Nearly all property forms, including Homeowners policies, exclude or restrict water damage caused by the backup of sewers or drains.
The provisions vary from company to company but usually read like in SECTION I – PROPERTY EXCLUSIONS, that water damage is excluded if caused by:
Water or water-borne material which backs up through sewers or drains or which overflows or is discharged from a sump, sump pump or related equipment.This exclusion is talking about “overflows” of water from sewers (like out of toilet bowls) and “backups” from drains (like floor drains and sinks). The source of the water or sewage may be “off premises” from a plugged public sewer system or caused by water inside the home that is left on or stuck on which overwhelms a drain system that is plugged or restricted.
NOTE: Coverage for sewer or drain water backup can be added by endorsement for a small additional premium.
Cyclone Valves highly recommends that all Homeowner’s policies be endorsed with sewer and drain water backup coverage. These type of claims can be costly to cleanup and repair. Review your policy with your agent to determine what coverage, if any, is currently provided.
Why do Homeowners and other property forms exclude coverage for sewer or drain water backup?
1. Water backup losses are extremely common but preventable with maintenance and preventative measures by the home owner. Water losses from plugged up toilets and clogged up drains can be prevented or minimized when home owners are observant and promptly repair sticking toilet bowls and clogged, slow running drains.
2. Water systems require periodic maintenance or reinvestment by the home owner. Over time, every water drainage system becomes restricted with rust, deposits and accumulated debris. Drain fields become saturated and tree roots interfere with drainage. Without preventative maintenance, slow running drains won’t handle normal water flow or plug up completely.
3. Off premises sewage backups can be prevented with the installation of drain backflow preventers that are installed on your drain line. Unfortunately, many older homes did not have these preventers installed.
4. During flooding the water table rises and first causes water backup through sewers and drains. Since “flood” is an excluded coverage, the unendorsed Homeowner’s policy has this exclusion.