It is always important to understand the simple fact that no two insurance policies are created equally. One type of policy may provide more than enough funds to recover from a particular type of disaster, while another policy might provide no funds at all. Your insurance policy should also be tailored to your specific situation. Don’t be fooled by “optional” coverage that you can add to your policy at an additional expense. Some of these concerns are very real and you always want to make sure that your policy will cover you in the event that you really need it. Sewer backup and drain backflow coverage are two of these provisions that are exceedingly important.
As its name suggests, sewer backup coverage is designed to protect homeowners in the event of a city sewer line failing. If a sewer line fails, it may cause sewage to back up into your home. If you think that the city will cover the cost of damages because the backed up sewer line is their responsibility – think again. The city will be the first one to knock on your door and hand you a release letter, telling you that they are not responsible for this incident.
Sewer backup coverage comes with caps ranging from $1,000 to $10,000 or more depending on the insurance company in question. As a general rule, we always recommend $10,000 in coverage. It’s better to have the funds available to recover from disaster and not need them than it is to need the funds and not have them. Sewer water can cause an incredibly amount of damage in a very short period of time. More than that, the city is very difficult to go after from a legal perspective for property damage. Instead of going after the city yourself, the insurance company will instead take the city to task for reimbursement of whatever they end up paying you.
Drain backflow coverage, by comparison, is designed to cover you in the event that your own sewer line breaks or has blockage issues that cause the line to back up and destroy property in your home. As with sewer backup coverage, drain backflow coverage comes with caps of $1,000, $5,000 and $10,000. Some policies do not actually have a cap at all, which means that you will always be covered – even in the event of a catastrophic total loss. For more information about the caps that are available with your insurance company, ask your insurance agent for details.
In these types of situations, we always recommend pursuing an insurance policy with no cap at all. Drain backflow issues can cause tens of thousands of dollars in damage in almost no time at all. What’s worse is that these issues essentially have no warning signs and can happen very unexpectedly.
A backed up sewer drain leaking raw sewage into your home for even a small period of time like an hour can cause an unbelievable amount of damage – we have seen it happen. If you only have $10,000 in coverage and experience $25,000 worth of damage, you will be personally responsible for whatever the insurance company does not provide for. In these situations, it is always best to pursue the maximum amount of coverage available to help prevent these types of unexpected expenses.
For more information about sewage contamination and how it is handled by a professional restoration company, see our “Sewage Cleanup” page for more details.