Does Home Insurance Cover Septic Tank Damage?

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Septic tank damage is a nightmare. Added to the filthy mess, the damage also incurs pricey repair bills for the homeowner. It pops the question here, “Does Home Insurance Cover Septic Tank Damage?” Well, since the tank is a crucial aspect of your property, a standard home insurance policy will usually cover protection for septic tank damage. But there is a clause: the damage has to be sudden and devoid of human interference. Your homeowners policy won’t reimburse your tank repair bills if the damage is borne from maintenance issues or human carelessness.

The post below will help you to understand the situation better.

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When will you receive insurance coverage for your septic tank?

As mentioned previously, your insurer will only extend coverage if the tank has got damaged suddenly and without human error. Put simply, if it’s the case that the damage was unavoidable despite proper maintenance measures, then you will most likely get coverage. According to experts, 16 cases are tagged as the topmost causes behind sudden damage in a septic tank. Some of these are:

  • Fire accidents caused by lightning
  • Hail damage
  • Damage caused by aircraft
  • Pipe freezing
  • Theft & vandalism
  • Ice damage
  • Explosions

How much insurance coverage will you get?

It’s to note here that your home insurance policy is not going to reimburse the entire repair bill you have to pay to fix your septic tank. Mostly, the coverage amount will be restricted to 10% of your total home insurance value. So, if the total home insurance value is $400,000, you will get $50,000 for the coverage. Now, again, the coverage amount may vary from one insurer to another. Thus, be careful to take a survey on at least 4-5 insurance companies beforehand for a comparative study on the coverage amount. The bottom line is you have to ensure, the coverage that you will be getting would be able to accommodate a fair share of the repair or replacement costs.

The cost of repairing or replacing a septic tank may range from $5,000-$30,000. In that light, if you can manage a standard $300,000 insurance policy for your home, you will have all the repair costs (for septic tank damage) covered conveniently.

When will your insurance policy not cover septic tank damage?

Once again, your home insurance policy won’t be ready to cover for septic tank damage caused by human carelessness and poor maintenance habits. So, you can’t expect coverage if:

  • Damage is caused by flushing chemicals, oils, and solids
  • Drive over the tank
  • Unmanaged growth of tree roots inside the tank
  • Pipe freezing
  • No proper drainage outlet
  • Faulty cesspool construction

In simpler words, if the damage was something that could have been prevented or avoided by the homeowner, your insurance policy won’t shoulder the responsibility.

However, you will get coverage if septic tank damage affects other areas of your home. For example, if the damage results in an unwanted flow of scup or waste materials inside your home, you will be covered. Your home insurance policy will extend coverage for bills related from repairing damaged carpets, professional mopping of the floor or removal of fecal material. 

Moreover, a standard home insurance policy won’t offer you coverage for septic tank damage if it’s caused by “Act of God” disasters. The most common examples here would be earthquake and flood. If you are staying in a flood-prone or earthquake-prone area, it’s better to sign up with individual flood insurance or earthquake insurance for safety.

Look for adjuster in cases of disagreement

There could be situations where the damage has been caused without human error but the insurance company is not ready to accept it. For example, your insurer may deny paying a claim for tank damage even when you are particular about tank maintenance. In such situations, you will need to consult an adjuster. The adjuster will review your case and negotiate with your insurance company to ensure the right coverage for you. But in case the insurer is still not ready to pay, you have every right to lodge a complaint with the insurance department of your State.

Be careful about maintenance of septic tank

There are certain actions that you should follow to prevent septic tank damage and offset repair bills. As we have discussed above, if the damage is caused by your negligence, it’s you who have to bear the entire burden of repair. And, repairing a damaged septic tank is any day a pricey affair. It’s better to be safe than sorry. The piece below outlines the steps to be taken to ensure proper maintenance of septic tank:

Regular inspection

According to experts, you must carry regular inspection on your septic tank to know when to pump. Pumping on time will go a long way to prevent risks of system failure. You will need to pump your tank if:

  • Bottom of scum accumulation is just 3” away from the bottom of the outlet device
  • Top of sludge is 12” away from the bottom of the outlet

Signs of system failure

Be careful of warnings of system failure:

  • Gurgling noise in the plumbing system
  • Surfacing sewage, foul odors, wet spots, and growth of vegetation in the drain field
  • Backups in the septic tank
  • Sloth draining fixtures

Never put certain items into the septic system

To keep the tank in the best of health, be careful not to throw these items into flush:

  • Fuels or motor oils
  • Grease or fat
  • Nut/egg shells and coffee grounds
  • Disposable diapers
  • Condom, tampons and sanitary napkin
  • Cigarette butts
  • Rags or paper towel
  • Chemicals or paints

No heavy thing over a tank

Do not ever place anything heavy on the tank as the high pressure may affect the soil & cause serious damage to system pipes. Do not park your car or build a pool close to a septic system of your home.

No tank additives on a regular basis

Tank additives show temporary relief but can be dangerous in the long run if you tend to use them regularly.

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