Disaster Restoration, Roofing & Remodeling | Stash Property Restoration

Water Backup Coverage: What It Is and Why You Need It

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How safe is your property from different types of damage? It all depends on what your homeowner’s insurance policy covers. Most of the standard policies will provide coverage for accidental and sudden water damage that occurs in the home. This would include water damage caused by a burst pipe, for example. Some homeowners may feel that’s all they need, or they may mistakenly believe that it provides more protection than it does.

When water backs up through the sewers and drains, or when it overflows from a sump pump, the standard policies are lacking. They will not provide coverage for your home. This can lead to some unwelcome surprises when you talk with your insurance company after one of these mishaps. You may find out that you have to pay out of pocket.

Close the Gap with Water Backup Coverage

Having such a large gap in your policy is common, but it’s something you should remedy as soon as possible. To do this, you will need water backup coverage. Other terms used by insurance companies include sump pump backup coverage or sewer coverage. It is one of the best and most useful insurance endorsements to add to your homeowner’s policy.

This coverage will protect your home and personal property if water damage occurs due to sewer, drain, or sump pump overflow and/or backup. Most insurance companies offer this type of coverage, and it tends to be relatively cheap. You likely won’t notice too much of an increase in the annual cost of your policy, as noted below.

How Much Coverage Should You Get?

When you are determining just how much you should get, you will have to consider a few things.

Many companies will provide between $5,000 and $25,000 in coverage. You need to see what your insurance company offers and how much it will cost. If you feel they don’t provide enough protection with their options, check other companies to see if they have a better choice.

Typically, the water backup coverage will cost an extra $30 to $70 per year for $5,000. To have more coverage, it will generally add an extra $25 to $35 annually for each additional $5,000 in coverage you get. There will often be a deductible that you need to pay to get a payout for your claim. Again, the cost of the deductible varies between companies.

Additionally, consider how much it would cost to replace everything that could potentially be damaged by water backup. You want to make sure that you consider the value of your personal belongings, furniture, flooring, etc. that could be damaged if the sewer were to back up. Make sure you have enough coverage to take care of all of those financial problems in case of disaster. It’s always better to have more than you need than less.

What Is and Isn’t Covered by Water Backup Coverage?

Disaster Restoration, Roofing & Remodeling | Stash Property Restoration
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The coverage tends to be straightforward. You can be reimbursed for water damage to your personal property or the structure of your home in certain cases. If the water comes from overflow or discharge of a sewer, drain, or sump pump, you should be covered. The same is true if you have any systems in place that are meant to remove subsurface water from the foundation area that doesn’t work. You can even be reimbursed if the issue stems from mechanical issues with the sump pump or similar devices.

However, you also need to know what is not included with water backup coverage. If the damage is due to waves, tsunamis, flooding, or tidal water, you will not be covered. Any sort of overflow from a body of water, whether it is a nearby river or your pool, will not be included in the policy.

Water backup coverage will not include wear and tear or issues with maintenance. For example, if you broke your sump pump or didn’t turn it on, the insurance company is not required to pay your claim. Additionally, if the water damage breaks your sump pump, the coverage will not pay for it to be repaired or replaced.

What Causes Water Backup?

Disaster Restoration, Roofing & Remodeling | Stash Property Restoration

Water backup occurs for a range of reasons. One of the most common causes is clogs in the drain pipes or the main sewer line. The blockage could come from hair, grease, and any number of other materials. There could also be a clog if the sump pump fails. Tree roots are another issue. They may start growing toward pipes if there is even a small leak because they want access to the water. The roots could cause a hole in the pipe or grow around it and clamp down on it.

Although backups might occur suddenly and seemingly out of nowhere, you will still want to know the signs. The sooner you can find the problem, the sooner it can be rectified.

If you notice bubbles in the sink when water is draining or when you flush the toilet, it may indicate a brewing sewer backup. This is because air gets trapped in clogged drains when water tries to flow past the blockage. The bubbles come back up the drains. If you find that you have more than one clogged drain or if the toilets aren’t flushing properly, it may also indicate a clog that will lead to water backup.

When you notice any of these issues, contact a plumber right away.

Tips to Reduce Your Risk of Backups

You can do a few things that should help to reduce your chance of water backup, although it will not necessarily eliminate the risk.

For starters, make sure you aren’t putting hair down the drain. Get silicone hair catchers for your shower, tub, and bathroom sinks. They will help to prevent much of the hair from getting down into the drains.

Also, beware of how you are disposing of grease. Even when you rinse out a greasy pan with water, if you are putting the grease into the drain, it will start to congeal. The more grease that goes down the drain, the bigger the problem.

Don’t flush wet wipes, and don’t use toilet paper that’s too thick. Have a professional cut tree roots occasionally, and make sure that you properly maintain your sump pump.

Another good piece of advice is to add a backwater prevention valve. This will at least ensure that the sewage flows out of your home and isn’t able to get back inside. You may still need to have your main sewer line flushed, but at least it won’t back up into the house and cause damage. Other drain clogs in the home’s plumbing can still cause issues, though.

Is Water Backup Coverage Necessary?

A lot of people forego water backup coverage, but this tends to be a mistake. It’s better to have the coverage and never need it than to need it and not have it. The coverage is considered by many to be the most useful and essential type of enhancement to add to your insurance.

Given the relatively low cost of water backup coverage, along with the benefits it provides, it’s in your best interest. Even though you may not be required to have the coverage, it is worth it.

Water backups happen far more frequently than many realize. Getting the coverage that you need now helps to ensure protection for your home and your personal belongings. It is peace of mind you will appreciate.

While the typical 5-10k of coverage may be enough for the emergency water clean up and extraction, this is almost always never enough to properly restore a finished basement. We highly recommend discussing your policy in depth with your Insurance Agent or other Insurance Professional to make sure you are adequately insured.

At Stash Property Restoration, we specialize in water removal and cleanup of all types, and we’re ready 24/7 to help you. Call us at 219-924-0266 or send us a message to let us know how we can help.