Protect Against Sewer Backups
Sewer backups can be one of the most distressing problems for home-owners to encounter. They're a particularly high risk during spring showers and potential flooding, causing hundreds or even thousands of dollars' worth of damage to individual homes.
The US has more than half a million miles of sewer lines, which means there's an awful lot of potential for things to go wrong, especially as many of them are old and in a poor state of repair. Plus, of course, you can't usually tell when disaster is looming, until trouble actually strikes.
According to the Civil Engineering Research Foundation, the number of backup incidents is rising by about 3 percent a year, caused by multiple factors including aging systems, tree roots, drains that combine storm run-off with sewer lines, and basement flooding.
The Insurance Information Institute (III) says that most homeowners also probably don’t realize that they're 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.
"The sewer lateral is owned and maintained by the property owner including any part that extends into the street or public right of way," III says. "A cracked or deteriorated lateral or one filled with tree roots can allow groundwater to seep into the system, contributing to the problem."
Another thing many people don’t realize is that sewer backups and the building damage they may cause are not normally covered within a homeowner's insurance policy. Nor are they generally covered by flood insurance. Coverage is normally provided either as a separate insurance policy or as an endorsement to the homeowners’ policy. A typical annual premium would be around $50, a relatively small sum compared with the costs you might face if disaster strikes. Protection may also be part of higher-value homeowners' insurance coverage.
In addition, where homes have been severely damaged, a traditional homeowner's policy might provide "loss of use" protection, covering you for food, lodging and other expenses.
Of course, there are also several actions you can take to reduce the risk of a backup or to minimize the damage if an incident does happen. These include installing a backflow preventer, a sump pump and gutters, downspouts and splashpads. Check out this YouTube video for installing a flood guard: http://youtu.be/ywYPNmwI2j4.
Are you adequately covered against this increasing risk? Why not check in with us for your peace of mind?