Caveats Or Cautions When Dealing With Water Backup Insurance
Just as your insurance doesnt cover damage caused by a lack of maintenance to the home, water backup insurance excludes coverage for disasters determined to be caused by a lack of maintenance for your sewer lines. This means that it is up to you to maintain these lines and keep them in a good state of repair or you could find yourself responsible for the cleanup and necessary repairs after all.
This isnt the only thing excluded for coverage with a water backup policy, though.
Flooding is not covered on the policy, nor is overflowing sewers originating elsewhere. The policy also excludes coverage for damage caused by sub-surface water .
Because of the intricacies involved in water backup insurance, it is wise to talk to your insurance agency to be fully informed on its protection and coverage.
Does Your Home Insurance Policy Cover Sewer Backup
Home insurance claims for water damage are common. But depending on what caused the damage, there can be coverage exclusions that many homeowners arent aware of. Some types of water damage are covered under a standard home insurance policy, while others require additional coverage.
Sewer backup insurance is a great option if you live in a low-lying area and have concerns about flooding in your home. Otherwise, you may find your existing policy offers the coverage you need for unpredictable or sudden water damage.
Make Sure Your Drainage System Works
Often, water in your home comes down to preventable drainage problems. A few hours of work could keep the water out. Review this checklist to help:
- Your home’s gutter downspouts should extend at least 10 feet away from the foundation of the house so water is carried away from basement walls.
- Clear your gutters at least twice a year to help prevent them from overflowing. Leaves and debris will clog gutters and can send water back toward your roof, walls or foundation.
- Gutters and downspouts should not be connected to municipal sewage lines.
- Your yard should be graded to slope away from the house so surface water is drained away.
- If your gutters connect to storm sewers, keep drain lines clear.
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Water Backup Coverage Limits
Water backup coverage can reduce your financial losses, but it does have some limitations. First, this coverage will only cover a certain amount of damage, usually between $5,000 and $7,000.
You may also have a deductible for water backup claims thats separate from your normal deductible. A standard deductible for water backup coverage might range from $500 to $1,000.
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Scenarios Where You Want Sewer And Drain Backup Coverage
Do you have sewer and drain backup coverage? If not, lets get into why its important.
Imagine its 3:00 AM and you awaken to hear a splashing sound coming from your finished basement. You jump out of bed and rush to the stairs. From the top of the stairs, you can see laundry baskets floating. By now, the water is only a few inches deep, but its brown and murky, and youre horrified. You put on your rain boots and make your way to the utility room. Its then you realize your sump pump isnt working. The water is pouring in now and dangerously close to reaching the water heater and furnace.
You spend the next few days cleaning up the mess. You phone your insurance agent, only to find out your policy doesnt cover sewer and drain backup damage. This is the exact situation in which you would need sewer and drain backup coverage.
The Civil Engineering Research Foundation indicates that the rate of sewer backup incidents is increasing at a rate of 3 percent a year. Sewer and drain backup coverage is not included in most standard homeowners policies, nor is it covered by standard flood insurance.
Homeowners Responsibility For Sewer Maintenance
Most homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer lateralthat is, the pipeline between the city sanitary sewer main and the building.
The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner and the homeowners responsibility includes any part of the lateral that extends into the street or public right of way. A cracked or deteriorated lateral or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to the problem.
For homeowners who want to insure themselves against sewer backups, coverage is available from most providers for a nominal cost.
What Does Water Backup Cover
Water Backup may help cover water damage caused by:
- Drain and sewer backups
- Plumbing appliances such as dishwashers, washing machines, and water heaters
- Sump pumps and other systems designed to remove water from the foundation of your home even if the damage is due to a mechanical breakdown
To give an example, let’s say the sump pump in your basement malfunctions and causes damage to the carpet and washing machine. Water Backup will help cover the cost of replacing the carpet and washing machine but not the sump pump or other equipment that contributed to the damage.
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Homeowner Responsibilities For Sewer Maintenance
Most homeowners may not realize that they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of their house or sewer linethat is, the pipeline between the city sewer main and the building.
The sewer line is owned and maintained by the property owner and the homeowners responsibility includes any part of the line that extends into the street or public right of way. A cracked or deteriorated line or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to the problem.
For homeowners who want to insure themselves against sewer backups and the expense of repairs of service lines, coverage is available from most insurance companies we work with for a nominal cost.
