Standard home insurance policies typically include coverage for sewer line replacement as part of their “other structures” protection, which safeguards structures like sheds or garages that are not insured separately. However, not all types of damage to your sewer line are covered by your homeowners insurance policy’s “other structures” coverage.
For sewer line damage to be covered, the cause must be an event that is clearly beyond your control and the damaged section of pipe must be located on your property. If the damage is not within your property line, repairs are the responsibility of whoever owns the property where the damaged pipe section is located.
If the damage to the sewer line is caused by a preventable or chronic issue, your homeowners insurance most likely will not cover the cost of repairs or replacement parts. On the other hand, if the damage to the pipe occurs on your property due to a sudden and unexpected event, the damage may be covered by your homeowners insurance.
Many homeowners insurance policies’ “other structures” coverage has a limit of 10% of the home’s insured value, meaning the insurance policy will cover insured damages to sewer lines on your property up to a maximum of 1/10th of the value for which your home is insured. Even in scenarios when your homeowners insurance will pay for sewer line repair or replacement, the 10% limit may not be enough to cover the entire bill.
When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Sewer Line Replacement?
Normally, homeowners insurance only covers sewer line replacement if the damage occurs due to a sudden and unexpected event that is completely outside of the homeowner’s control. These types of events are often referred to as “covered perils.” According to most standard homeowners insurance policies, covered perils for sewer lines include:
- Hail or windstorms
- Lightning or fire
- Vehicle or aircraft accidents
- Falling objects
The most important points to remember are that your homeowners insurance policy will usually only pay for sewer line replacement if the damage is located on your property and if the damage occurred because of a specific, unexpected event over which you had no control.
However, even if the cause of the damage meets all of these requirements, there are still a few scenarios in which your homeowners insurance is not likely to pay for sewer line replacement, as we’ll explain below.
When Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover Sewer Line Replacement?
Unfortunately for homeowners, the most common causes of sewer line damage are not covered perils. Costs associated with any damages caused by chronic or preventable problems like sewage backup, tree root encroachment, or normal wear and tear are typically the responsibility of the homeowner.
For example, if a sewer line fails due to incorrect installation, faulty parts, or improper maintenance, homeowners insurance will usually not cover the cost of repair or replacement.
Many homeowners wonder whether or not their property’s sewer lines are covered by homeowners insurance in the event of a natural disaster like a hurricane, flood, or earthquake. There’s no one-size-fits-all answer to this question. There is a great degree of variance from policy to policy when it comes to natural disaster coverage for sewer lines.
Most homeowners insurance policies do not come with coverage for sewer line damage resulting from floods or earthquakes; if you live in an area prone to either of these kinds of natural disasters, it may be a good idea to secure extra coverage specifically for flood or earthquake protection.
Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Septic Tank Repair?
Much like damage to your sewer lines, damage to your septic system may be covered under your homeowners insurance policy’s “other structures” protection if the damage was caused by a sudden, unexpected event outside of your control.
However, if the damage was preventable (through better maintenance or keeping a better eye on tree root growth, for instance), it will probably not be covered by homeowners insurance.
How to Get Homeowners Insurance that Covers Sewer Line Replacement
Many providers of homeowners insurance offer endorsements that add coverage for specific events like sewage backups, earthquakes, or floods. The best way to insure the sewer lines on your property against the types of damage not normally covered by homeowners insurance is to add the appropriate endorsements to your policy.
Standard homeowners insurance alone will not fully insure your sewer lines; it’s almost always best to take the extra precautions to ensure you are protected in case there’s an accident that isn’t automatically covered by standard homeowner’s insurance.
How to Prevent Sewer Line Issues
No matter what kind of insurance policy you purchase, you won’t be covered for sewer line damages that occur due to lack of pipe maintenance. Sewer lines undergo regular wear and tear just like every other part of your property’s infrastructure, so it’s very important to take the necessary steps to keep your sewage lines in good shape.
Even in situations where your homeowners insurance may cover sewer line damages, it’s still better to prevent the damage from happening in the first place. Here are a few of the best ways to avoid issues with your property’s sewer lines:
- Have your sewer lines regularly inspected – The best way to stay ahead of costly issues with your pipes is to have them inspected by a professional on a regular basis. If there’s cause for concern, a licensed professional can identify the problem and correct it before it causes an expensive disaster your insurance won’t cover.
- Avoid harsh chemicals and non-biodegradable items – One of the best ways to prevent damage to your sewer lines is to avoid flushing harsh chemicals or non-biodegradable items that can harm the pipes.
- Replace metal pipes – If your sewer system uses older, metal pipes, you can replace them with PVC pipes to improve their durability. PVC pipes won’t corrode the way metal pipes often will.
- Watch for encroaching tree roots – One of the most common causes of sewer line damage that isn’t covered by homeowners insurance is tree roots. When tree roots grow too close to your underground sewer lines, it can cause serious damage to the pipes. You should periodically hire a tree care professional to assess the trees in your yard and take care of any roots that are growing too close to sewer lines.
If you need a sewer line or septic tank repaired or replaced in Hunterdon, Warren, or Somerset County, look no further than Delaware Valley Septic, Sewer & Storm. Our experts can provide you with effective, affordable repair services using non-invasive procedures that never damage your property. Get in touch today for a free estimate!