Sewer Back-up Can Be a Drain

Posted by Pekin Insurance on Mar 16, 2016

Imagine walking downstairs to your basement and finding stinky sewage sludge spewing out of your basement drain. Things could not be worse, right?

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Just when you think things couldn't get worse, imagine calling your insurance agent and learning that you aren’t fully covered. Clean-up and restoration after a sewage back-up can run to tens of thousands of dollars, much of it out-of-pocket.

Most people are misinformed about insurance coverage of water back-up of sewers and drains. While many homeowners assume their insurance would cover such an event, the truth is many policies do not. Whether you would be covered in a given scenario can depend on a lot of factors, including how the water got into your basement and the precise wording of your policy. Whether the problem occurred from a failure of your plumbing or a failure in municipal piping off your property can also determine whether you are covered. 

Check the language of your policy and talk to your agent about adding coverage specifically for these problems. An addition to your policy may make sense for you.

But perhaps the best way to deal with sewer back-ups and floods is to do everything possible to make sure they don’t happen in the first place.

Consider hiring a plumber to install a system designed to prevent sewage and water problems. Numerous options are available, including plugs, automated backwater valves, backwater preventers, standpipes, overhead sewers, and more. For dealing with excess ground water or rainwater, a sump pump—with a back-up power system—is essential. A qualified plumber can recommend what options or combinations of options will work best in your situation.

Also, consider preventive maintenance on the sewer pipes on your property, ensuring your pipes are free of tree roots and other obstructions that could eventually lead to a back-up.

Having a basement full of sewage is such a devastating, unpleasant, and expensive occurrence that spending some time, money, and effort on prevention is well worth it.

Sources:
http://www.propertyinsurancecoveragelaw.com/2010/02/articles/insurance/sewer-back-up-losses-a-stinking-coverage-issue-for-policyholders/

http://www.inman.com/2013/02/28/why-insurance-wont-cover-damage-sewer-backup/

http://www.backwater-valves.com/basement-drain-backing-up.asp

https://www.decaturil.gov/citygovernment/publicworks/Sanitary%20Sewer%20Backup%20Education.pdf
  

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