Sewer And Backup Coverage Is A Must For Most Homeowners Heres What You Need To Know
I have been in the commercial insurance industry working as a risk management & safety professional now for 27 years, and have owned a homeowners insurance policy now for a total of 29 years and have been lucky enough to have never turned in an insurance claim.
Working for an insurance agency that also provides personal lines and writes thousands of homeowner policies, I have overheard my fair of share of nightmare stories of sewer and back-up claims over the years and have never really had a family member, co-worker or neighbor experience a claim – until now.
After returning home from work after receiving several inches of rain last month, my daughter discovered that her furnace wasnt working and thought that it had something to do with the fact that it was on its last leg after 30-plus years of service.
But after attempting to go down into the crawl space to inspect the furnace, we discovered an 18-20 inch deep swimming pool had formed in her crawl space after debris had lodged into her sump pump well, causing it to stay in the off position.
Most personal-lines agents will not recommend sewer and backup coverage on most homes with a crawl space and instead will suggest it for most homes with a basement. Luckily for my risk-averse daughter who also works in the insurance industry, she had picked up coverage and was able to get her antique furnace replaced and moved up and out of the crawl space after paying her deductible, saving her a total of $4500.
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How Much Does Sewer Backup Coverage Cover
First, its important to consider how much coverage youll need. So, it can be helpful to think of sewer damage backup coverage as a specific type of property insurance. You want to make sure that the plan you get doesnt only cover the cost of the sewer system, but also anything that was destroyed by the sewage.
How much your sewer backup insurance will actually cover depends on your home insurance policy as a whole and what state you live in, since policy limits can vary by state. These limits can range anywhere from $5,000 to $10,000 worth of coverage. Some states can also offer coverage for the same amount that youve insured your house for.
Either way, make sure that your home even qualifies for sewer backup coverage. If you live in a flood-prone area or somewhere where its very likely for underground systems to be damaged, a carrier may not offer you sewer backup coverage at all.
How To Prevent Sewer Backup
Aside from having the peace of mind from sewer backup coverage, there are also some ways that you can try to prevent sewer backups from happening. Theres no guaranteed way to stop it, but these preventative measures can help lower your risk.
- Properly dispose of oils, fats, and cooking grease. Never dump them down the drain this can form blockages in your plumbing.
- Repair and replace old or damaged plumbing, including the pipes that run between your home and the sewer main. Update old clay or cast-iron sewer lines to plastic or PVC pipe.
- Install a sump pump to pump out any water that collects at its lowest point in your basement.
- Get a backwater prevention valve that will allow water to pass through a pipe in only one direction. In the event of a backup, the valve will close up, preventing water and sewage from coming up through the drains.
With a better understanding of sewer backup coverage, we hope that you can make an informed decision on this optional coverage. If youre looking for reliable and cost-effective home insurance that doesnt compromise on coverage, you have come to the right place! With access to many insurance companies across the company, BIG can get you a quote in just minutes. Contact us for a free, no-obligation quote to see how much you could be saving.
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How Much Sewer Backup Coverage Do I Need
For help on deciding how much coverage you need, ask these questions:
- Are there any water backups that your home has suffered in the past? Was your home subject to water backup losses in the past? If so, how much was paid?
- Are you able to access your basement? Is the basement finished? What size is the finished areas?
- What flooring and wall material do you want in your basement?
- What size bathroom is there in your basement?
- Is your basement equipped with HVAC equipment, water heaters, or washer and dryer?
If you take all the details into consideration, you should be able to determine how much water backup coverage you require.
You might consider a lower limit if your basement is not finished with high-end finishes. If your basement features high-end flooring or wall finishes and a fully finished bathroom, you may want to increase your limits.
What Is Sewer Backup Coverage And Do I Need It
Hey, wait. Whats that smell? And why is yard covered in muck? You may have a sewer backup problem, and it could cost you hundreds if not thousands of dollars to fix. Great. Sewer backups are something that many people never see coming, so a lot of homeowners skip on sewer backup coverage. Or worse, they dont know that they can get it. If youre one of these homeowners, heres a rundown of what sewer backup insurance is and how it can be a lifesaver if you own a home.
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What Can Sewer Backup Insurance Cover
Sewer backup insurance can cover water damage that arises from unexpected sewer flooding something a standard home insurance policy does not. Some homes are more likely to need this optional coverage if theyre below sea level and more prone to flooding. Home insurance policyholders who live in low-lying areas are therefore more likely to have sewer backup coverage offered to them by their insurance provider.
