A standard homeowners insurance policy protects you from a range of issues that could happen within your property line:
- If your house’s foundation, walls, roof, or garage are damaged, your insurer may need to step in and provide financial compensation.
- Personal items that are stolen, damaged, or destroyed are probably covered by your homeowners policy.
- An insurance company will likely provide liability coverage in case someone who doesn’t live at your house is injured on your property.
Of course, that’s all subject to a variety of factors. But you can still see there are many potential issues covered by a typical homeowners insurance policy.
How about damage caused either by or to sewer lines on your property, though?
On one hand, it’s reasonable to think they are important structural elements for a residence and, thus, covered. On the other, the sewer system at large falls under the public domain, so would someone’s home insurance actually cover any sewer-related damages?
What Will Homeowner’s Insurance Cover (and What Won’t It Cover)?
A homeowner might not think costly repairs from sewer line damage are their responsibility to pay if they believe it’s covered under their home’s insurance policy. But this goes back to the core question of does your insurance cover sewer line damage?
The simple answer here is that a regular homeowners insurance policy usually won’t provide coverage for sewer line damage—at least, not unless you add a rider to your home’s policy. And even then, this added endorsement is still depends on certain factors (which is always the case with insurance).
That said, it is possible your home insurer approves a claim and helps cover your cost of sewer line repair or sewer line replacement—up to the policy’s limits—in certain cases under a standard homeowners insurance policy. This mainly applies to instances of a sewer line on your property that sustains accidental and sudden damage during a covered event.
Realistically, though, covered events like severe storms and explosions do not cause most sewer damage.
Is There a Sewer Line Insurance Policy?
If sewage damage is a potential concern for your home, you will likely want broader coverage than what a standard homeowners insurance policy might cover for sewer lines. As with flood insurance, that means you typically need to go beyond normal homeowners insurance coverage to be protected in case of sewer line backup or damage.
To get that kind of coverage, you will almost certainly need to purchase a separate sewage backup endorsement or rider. Most often, this is actually a part of a larger service line coverage option.
A service line endorsement covers your cable lines, steam pipes, fiber optics, and, yes, sewer lines when they are damaged. We generally recommend service line protection endorsement for Louisianans so you are covered in the event of sewer damage.
Along with riders for your existing homeowners insurance, you can also purchase sewer line coverage as a standalone policy. If you take that route, please be advised that it will not likely cover damage to your house caused by your sewer line.
Is Purchasing Sewer Line Insurance Worth It?
The additional sewer line insurance cost can vary based on several factors such as the provider and what exactly they covered in their service line policy.
While it is an additional cost no matter which option you choose, we feel Louisiana residents should strongly consider making the investment. Along with the fact that sewer backups are more likely in places prone to heavy rains and flooding, they can be an expensive and severe problem. Sewer backups may severely damage your property and bring an increased risk of disease to you and your family.
If you have to endure this horrible situation—and we certainly hope you don’t—you’ll be glad for the coverage these insurance riders provide, as long as the insurance company honors your policy in good faith.
How to Avoid Sewer Line Issues in the First Place
If you are covered under a service line endorsement or sewer line rider and you have sewage backup or another issue related to a sewer line, your insurer should step in and provide any coverage agreed upon in your policy. At the same time, you’d probably just rather not have the problem in the first place.
(And if the home insurance company is not fulfilling their end of the contract like they should, Insurance Claim HQ is here for you.)
The fact of the matter is that issues with sewer lines are most often the result of poor maintenance and human error, rather than normal wear and tear on the system. This means there are actions you can take to reduce the risk of having your sewer backing up:
- If you can fit it into your home maintenance budget, you may want to consider replacing metal pipes with plastic ones. A plastic pipe is more durable and can last a longer time than a metal one. With plastic pipes, you won’t have to worry about rust issues and it’s less likely that tree roots will enter the pipe.
- Always be mindful of what you send down the drain in any of your sinks. Your kitchen sink can become the source of water backup if cooking oils, bacon grease, or other substances clump together and clog the pipe.
- And avoid flushing anything besides waste and toilet paper. This simple measure addresses the most common cause of sewage backup. And it’s worth noting that paper towel and toilet paper aren’t as interchangeable (for flushing purposes) as some people think. Since they are thicker, paper towels can congregate and easily clog up your home’s plumbing. Other items that should go in the trash—and not down the toilet—include diapers, facial wipes, and feminine hygiene products.
Following these tips and having your plumbing inspected regularly can go a long way toward ensuring that you won’t need to fight the insurance company over something like this.
But if the insurance company does want to go toe-to-toe with you, then you need a strong voice on your side.
Need Help Dealing With the Insurance Company After Sewer Line Damage?
Calculating your damages following a sewer line problem can be tricky. Just determining expenses for structural damage alone is complicated. Sewer riders and service line endorsements offered by insurance companies usually go further than just water backup coverage, so it’s important to understand exactly what is and isn’t covered by your policy.
On top of the house and structural issues, you potentially need to factor in damages to personal belongings that are covered as well.
Along with your property, there is also the matter of physical wellbeing. While the foul odor of raw sewage is already bad enough, keep in mind that it can pose a danger to your family’s health and safety. Any medical care needed because of a burst sewer pipe or other sewage backup may cost you money, which might be eligible for compensation from your claim.
As if the challenge of figuring out all the expenses isn’t enough, sometimes a homeowners insurance provider doesn’t offer the compensation you rightfully deserve.
Because we are talking about a serious issue that can cause expensive damage and not simply be mopped up with paper towels, it is especially important that your insurer steps up and fulfills their obligation.
If an insurance adjuster alleges that careless use or neglect on your behalf was responsible for the sewer line damage, the insurer may try to deny your claim. But if you’ve been getting routine plumbing inspections and staying mindful of what goes down the drain and into your house’s plumbing, you need to push back.
Contact Insurance Claim HQ Today
Fighting an insurance company on your own is a daunting task. After all, most insurance providers are multibillion-dollar companies that seem to have unlimited resources at their disposal.
Fortunately, you don’t have to go at it alone. Insurance Claim HQ is always here for you and ready protect your rights as a policyholder. Our attorneys have extensive experience in handling successful insurance claims for clients and we are fully committed to transparency and clear communication with you at every stage of the process.
If you want to turn the tables and show the insurance company who’s in charge, reach out to us for your free consultation.