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Sewer Backup “It” Happens more than you think!

Life’s not always sunshine and rainbows… When you shop for insurance for your home, it’s good to anticipate all of the headaches that can go along with homeownership. One of the nastiest problems you might face is a sewer backup.

The potential for damage from sewer backups is something everyone should consider. When sewage flows into your home, it can cause thousands of dollars in damage. The Insurance Information Institute says that typical home insurance and flood insurance policies won’t cover the expenses from a sewer backup. That would not be good!

Sewer backups are a growing problem in the United States due to aging waste disposal systems. The older your home, the older your pipes are; the older your pipes the more risk you have of a major problem!

If your sewer system’s pipeline combines stormwater and sewage, it’s more likely to become overloaded during harsh weather. Another problem is that tree roots can enter your pipes and cause blockages or breaks. Sometimes the problem originates from within your home. Improperly disposing of cooking grease or flushing inappropriate objects down your toilet such as diapers, feminine hygiene products, or even paper towels can cause blockages.

Many homeowners may not realize they are responsible for the maintenance and repair of the pipeline between the city sewer main, usually located in the street, and their house.

Sewage backup coverage is available from most insurers as a rider to a home insurance policy. FEMA.gov states that coverage for $5,000 to $10,000 in damages can run about $75 to $150 a year, with this there is usually a deductible. Your current homeowners policy may already have some coverage, but how much it covers is important to know so you can make sure the coverage is sufficient for the damage that may occur. The average sewer backup claim runs $7,500 to $10,000, but can be upwards of $50,000!

The cost of the rider will be determined by your risk. If your home has multiple pipes that carry waste, it may be more expensive to insure than a home with fewer sewage outlets, says James Whittle, assistant general counsel and chief claims counsel for the American Insurance Association (AIA).

Remember, if sewage seeps into your home, not only does the spill itself need to be addressed, but your plumbing may need to be flushed and/or replaced. Ductwork carpets, drapes and walls may be soiled beyond repair. While sewer backup coverage helps pay for incidental damage, such as cleaning rugs, walls and furniture, most policies do not cover work on plumbing. We have three carriers that offer “Service Line” coverage which offers up to $15,000 in coverage to repair/replace the sewer line from the street to your home.

Home insurance is very affordable in Utah compared to the surrounding states. Coverage is much more important than cost and for a few hundred dollars you can actually get a much better policy than you realize. Give us a call to review your options and see what makes sense for your situation!