A sewer backup issue can be one of the most distressing problems for a homeowner to encounter. At this time of year, homes are at high risk, causing hundreds or even thousands of dollars’ worth of damage to them. The United States has more than half a million miles of sewer lines, which means there is a lot of potential for things to go wrong, especially as most of these lines are old and in poor state of repair.
The number of sewer backup incidents is rising by about three percent each year, according to the Civil Engineering Research Foundation. This rise is caused by a few factors including aging systems, tree roots, drains that combine storm run-off with sewer lines and basement flooding.
Most homeowners don’t realize that they are responsible for the repair and maintenance of their house or sewer “lateral”, the pipeline that runs between their building and the city sanitary sewer main line usually in the street outside, says the Insurance Information Institute (III).
“The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that extends into the street or public right of way,” says III. “A cracked or deteriorated lateral or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to the problem.” Homeowners may not realize that sewer backup and the building damage they may cause are not normally covered with a homeowners’ insurance policy. These damages are not generally covered by a flood policy either.
Sewer backup coverage is not normally provided on a standard homeowners policy. This coverage is added as an endorsement on your policy and it typically costs between $100 and $150 annually depending on the amount of coverage you choose. This extra premium is relatively small compared to the other costs you might face if a disaster happens. If your home has been severely damaged, a typical homeowners policy may provide “loss of use” protection, covering you for food, lodging and other expenses.
There are many actions you can take to reduce the risk of backup or to minimize the damage if an incident does happen. This includes installing a backflow preventer, a sump pump, and making sure your gutters and downspouts are clear.
If you aren’t sure you have adequately coverage, please don’t hesitate to give one of the agents at R.C. Keller & Company a call at 847-907-4520. We will be able to help and give you the peace of mind you deserve.