When considering potential sources of damage to their homes, most people don’t think of a sewage backup. A problem with your sewer line can cause significant and expensive damage to your house and belongings, and your homeowners insurance may not cover the repair bills.
How Does Homeowners Insurance Apply to Sewer Line Damage?
The part of the sewer line that is located on your property falls under your homeowners insurance policy’s coverage for “other structures.” The coverage limit for other structures is generally a percentage of the total amount your house is insured for.
If part of the sewer line on your property gets damaged, your homeowners insurance may or may not cover the cost of repairs. It will depend on the cause of the damage.
Your insurance policy will cover damage caused by events that are outside of your control. If your sewer line is damaged by a storm or a fire, for example, your homeowners insurance should cover it. Note that standard homeowners insurance policies typically exclude coverage for certain perils, such as floods and earthquakes.
You are responsible for maintaining the portion of the sewer line that is on your property. Your homeowners insurance policy won’t cover damage that occurs because you fail to have your sewer line inspected regularly or you don’t make necessary repairs. Your policy may also exclude coverage if a sewer line gets damaged by a tree root.
Some insurance companies offer a service line endorsement that covers damage to sewer lines and other utilities. The number of insurers that offer this type of coverage is limited. You may have to switch to a different insurance company to get a service line endorsement.
If a part of the sewer line that isn’t on your property gets damaged, your homeowners insurance policy won’t apply. In that case, the entity that owns that section of the sewer line, or the entity’s insurance company, will have to pay for repairs.
What About a Sewage Backup?
If sewage backs up and damages your house and belongings, a standard homeowners insurance policy won’t pay for repairs or replacement. You may be able to purchase a sewage backup endorsement for an additional premium. The amount of coverage will be limited and it may not be enough to cover the bills if a sewage backup causes major destruction.
Consider Upgrading Your Insurance Coverage
If you have questions about how your homeowners insurance policy would apply to a sewer problem, contact your insurance company or agent. If you would like additional coverage, inquire about sewage backup and service line endorsements. Find out if your company offers those forms of protection, what they do and don’t cover, and how much adding one or both of those endorsements would raise your premiums. Before you make a decision, compare rates from other insurers to get the best deal available.