How does sewer backup insurance work?

23 Jul

It’s 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.

Sewer Backup Insurance Explained

This coverage, which is usually available as an endorsement to a homeowners policy or as a standalone policy, covers damage caused by standing sewage in a bathtub, toilet, basement or other areas of your home. 

Sewer backup coverage will help cover the cost to repair your sewer line as well as the cost of cleaning up and removing the sewage and water. Sewer line insurance is also known as water backup insurance, sewer backup as well as drain line backup coverage.

This coverage is necessary because most standard homeowner policies do not cover sewer backup damage. While homeowners insurance typically covers plumbing issues such as broken and leaking pipes, it doesn’t cover a sewer system. Sewer coverage can often be purchased as a rider or endorsement on your policy or as a separate policy altogether. 

What causes a sewer backup?

A sewer issue can result from several factors. Here are just a few things than can cause a sewer backup:

  • Clogged pipes: if your drainpipe becomes clogged it can cause your sewer to backup into your home. Not performing general maintenance, flushing non-degradable items, or even flushing large amounts of toilet paper can lead to clogs. 
  • Tree roots: Tree roots are a common cause of sewer line damage. They can break the pipe causing a leak or even a collapse of the pipe.
  • Broken line: Sewer pipes can simply break or degrade over the years due to the pressure on them as well as old age. 

What does sewer backup cover?

Sewer backup coverage will cover damage to your sewer line that runs from your home to the city sewer main. It will typically cover the cost to clean up the standing sewage in your home as well as any damage it does, up to your coverage limits. 

There are exclusions to coverage, intentional damage is always excluded as would improperly installed or faulty plumbing. In some cases, if a lack of maintenance directly led to the problem, your claim may be denied.

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. 

How expensive is sewer backup insurance?

While it varies by a number of factors related to your home, in general, expect to spend between $50 and $300 a year on sewer backup coverage. 

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