Sewer Backup Coverage Includes Septic Systems
Many homeowners are under the misconception that to qualify for sewer backup coverage, they need to be connected to a municipal sanitary sewer system. But that’s not the case – backup or discharge from a sewer, septic tank, or storm drain are all covered IF you have the right coverage.
Having sewage backup into your home is not only unsanitary, the damage can be difficult and costly to repair. Most standard home insurance policies do not cover sewer backup, meaning that if you wake up to find three or four inches of raw sewage in your basement, you could be out-of-pocket for cleanup and repairs. Sewer backup coverage can be added to your existing insurance policy, and covers damage that results from water and sewage moving up through drain lines into your home.
What Covered by Sewer Backup Insurance?
Sewer backup insurance is designed to protect you from the financial burden that a sewer backup can bring. This type of insurance covers:
- Incidental damage from sewer or septic system backups, including the cost of cleaning or replacing walls, flooring, and furniture.
- Overflow from a sump, a sump pump, or other related equipment.
Your home will likely need a deep professional cleaning, especially if the sewage found its way into your duct work. You may need to replace your drywall and flooring, as well as furniture and other personal items. Not only does this require a significant time commitment, but the cost can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars.
Coverage amounts and availability vary, and the Brokers and CSRs at DPM Insurance Group can help you determine how much sewer backup coverage you should carry for sufficient protection.
Is My Home at Risk?
Water from sewer systems can carry dangerous bacteria and viruses that can cause serious illnesses in the members of your household. E. Coli, salmonella, and hepatitis are commonly found in sewer water, as well as toxic pesticides, residuals from pharmaceutical drugs, and protozoan, all of which pose a significant danger to people and pets.
A mop and a bucket are far from sufficient for handling the mess; specialized training and equipment are needed to ensure that this type of contamination is taken care of properly.
Your home may be at risk if:
- You live in an older neighbourhood with an ageing sewer system
- Your neighbourhood has a lot of trees and shrubs; roots from these can break into service lines and cause blockages
- Your pipeline system carries both rainwater and sewage
- You live in a low-lying region
Preventing Sewer Backup
While there is no surefire way to ensure that you never experience a sewer backup, there are several preventative measures that you can take to significantly decrease your risk.
Dispose of grease properly: Fats, sauces, and cooking grease should never be dumped down the drain. Once they’re in the drain, these oils will cool and solidify, eventually forming a complete blockage. Instead, pour the oil into a heat-proof container and throw it away.
Replace damaged and outdated pipes: Many homeowners don’t realize that not only are they responsible for the pipes within their home’s structure, but they’re also responsible for maintaining the pipes that run between their home and the sewer main. If you have old clay or cast-iron sewer lines, then update them with plastic or PVC pipe.
Install a backwater prevention valve: A backwater prevention valve allows 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.
Insurance companies offer different types of water damage insurance options, endorsements, and discounts, and comparing these products can be confusing. The brokers and CSRs at DPM Insurance Group can help you weigh your needs and options and build an insurance policy that will best fit you.
While you may, or may not, currently have sewer backup coverage on your policy, knowing about the endorsement is a key way to ensure that you are exposing yourself to an acceptable amount of risk, and getting the most out of your policy.
But sewer backup coverage does have its limits. The first issue is that many insurance companies spend a large amount of money in handling sewer backup claims every year. Because the amount they have been paying out is so high, some have imposed special limits or conditions upon their policies. Some companies may insist on a higher deductible ($2000) onto any sewer backup claim you might have, regardless of the deductible on the rest of your policy (which is typically much lower). The best way to know what conditions are placed on your policy is to ask your broker.
Another drawback is that sewer backup might not be available in certain areas, and that sewer backup does not provide coverage for any other types of water damage, like a flood. Flood coverage or overland water protection is a separate coverage you must purchase. If you would like to learn more about water coverage, and possible extensions to improve your policy, you should speak to one of the brokers or CSRs at any one of DPM Insurance Group’s six offices across Chatham-Kent and Essex County.
Click here for contact information for all of DPM’s offices: https://dpmins.com/locations/