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Does your insurance policy cover you when a toilet overflows, the drains back up, a sewer line breaks or sends water gushing in from the street, or when the sump pump malfunctions? …. Well that depends.

Sewage overflows or water back-up is one of the most common issues for property owners but is also one of the most overlooked or misunderstood from an insurance coverage standpoint.

All insurance policies are not equal and it is common for an insurance policy to not automatically include water back-up or sewage back-up coverage. This coverage is typically added by your insurance agent by endorsement or coverage enhancement.

Some policies will include coverage for water back up through sewers or drains as long as they originate on premises, meaning, if the toilet or shower drain get clogged and overflows causing damage, this may be covered. But if the sewer line in the street backs up and causes the overflow, this is not covered. Most policies specifically exclude water backups from sump pumps.

Now is a good time to review your policy with your agent and it is advisable to ensure you get coverage for sewage back-ups added to your policy if it is not already there.

What to do if you Experience a Sewer Backup?

A sewer backup can lead to disease, destruction of your valuables, damage to your house or business, and can even result in electrical malfunctions. Prompt cleanup of the affected property can help minimize the inconvenience and prevent mold and further damage. In the event of sewer backup, immediately arrange for the cleanup of your property. This should include:

  • Wet-vacuuming or removing spillage
  • Mopping floors and wiping walls with soap and disinfectant
  • Flushing out and disinfecting plumbing fixtures
  • Steam cleaning or removing wet carpets or drapes
  • Repairing or removing damaged wallboard or wall covering
  • Cleanup of ductwork