Water Backup and Sump Pump Overflow Insurance

Broken pipes; sump pump overflow; septic backup

Have you ever come home from a long day of work or after being away for the weekend and found a pool of water in your basement? How did it get there, what caused it, and what do I do now? The water may be in your basement because of a few different causes. A pipe may have broken on an upper level of your home and leaked into the basement. Water could have seeped into your basement floors via seepage. It also could have come up via a failed sump pump or clogged drain.

Let’s get the first cause out of the way. Most insurance carriers will cover a claim caused by a broken pipe or burst washing machine hose (up to your policy limits). They will not cover the broken pipe itself but they will cover the ensuing damage.

Now comes the fun stuff, water backup and sump pump coverage, how do I protect myself and what’s actually covered? Let’s start with a few clarifications of what it is and is not.

What is water backup and sump pump overflow coverage?

Water backup coverage is an optional endorsement that you can add to your homeowner’s insurance policy. This coverage may help pay for water damage resulting from a backed-up drain or sump.

What is a water backup and sump overflow?

A discharge or overflow of water caused by a storm drain, sewer pipe, septic pipe, sump pump, backed up toilet or ejector pump.

What does water back up mean?

Water backup occurs when the water around your home’s foundation exceeds the capacity of removal systems to drain it. It can occur from surface water seeping through foundation walls or sewer systems overflowing up through drains in the basement.

Does flood insurance cover water backup?

Flood Insurance does not cover water back up. Flood insurance is a separate type of coverage. It is triggered when groundwater invades two square acres of your property, two adjacent properties from tidal surge or the sudden inundation of normally dry land due to heavy rainfall or mudflow.

Does water backup coverage cover septic tank?

This is an endorsement that may cover some of the damage costs you incur from a septic backing up. Please note that it may not cover the repair of the sewer line or a septic tank.

Now that we have clarification about what a sump pump overflow is, we can discuss the coverage limit options.

I’m sure you see ads daily from insurance carriers offering savings on home insurance, but what they aren’t explaining to you clearly is what they are covering you for and their coverage limitations. When purchasing home insurance a quality agent will ask you many questions including: Do you have a finished basement? Do you store your belongings in the basement? Do you have a sump pump or drain system? Your answers will help your insurance agent determine what product and insurance carrier is best fit for you.

Here’s an example, you have a finished basement that is 800 square feet full of your kid’s toys, a living room set, maybe a guest bedroom set up. On the conservative side let’s say it costs $100 a square foot to finish your basement and you have $25K in contents in the basement. How much coverage do you need and what is your current insurance carrier able to offer? Many of the popular insurance carriers that you see advertised will offer between $5,000 and $15,000 in coverage for a water back up, but is that enough? By my calculation, you have $80,000 in dwelling liability and $25,000 of personal property at risk, so the answer is no.

When you work with an experienced independent insurance agent (aka Daigle & Travers) we can look through our stable of insurance carriers and find a policy that best fits your needs. We represent companies that can write from as little as $5,000 up to the homeowner’s dwelling and contents limits. We represent insurance carriers such as Pure, Chubb, AIG, Cincinnati, BerkleyOne, NatGen and many others that will provide a more accurate level of coverage.

I’m sure you have many questions concerning water back up coverage, that’s what we are here for. Let us help you through the decision-making process.

For more information, reach out to Daigle & Travers Insurance. We have three convenient locations in Connecticut: Wilton, Darien and Westport. One of our many experienced insurance professionals will be able to guide you through the insurance process. We can be reached at 203-655-6974 or at info@dt-ins.com.