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According to the Insurance Information Institute, most sewer backups are not covered by a standard homeowners insurance policies, and if your sump pump can’t handle the runoff after a major rainstorm, that isn’t usually covered, either. If you don’t have a home warranty, or didn’t purchase extra coverage just for your sewer system, that flood in your basement may just wash all your money down the drain.
Even though they’re not generally covered by insurance, sewer backups are a fairly common occurrence, and they can be caused by many things, including aging sewer systems and combined pipelines (those which handle storm runoff and sewage in the same system). Blockage of sanitary drains and water seeping into basements are also common, and not covered under standard policies.
What can you do? First look into either special sewage system coverage, or consider a home warranty, which will cover all of the internal systems in your home – including plumbing – that standard insurance doesn’t, then, take a look at these tips to reduce system failure.
- Problems with tree roots in the lines? Replace your old pipe with new plastic. It’s more durable, and cheaper to repair.
- Consult a plumber to fix any illegal plumbing connections that could cause problems down the line.
- Install a backwater protection valve, to make sure that sewage flows out of your home, but can’t flow back in. have a qualified plumber do this.
- Dispose of grease, paper products and other such household trash in the proper way. Grease should never be poured down the drain, and the only paper product that should ever be flushed, is toilet paper.
Remember that insurance companies may not tell you what is or is not covered; it’s up to you to read your policy very carefully, and ask questions about anything you don’t understand in your homeowners policy.