Unfortunately, when you talk about sewer line repair, your homeowner’s insurance will not cover much. You can only claim insurance for the sewer line if it is damaged due to unforeseen consequences such as vehicular damage or damage due to natural disasters. However, if poor maintenance or chronic damage are the causes of damage, you are going to have to pay for repairs out of your pocket.
When can I claim homeowners insurance if my sewer line is damaged?
Technically, the portion of the line on your premises comes under the category “other structure” on your house. This means that ‘specific causes’ of damage will be covered by your homeowner’s insurance, such as:
- Aircraft damage
- Vehicular accident
- Natural disasters – such as hailstorms and windstorms
- Explosions caused by civil unrest – for example, riots
- Volcanic eruption
For clarification, assume the sewer line is damaged by an explosion in your backyard, you will be able to claim coverage on this type of damage. It is essential to understand that the source of the damage has to be the result of an unforeseen consequence or something that is beyond your control. Also, the portion of the sewer line that is damaged must fall within your premises. If the line is not a part of your premises and the part that is outside your house is damaged, you will not be able to claim any coverage. Instead, you are going to have to opt for residential water & sewer line repair.
Unfortunately, the most common causes of sewer line damage are preventable and avoidable, which means repairs costs will not be insurable.
How much insurance coverage can you expect?
General insurance policies for homeowners insurance limit the coverage for “other structures” to up to 10% of the total value your house is insured for. So for instance, if your home has insurance of $500,000, things that come under “other structures” such as your septic tank, your fence, shed, etc. will be covered up to $50,000.
So it is vital that you meticulously go through your insurance policy because you may be covered for less than or more than 10%. However, 10% of coverage should be more than enough as statistics posted by Home Guide determines that typical repair or replacement costs for sewer lines range from $2,250-$5,750.
When does homeowner’s insurance claim become invalid for you?
When your sewer line is damaged by anything that could have been prevented, you will not be able to claim any insurance – it doesn’t matter how minor or severe the damage is.
Physical damage to the line
Physical damages that occur due to negligence, poor upkeep, and inadequate maintenance cannot be insurable. The same goes for faulty installment or construction, or a simple preventable error. Moreover, there is a slew of other factors that a standard homeowner’s insurance policy may not cover. These include:
- Flood damage
- Damage due to earthquake
- Damages caused by pests such as rats, possums, etc.
- Damage caused by tree roots
In cases of earthquake and flood damage, you are going to have to opt for individual insurance policies.
Sewage back up
All standard homeowner’s insurance policies indicate that any damage done to your house as a result of a sewage back up will not be covered. For example, if the sewage water destroys your flooring, your house’s foundations, other water appliances, etc. will not be included. It is vital to understand that the physical damage is the most common form of sewer line deterioration.
Opting for endorsement on the sewage backup
Many insurance companies, providing homeowners coverage, may provide you with an endorsement, which you can add to your insurance policy. However, the endorsement will only cover damages caused by sewage back up. Keep in mind, this endorsement will not cover physical damages. The cost of the endorsement ranges from $40 to $50 per annum.
If you go with the endorsement, you can get up to $10,000 in additional coverage for damages, which you can only claim if a sewage back up damages your house. Also, keep in mind that $10,000 is not nearly enough to cover damage that occurs due to catastrophic sewage back up.
Opting for protection endorsement on your service line
If you want more prominent coverage than standard endorsements for your sewage lines, you can opt for a protection endorsement on your service line. Sadly, there aren’t even a handful of companies that would likely offer you one. In this case, you may need to sift through different insurance providers.
All in all, if you want to avoid costly repairs or replacements, if you are in no mood to spend your hard-earned money on such things, it is important to have your sewage lines inspected once or twice every year. After all, prevention is always better than a cure.
Audrey Throne, the author of this post, is the mother of a 3-year old and a professional blogger by choice. Throne is passionate about lifestyle, business, automotive, technology and management and blogs frequently on these topics. Find her on Twitter: @audrey_throne.