What Homeowners Need to Know about Insuring Themselves Against Sewer Backups

May 6, 2015

Although many homeowners think their insurance policies cover sewer backups, they are disappointed when they find out the hard way that sewer backups are not covered. However, there is separate coverage available for this type of problem. When compared to the cost of dealing with a major sewer backup, the cost of additional coverage is very small. Homeowners must maintain and repair the part of the pipeline that connects pipes in their homes to main sewer lines. The parts that connect them are also included. Since a backup can be very costly and messy to deal with, it is important for homeowners to know how to prevent a sewer backup and to understand what causes them.

Tree Roots Interfering With Pipelines
Since trees live on water, their roots typically move toward water sources such as sewer lines. The growth may only start as a few small roots penetrating the pipeline. However, the end result is the roots growing thicker and expanding over time. When a tree root grows so much it spans the inside of the pipeline, it may cause a major blockage or a total clog. If the roots causing the problems are from trees owned by the city, it is important to contact the city's cleanup department promptly. In most cases, they sample the roots to determine who owns the tree and who is responsible for the cleanup bill. If multiple trees owned by the homeowner and the city are both involved, the two parties must split the cleanup bill.

Main Blockages
In the sanitary main, there are many different types of possible blockages. The blockages cause sewage to back up into the home. Since the occurrence is gradual, there is still time to call a plumbing specialist before the house is completely flooded with sewage. There may be water coming in through the basement when this happens. If water is coming in, call the public works office promptly.

Rain Clogging Storm Sewers
If a storm sewer cannot contain the falling rain, a sanitary sewer backup can happen. When this happens, water usually comes into the home through bathtubs, toilets and sump wells located in the basement. Damage is typically confined to the basement but can also be located in other parts of the home. Making sure there is a sump pump and generator available will help prevent the problem.

All of these sewer problems can be very expensive to deal with. Standing water and sewage are health hazards and can destroy almost everything they come into contact with in the home. By calculating the cost to replace items that are damaged and comparing that number to the cost of purchasing additional insurance, it is easy to see what a great investment insurance is. To learn more about this valuable form of coverage and what it entails, discuss concerns with an agent.


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