kind of money and he's even more concerned about safety.

"All my grandchildren come over here. Somebody's gonna fall through this floor."


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