Did you know that replacing a sewer line can cost thousands of dollars? As septic systems age, they can crack and leak. When this happens, lines can become clogged and wastewater could back up into your home. This could cause even more expensive water damage. It could even expose your family to health risks.
- Many homeowners insurance policies don't cover sewer lines, but a damaged system can be a big inconvenience—and very costly.
- Before buying a separate sewer line insurance policy, check to see what it covers and any exclusions.
- You can get a policy from some insurance companies, or from specialized sewer repair companies.
Why Get Sewer Line Insurance?
Damage to sewer lines can cause you inconvenience and put you on the hook for costly repairs after water damage. A few problems you may come across: sewer line damage, including blockage and back-up of indoor toilets and other plumbing fixtures; a foul sewer gas odor in your home; blocked drains; mold; outdoor water leaks on your lawn; pools of septic water in your yard; sinkholes; rodent or insect infestation; and cracks in your foundation.
No one wants to deal with all of this without having a plan in place. You have a few options when it comes to buying a sewer line protection plan.
Many homeowners insurance policies exclude coverage for sewer lines. But you may be able to add coverage by an endorsement to cover sewer backup. These add-ons are also sometimes called riders to the policy. You can check with your current insurance company to see if this rider is available. If so, you can ask about the specific cost for adding sewer line coverage, along with what types of water damage are covered. Another option is to purchase a policy from a company that specializes in sewer line coverage.
Many homeowners insurance policies don't include sewer coverage automatically; they can be added with an endorsement or rider.
Septic tanks can crack and leak as they age, causing water to back up into your home, causing mold damage and bad smells.
Damaged sewer lines can be expensive and inconvenient to repair.
Make sure the insurance is actually insurance and not just a home service agreement; these companies aren't regulated like insurers.
Be wary of conditions that could void a contract, such as acts of nature like floods.
Check for complaints with the Better Business Bureau.
What Does a Policy Typically Cover?
If you purchase sewer line coverage, the insurance company will schedule a repair for you if you experience damage to your sewer line or if damage is caused by sewer backup.
Before signing on the dotted line, check to see what the policy covers and the policy exclusions. You don't want to find out after a flood that natural disasters aren't covered. Sewer protection insurance should provide coverage for:
· Locating a blockage or sewer line collapse
· Any excavation costs to expose damaged pipes
· Pipe replacement or repair
· Unblocking sewer lines
· Repairing or replacing damaged seals and joints
· Fitting of external vales
· Pipe Cutting
· Backfilling if any areas are disturbed by repairs
Most sewer line insurance companies use local and licensed sewer line professionals to perform repairs. The repairs are guaranteed; normally, you will sign a form saying you are happy with the repair work that has been done on your sewer line.
Regular inspections and pumping will help keep your septic system in good working order. Pumping removes buildup and sludge which will keep your septic system from operating properly.
Where Can You Buy Sewer Line Insurance?
There are a couple of companies that specialize in sewer line insurance: American Water Resources and HomeServe USA. Some companies are not actually insurance companies; they are only selling you a maintenance agreement.
If the company isn't an insurer, it won't be regulated in the same manner. Be sure you check the Better Business Bureau for any complaints before making your final choice.
American Water Resources (AWR) has been in business for over a decade and has over 1.8 million service contracts. The company services homeowners and municipalities across the U.S. and provides services on water lines, sewer lines, in-home plumbing, and interior electrical lines.
The company’s sewer line coverage provides up to $8,000 in repairs for a residential sewer line. This includes $4,000 for sewer service line repair and an extra $4,000 for any sidewalk or road repairs that are needed.
All work done by AWR must meet the standards of state and local codes. Coverage begins at about 30 cents per day, and no home inspection is required. Pricing and payment options may vary by state.
HomeServe USA is an independent contractor providing home repair services and has been in business for over a decade. It is accredited by the Better Business Bureau and provides services to over 4 million homeowners across the U.S. and Canada.
On top of homeowner’s services, HomeServe USA also services more than 450 utility companies and has more than 4.5 million service plans. It provides plans for plumbing, electrical, heating and cooling, and combo plans which cover more than one service.
Sewer line coverage from HomeServe USA has a $0 deductible along with a 24-hour repair service hotline. Only local, licensed, and insured contractors are hired to perform sewer line repairs. There is a one-year guarantee for all sewer line repairs performed by HomeServe USA’s contractors.
The Bottom Line
Every homeowner has a potential risk of having to replace sewer lines. The cost to replace these lines and cover any damage caused by water backup can be very expensive. You will have to weigh the pros and cons and decide if sewer line protection is right for you.
Think about whether coming up with thousands of dollars to replace or repair damage from sewer line backup would be a financial burden for you. If so, you may want to add an endorsement to your homeowners insurance policy. Or, you could purchase a specialized policy covering sewer lines.