Many communities in the United States have flood conditions at certain times of the year. Floods can result in water backups from sewage lines as tree roots can grow into the pipes outside your home, causing wastewater to back up in sewers or drains.
Water may come up through the basement floor due to sewer backups if you have a basement. According to the I.I.I, water backups are increasing at 3% annually.
Water backups create unsanitary conditions and can result in property damage. Unfortunately, many homes and business insurance policies do not cover water backups unless requested, per the Insurance Information Institute (I.I.I.)
You can protect your home and belongings with water backup coverage. Your homeowner’s insurance company may not include it in your policy. However, most insurance providers offer this coverage.
So let’s delve more deeply into water backup coverage and prevention.
What Is Water Backup Coverage?
Water backup insurance is offered as an add-on to the homeowner’s insurance policy; It covers your house and belongings in case of sewage or sump pump backups.
This coverage will probably be subject to a deductible. So, bear that in mind when making insurance claims.
What Does a Water Backup Endorsement Cover?
This additional coverage pays for water damage to the structure of your home in the case of the following situations:
- A sewer line or drain overflow
- Sump pump overflow with or without mechanical issues (must maintain pump for most policies)
- Backup from subsurface water filtration near the foundation
- Heavy rain incursion
- Sudden and accidental damage to the septic tank
Here are examples of items water backup insurance typically doesn’t cover:
It won’t pay if your sump pump fails due to poor maintenance. However, you can request equipment breakdown coverage if you want reimbursement for failed equipment. Ask your insurance provider if you can add it to your policy.
- Damage from flooding
- Surface water, tsunamis, or overflow of lakes or other bodies of water
- Swimming pool overflow
- Burst pipes
- Wear and tear of equipment
Consult a plumber to fix issues that could cause a backup both covered by insurance and not covered by insurance.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Water Damage from Toilet Overflows?
While every policy is different, most do not include a toilet overflow. A standard homeowners insurance policy typically excludes water damage. Riders may be available to offer coverage for specific items at an additional cost. For example, it covers backups from the sewer system discussed above.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Cesspool Collapse?
If your septic tank collapses due to a covered peril under your homeowner’s insurance, you will probably receive reimbursement for the damages. Understanding the types of water damage covered by your homeowner’s insurance is essential.
A septic system is not part of your home’s main structure since it is a feature found outside your home. Therefore, it’s critical to check with your insurance carrier to understand the coverage for damage to your septic tank. You can get a rider covering a cesspool collapse for additional coverage.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover French Drain?
Exterior, or interior French, drains go by many other trade names. It’s a gravel-filled trench that holds a perforated pipe. French drains direct surface water away from your home. Unfortunately, most homeowners insurance policies do not cover French drains unless you have a specific rider that lists this feature in your coverage.
Having a proper drainage system can prevent water incursion through your basement floors.
What Does a Water Backup Endorsement Not Cover?
Water backup endorsements do not cover flooding since that requires a separate policy. They are addendums to your homeowner’s insurance. This insurance also does not cover negligence. Therefore, your insurance will not cover the damage if you forget to turn on the sump pump and your basement floods. Likewise, it doesn’t cover leaks from your water heater.
Average Cost of Water Backup Endorsements
Sewer backup coverage typically costs between $25 to $60 in addition to your homeowner’s premium. This amount isn’t all that much money if you consider how much it would cost to repair the damage of a sewer backup out of pocket. Depending on your location, this coverage could be critical. If you live in a municipality that frequently floods, you should consider this endorsement for your home.
How Much Water Backup Coverage Do I Need?
Consumer Reports suggest that water backup coverage is critical to cover sewer backups if you live in areas prone to natural disasters. Consider adding coverage for 25% beyond your regular homeowner’s limits to cover labor and materials to fix sewage backup damage.
Water Backup Coverage Limits
The water backup coverage endorsement will have a separate limit from your homeowner’s insurance. Typically, add-ons such as sewage backup coverage will cap off add a percentage of your total homeowner’s insurance coverage. However, check with your insurance company directly to make sure that you understand how much coverage you have.
Water Backup Coverage Renters Insurance
You can add water backup coverage to a renters insurance policy. It covers the abovementioned risks and may protect you from dangers like washing machine water backup. Please review the policy carefully with your insurance agent to fully understand it. Water backup coverage is the proper insurance to consider if you live on the first floor or near oceans or rivers prone to flooding.
Water Backup Coverage for Condos
As with regular homeowners insurance, condo insurance doesn’t typically include water backup coverage without an add-on such as an endorsement. Consider adding water and sewer backup coverage to your policy to protect your condo, personal belongings, and furniture fully. The personal property coverage of your condo insurance only covers the perils listed on the policy. File a claim to recoup losses due to covered water backup damage.
Do I Need Water Backup Coverage?
Whether you need sewer backup coverage is ultimately a personal decision. If you live in low elevation areas, in a flood zone, or in an older home or building, it’s always a good idea to get as much insurance as you can afford. You must buy flood insurance separately from homeowners insurance and water backup insurance. If your insurance doesn’t offer this coverage, talk to your agent about home insurance companies that do.
Do I Need Water Backup Coverage for My Apartment?
Whether you rent or own an apartment, you may want to cover your belongings and property in the event of backups in the sewers or drains. But, first, talk to your insurance provider to determine your options to protect your apartment from blockages in the sewer lines. Filing a claim for water backup coverage is probably cheaper and less hassle than paying the damages out of your bank account.