Homeowners Insurance – What Is Sewer Backup?

Sewer Backup InsuranceSewer Backup Coverage is available by endorsement to Homeowners Insurance Policies by most insurance carriers. The standard homeowners insurance form excludes coverage for damage caused by sewer backup; it is important to be able to differentiate between water damage from a failed water source and the backup of the home’s drainage system.

Most home insurance policies do not include coverage for sewer backup unless an endorsement is added to the policy and an additional premium is paid. It is not common knowledge that homeowners are responsible for the maintenance of the home’s sewer line all the way out to the city’s sewer main line. Any type of blockage inclusive of tree roots or cracked pipes could cause the home’s drainage system to back up thereby reversing the flow of sewage back into the house via drain openings.

Tree roots are constantly reaching towards moisture; if the sewage line has cracks and seeps water, tree roots will eventually find their way into the pipe seeking the irrigation for their growth. If the city’s main line becomes clogged, this would also be the cause of water backup into the home.

In the event of a flood, only flood insurance will provide for coverage to repair damage. Flood Insurance can be purchased from an insurance company representative as merely a servicer for the National Food Insurance Program. Insurance premium rates are all standardized and approved by Congress; the rates are based on Federal Flood Maps, Community Panels and Flood Elevation Certificates for each specific home. It is important to understand that Homeowners Insurance Policies do not offer any coverage for damage due to floods.

The following items may help prevent the backup of your sewage system:

  1. Grease, cooking oil or other viscous materials should be properly disposed of in a container and not flushed down the drain.
  2. Only toilet tissue is designed to disintegrate in the sewage system; all other products should not be flushed down the toilet.
  3. If your home has an older sewage system, it is highly recommended to replace it with new plastic pipe (ABS) which is very hard to crack and the joints are glued leaving a smooth surface.
  4. Remove all illegal plumbing connections; any garden drains, sump pumps or French drains should not be drained into the sewage system.
  5. You may install a backup prevention valve which will only allow the flow of sewage outward from the home.

Any repairs and/or maintenance should be handled by a licensed, insured and bonded professional.