What is Water/Sewer Backup Coverage?

July 10, 2019


Backed up sewers can cause thousands of dollars in damage to floors, walls, furniture, and electrical systems. And think of the smell and clean up! If this happens to your home or business, will your insurance cover the damage?

Many people assume sewage backup or sump pump overflow is covered by their homeowners or business insurance policies. This is not true! Standard policies don’t cover the damage. If it is on the policy, the coverage is minimal.

The good news is that water and sewer backup coverage can be purchased under your homeowner’s or commercial property policy and it’s very affordable. We recommend that all property owners have this coverage even if you have an unfinished basement or lower level. Water that backs up from a sewer or drain can create a clean-up nightmare and also damage appliances like electrical circuitry, furnaces and water heaters as well as personal belongings stored in your lower level.

What Protection Does Water/Sewer Backup Provide?

The backup of water or waterborne materials through a sewer or through a drain
Water or waterborne material that overflows from a sump, even if the backup of water is due to the mechanical breakdown of the sump pump. Coverage includes damage to covered property but excludes the sump pump and any related equipment that has broken down

Water and Sewer Backup vs. Flood Insurance

Water and sewer backup coverage is different from flood insurance and neither are automatically part of a homeowner’s policy.

Water backup occurs when water or water-borne materials back up into your home. This can come through sewers, drains, a sump pump, or related equipment.

Flooding occurs when water enters a home through windows, doors, window wells or cracks in the foundation. This can be caused by an overflow of rivers or lakes, melting snow or even excessive rainfall. If you live in a flood zone or have concerns about flood damage, please contact us for more information.

How to prevent backups:

Some water and sewer backups are unavoidable, but there are some simple things you can do to prevent backups in your sewer line:

Paper products: Do not flush anything other than toilet paper down your drain.
Cooking grease: Instead of rinsing grease down your drain, dispose of cooled grease in your garbage.
Shrub and tree roots: It’s common for the roots of trees and shrubs to make their way into sewer line cracks. Over time, the cracks allow debris to build up. If you have continuing problems with tree roots in your sewer lateral, consider replacing it with a pipe made of plastic.
Illegal plumbing connections: Connecting flood control systems to your sanitary sewer only spells trouble. Consult a plumber to correct any illegal connections.

The cost of sewer backup coverage is affordable. Our Mountaineer Insurance Services team can provide you with more information about coverage costs, limits and deductibles. Contact us at to learn more about this coverage and all the affordable ways we can help you to protect your home, business, and personal property.