Did you know there are special home insurance policies designed to help homeowners recover from damage caused by sewage backup or sump pump failure? If not, this blog is for you!
First, let’s dig into some misconceptions and examples of how this type of coverage works.
We’ll look at the two types of events separately. Let’s start with sewer backup. When a septic system or a public sewer system is blocked, the sewage seeks the path of least resistance as an “outlet.” For example, a residential neighborhood is located on a hill and experiences a microburst which brings a deluge of rain, overwhelming the sewer system. As the water and debris run down the hill, debris accumulates and blocks the sewer system. The families living on the hill, just above the blockage, suddenly have a geyser of sewage backing up into their homes.
This real-life scenario dispels one of the myths we often hear: “We live on a hill and never have a sewage backup.” When the sewage has no place to go but back into a home just above the system blockage, the home’s location on a hill is irrelevant.
We help homeowners avoid a false sense of security by sharing real stories with them.
In another case, let’s suppose a home on a hill is hit by sewage backup and tree roots grow into the sewer line between the house and the road. The tree roots block the sewer line in the front yard, and the sewage has no place to go but back into the house. As you can imagine, the damage caused by sewage backing into your home can be costly and unpleasant.
Making informed choices to obtain the proper coverage can make a bad experience a little more manageable. The clean-up and the repairs can be covered up to the policy limits for special coverage.
In the case of a sump pump failure, the system installed to remove groundwater can stop working for various reasons. For example, during a heavy rainstorm, when the demands on sump pumps are greatest, a pump can simply burn out.
Another common occurrence is an electric outage during a rainstorm. When the power goes out during a heavy rainstorm, the sump pump stops working, and the water rises in the basement. We have seen cases with lengthy power outages when six feet of water build up in the basement due to a sump pump outage.
In one case, the rising water caused the hot water heater to float, and the supply lines connected to the hot water heater snapped. As a result, the city water system pumps water into the basement, making matters even worse. There are battery backup systems available for sump pumps that provide temporary continuous service in the event of a power outage.
What does the recovery process look like when a sewer backup or sump pump failure occurs?
The first order of business is to remove the sewage and water from the house, including water-damaged carpet, drywall, and personal belongings. Then the process of drying out the home can begin. Of course, the first concern when water or sewage is involved is preventing mold growth in the house. So, drying out is the number one priority. There are special dryers and moisture testing equipment used by mitigation companies specializing in helping property owners recover from water damage events.
While a ‘Do It Yourself’ approach is certainly possible, relying on professionals for mold prevention can provide peace of mind to know your family is safe from hidden health risks.
Knowing what optional coverage is available on your homeowners policy and understanding what that coverage does for you can help you make wise choices. Learning about your coverage at the moment you have an event that damages your home may be too late.
Schedule a review with your insurance agent today to learn about your coverage options.