Without this added policy coverage, you could discover you have little to no coverage in the event of a serious flood. The cost to repair a flooded basement can easily reach into the tens of thousands. Whereas the cost of adding sewer backup coverage to your policy is minimal in comparison to the repair costs, especially if you live in a location where sewer backup is an issue. Again, this coverage is optional, but it may be recommended by your home insurance provider if you live in a high-risk area.
How Does Sewer Backup Insurance Work
Its never fun to find standing sewage in your basement due to a burst pipe or blocked sewer pipe. This type of damage is not only disgusting, it can also be expensive. The cost to clean and repair your home can quickly add up and in most cases, this type of damage is not covered by your homeowners insurance unless you have added a sewer backup endorsement to your policy.
Keep reading to learn how sewer backup insurance works and why you should consider adding it to your insurance portfolio.
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What Is Sewer Backup
Sewer backups happen when wastewater flows back into your home from municipal sewer lines. Sudden downpours, heavy rainfall or melting snow can overburden sewers and stormwater infrastructure and lead to sewage backup by seeping into your basement through floor drains. It can also be caused by a blockage in your plumbing or sewage systems.
Sewer backup water is, well, dangerous and disgusting. Sewage water carries dangerous bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illness. It may also contain toxic pesticides, residuals from pharmaceutical drugs, and protozoan, all of which pose a significant danger to people and pets.
Dealing with a sewer backup can quickly become a costly ordeal because it requires professional training and equipment to ensure that this type of contamination is dealt with safely, which is why you should consider sewer backup coverage.
What Is Covered By Water Backup Coverage
A standard water or sewer backup coverage endorsement reimburses you for water damage to the structure of your home or personal property if its discharged or overflows from the following:
A sewer or drain
A sump, sump pump, or related equipment, even if the overflow or discharge occurred because of mechanical issues
Any system designed to remove subsurface water from the foundation area
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Is Flooding Covered By Sewer Backup Insurance
If your septic tank backs up into your home the damage would be covered as it is related to the sewer system, but if your home is simply flooded due to storm surge or rain, the damage would not be covered. You would need a separate flood insurance policy as homeowners insurance also excludes flood damage. Flooding damage must be related to your sewer system to be covered.
Why Do You Need Sewer And Drain Backup
Sewer and drain backup is one of the most common home insurance claims we see. Surprisingly, we often see no coverage for sewer and drain backup on competitors policies! Sewer and drain backup coverage is not normally automatically included on a home insurance policy. It is even more rare to find sewer and drain backup on a renters or landlord policy.
What is sewer and drain backup coverage?
Sewer and drain backup coverage usually applies when water escapes, overflows or discharges from a sump pump or other similar system designed to remove water away from your home. The coverage also includes water backup that originates through no fault of their own. For example, if the main sewer line gets clogged up the block from your house. Water backup might occur through a floor drain, sump pit or other drain in your home.
What sewer and drain coverage doesnt cover:
There are a number of situations that sewer and drain backup doesnt cover. These are some of the most common water related claims that wont be covered by this endorsement:
- Seepage through walls.
- Surface water entering your house through windows and doors.
- Overflow of creeks, rivers, streams or other bodies of water.
- Rain water entering your house through windows or doors
What to look for
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When Should You Consider Water Backup Coverage
There are a couple situations when water backup coverage might make more sense. First, you may want to consider this coverage if you live in an area with a lot of rain. While water backup insurance wont cover damage caused directly by external water, lots of rain can force your sump pump to work harder. And the harder your sump pump has to work, the more likely you are to run into issues.
You may also want to consider water backup coverage if you have an old sump pump. That being said, you should make sure your sump pump is well-maintained even if its older. Otherwise, your insurance provider may deny your water backup claim.
Even if neither of these situations apply to you, water backup coverage may still be worth it. With the prevalence of sewer backups, the aging infrastructure in the U.S., and the affordability of water backup coverage, its worth seriously considering this protection for your home.
Whats Not Covered By A Water Backup And Sump Overflow
Water backup coverage typically does not pay for damage caused by:
- Broken sump pump. Malfunctioning equipment is usually covered by an equipment breakdown endorsement.
- External water. Flooding, storm surge, and overflow of outside bodies of water arenât covered by this endorsement. For that, you usually need flood insurance.
- Neglect and poor maintenance. Home insurance doesnt cover damage caused by wear and tear and lack of maintenance, and this endorsement typically doesnt either.
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