What is Sewer Backup Insurance?

Sewer backup coverage will protect the homeowner from backups of the sewage system, broken lines, and reimbursement for repairs needed as a result of the damage. The coverage also reimburses the homeowner for expenses related to removing standing water and sewage that may accumulate in the home.

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Sewer backup insurance is protection for damages that occur to the home as a result of the sewage system being backed up. Typically the sewage backup is seen through standing water in a bathtub, toilet, or basement of a home. Knowing what all this protection covers can help you be prepared for this potentially disastrous damage.

Key facts
  • Sewer backup insurance is not typically included in a standard homeowners insurance policy and typically has to be added through an endorsement or rider or has to be purchased as a separate policy.
  • There are a number of causes that lead to sewer backups, most are covered, but perils like flooding are not.
  • The cost of adding on sewer backup coverage is fairly low and is worth looking into.

What is sewer backup coverage?

Sewer backup coverage, which is also known as water backup insurance or drain line backup coinsurance, is insurance that protects a homeowner from damages that may occur from a backup of the sewage system, broken sewage line, or sewage system failure. This coverage also provides the homeowner with reimbursement for standing water or sewage removal that may result from a backup. It is coverage that does not come included in a standard home insurance policy and typically has to be added on through an endorsement rider or an altogether separate policy.

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What does sewer backup insurance cover?

Sewage backup insurance covers many perils that lead to damaged sewer and water lines, backups, and more. Some of the more common perils that lead to sewage system damage which is covered under a sewer backup insurance policy include:

  • Tree roots: tree roots can grow into old, cracked, or already damaged pipes 
  • Blockages or backups in the main line: city sewer systems may have problems as well that ultimately lead to backups at the homeowner’s house
  • Old systems: older sewage systems are more susceptible to causing backups or other issues
  • Sump pump failure: sump pumps help disperse water to prevent flooding, but can fail which leads to a build-up of water that may flood a basement, bathroom, or another area of the home
  • Clogged pipes: pipes can become clogged for various reasons, but are a common cause of backups.

These are just the more common perils that are covered, there are still others that may be covered as well. The coverage is designed to reimburse the homeowner for expenses related to repairing damaged sewer lines on the property, repairing any damage caused by standing water or sewage as the result of a backup, and removing any standing water or sewage in the home.

What is not covered by sewage backup insurance?

Similar to what is not covered under a standard home insurance policy, sewage backup coverage does not cover backups as the result of the:

  • Flooding
  • Neglect
  • Normal wear and tear
  • Gradual damage over time
  • Lack of normal maintenance by the homeowner

Insurance companies assume that it is the responsibility of the homeowner to perform regular maintenance on the sewer system and ensure that there are no easily preventable perils present.

Does sewer backup insurance cover flooding?

No, flooding is never covered by standard homeowners insurance policies or under typical endorsements such as sewage backup insurance. Damage to the sewage system as a result of flooding will only be covered if the homeowner has purchased a separate flooding insurance policy. Flood insurance policies can be purchased through the National Flood Insurance Program.

Please note that the above is talking about flooding in your area being the cause of damage. It is not including sewer backup that causes flooding of the homeowner’s bathroom, basement, or other areas of the home. In most cases, this would be covered.

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Sewage system damage as the result of the homeowner’s municipality

Sewage backups caused by the municipality the homeowner lives in may or may not be covered under a sewage backup insurance policy. Make sure to read through the policy to understand exactly what is and is not covered.

It is also important to keep in mind that sewage backup insurance policies will only cover repair for damages up to the point where the homeowner’s lines meet the municipalities lines. If there is damage to the municipalities lines that connect to your property it will be up to the municipality to repair the damage to what would be considered their property. Your insurance protection only extends as far as your property extends.

How much does sewage backup insurance cost?

Sewage backup insurance costs can vary depending on location, insurer, size and age of a home, amount of coverage desired, etc.

Looking at national averages, the average cost of homeowners insurance is somewhere in the range of $1,300 per year. Adding sewage backup coverage typically adds on average $50 to $250 per year depending on the amount of sewage backup coverage purchased. Homeowners can typically add anywhere from $5,000 to $50,000 of sewage backup coverage to their standard home insurance policy if they desire. 

Sewage backups can lead to extensive and costly damage, so additional coverage at the high end of the spectrum may be worthwhile for the homeowner to look into if they are particularly concerned about this type of damage. This coverage may be more important in some areas of the country than others. It is usually a good thing to talk with your insurance agent to look at options available to you, the costs of various options, and what exactly is covered. Shopping for various insurance providers may be helpful to the homeowner as well.

Summary

Sewage backup insurance is coverage that a homeowner can add to their standard home insurance policy. This coverage will protect the homeowner from backups of the sewage system, broken lines, and reimbursement for repairs needed as a result of the damage. The coverage also reimburses the homeowner for expenses related to removing standing water and sewage that may accumulate in the home. The cost to add on this insurance is fairly minimal to the homeowner. The cost of not adding it on could be massive.

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ABOUT AUTHOR
Kyle has extensive background in financial planning and financial writing. He is an expert in home, auto and life insurance. Kyle holds a Bachelor's degree in Business Administration from San Diego State University and multiple financial planning designations.

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