Home Insurance: What is Water Back-Up Insurance

Nov 5, 2020 | Personal Insurance

Home insurance, also commonly called homeowner’s insurance is a type of property coverage that protects a private residence. It is an insurance policy that combines various personal insurance protections, which can include losses that may happen to one’s home, its contents, loss of use or loss of the homeowner’s other personal belongings, as well as liability insurance for unfortunate events that may occur within the property or at the hands of the homeowner within the insured premises. A standard homeowner’s insurance plan insures your house’s structure and your belongings in the event of a destructive event, such as a fire. While insurance for condominiums and co-op- apartments generally covers your belongings, liability, and certain parts of the interior structure as defined in the by-laws or proprietary lease.

Of course, a standard homeowner’s insurance policy covers certain types of water damage as long as it’s sudden, accidental, and originated on the insured property. That means water damage caused by a burst pipe or broken HVAC or protective sprinkler system would all be covered under standard coverage. Wind-driven rain that enters your residence through an opening that was caused by such perils would also be covered. Water backup insurance is among the most essential and widely-utilized homeowner’s insurance coverage enhancements—and for good reason, it also protects the backup of water or waterborne materials through a sewer or through a drain and 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. According to the Insurance Information Institute, the number of reported sewer backups is increasing at a rate of around 3% annually. Furthermore, the country’s 500,000-plus miles of sewer lines are around thirty-years-old on average. Water is one of the major causes of damage in houses and represents a large number of insurance claims. Water damage to your home can result from a number of sources, such as: 

  • Plumbing and appliances
  • Severe weather or storms
  • Accidents
  • Infiltration through openings, windows or doors

It is helpful to have some information about what will your insurance cover a water damage claim because the cost to repair water damage on your own can be a bit expensive.

If water damage is sudden and accidental, there is a probability that you may be covered by most standard home insurance policies that depend on the types of insurance policy you have. Your standard homeowner policy will include:

  • Damages caused by the weight of ice, snow, or sleet.
  • Discharge and overflow of water, even if it was the result of an accident.
  • Burning, cracking, tearing apart, bulging of steam, or heating system.
  • Freezing of plumbing and pipes.

Some types of water damage are pretty straightforward. It’s helpful to be familiar with three of them. When you call to make a claim and to find out if you’re covered, the insurance company may use terms like:

  • Sewer backup or water backup 
  • Overflow and discharge
  • Flood

Water or Sewer Backup Coverage

Sewer Backup happens when something blocks the normal flow of wastewater from your house to the city’s sewage system, and that same wastewater starts to back up into your home’s pipes. It describes what happens when water comes up or is pushed into your house through the pipes from sewer or drainage systems. It is a very unpleasant sort of water damage since it often involves dirty water from the drainpipes that will not only damage your private property but can also affect your health due to being unsanitary.

There are several potential sources of sewer back up:

  • Blockage of a city sanitary main:If the city main gets blocked, it may cause water to back up into your home through your pipes. 
  • Aging sewer systems that need an update or repair. 
  • Tree roots: When you have older pipes, sewer lines, and water entry pipes, tree roots can find their way into the pipes and cause blockages. You can check for this problem on your own lines by having a plumber check your pipelines with a camera and do some basic preventative maintenance in your residence. 
  • City-related pipeline issues like combined pipelines or problems in the sanitary main: When the system you are using combines the sewage and stormwater into one pipeline instead of having a separate pipeline for each, these are combined pipelines. The system can get overwhelmed in a storm and the water can back up into your house. 
  • Back-up or Overflow of the sewerage systems in your home. If your gutter or rainwater pipes are blocked or have a lot of debris or experience a sudden water flush it may cause a back-up into your house.

Overflow and Discharge Water Damage

Accidental discharge or overflow from plumbing is usually covered on standard home policies. An overflow simply occurs when water bursts from the confines of a sewage system due to reaching its limit. Such as bathtub water spilling over and spreading all over the bathroom floor is considered an overflow. Discharge occurs when water is flowing out from, say,  a leaking pipe. There is nothing blocking the water flow and there’s no overflow, but it is just leaking in the wrong place. However, homeowners’ insurance may help cover damage caused by leaking plumbing if the leak is sudden and accidental. Such as washing machine’s supply hose suddenly breaks or pipe bursts.

Flood Water Damage

Insurance would look at a flood claim as a body of water overflowing to the point that it causes a flood and it enters your home. It is a general and temporary situation of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres and two or more properties of normally dry land. To understand whether you have a real flood claim or water damage claim is to determine if there is more than one home affected. If only your place is affected, you probably don’t have a flood claim even though you feel that you are flooded. If it is sudden and accidental it could be a covered water damage claim.

Most homeowners’ insurance policies accommodate to cover water damage if the cause is unexpected and unintentional. There are two types of coverage with the homeowners’ insurance policy may apply.

  • Dwelling Coverage

Dwelling Coverage helps pay for damage to the structure of your residence if it’s damaged by a covered peril. 

  • Personal Property Coverage

Personal Property Coverage helps pay for damage to your belongings if they are damaged by a covered risk.  However, coverage limits may apply so make sure to check how much coverage your policy includes or provides.

There are types of water damage that are not included such as:

  • Damage from Unresolved Maintenance Issues

The coverage generally will not be applied if the damage results from an unresolved maintenance issue. Such as continues leaking near a faucet or other plumbing fixture

  • Repairing or Replacing the Source of the Water Damage

Most homeowner’s insurance policies will not cover the source of the water damage. Your policy may cover the cost of tearing out and replacing that damaged floor, you must not expect it to cover the cost of replacing your broken dishwasher or washing machine

But remember, there are several exclusions to be aware of with this endorsement. For one, it won’t pay to repair or replace a broken sump pump—you’ll need equipment breakdown coverage for that. Additionally, it doesn’t cover water damage that results from flooding, surface water, waves, tsunamis, tidal water, or overflow of any body of water including your pool.

However, even if the damage if covered it is still easier to now have any water damage at all. These following tips can help prevent water damage in your home:

  • Inspect and replace hoses going to and from washing machines, dishwashers, and refrigerators.
  • Be careful to ensure water supply lines are clear and open. If they run under other objects, make sure they are not crimped or pinched.
  • Drain water heaters twice a year to prevent sediment build-up
  • Prevent frozen pipes by keeping them warm and insulated.
  • Hire a water damage contractor in your area to professionally treat the damage promptly. Your independent insurance agent can help you find someone if needed.
  • A wi-fi connected thermostats that prevent your place from becoming cold enough for pipes to freeze may be a big help.

Conclusion

It is important to have some kind of knowledge about the Water Back up Insurance and keep up with the home maintenance to help prevent unsanitary perils and avoid damages caused by water. It is also a good idea to check with your agent or provider about what is and isn’t covered by your homeowner’s policy for extra protection and coverage. You should ask if there is any additional coverage available that may be appropriate or fit for your residence. 

And if you’re ready to take that step in getting the help you need with coverage for a possible flood-prone area or just want clarification with your policy, do not hesitate to contact us today. Just say “hi!” to us in our chatbox at the lower right-hand of your screen and we will respond in the soonest possible time. We would also love to hear from you by calling our toll-free number at 1 (720) 221-8168.