Does home insurance cover septic tanks?

Yes, your septic tank is considered part of your home and would be covered by the dwelling portion of your home insurance policy in the event that it’s suddenly damaged.

Stephanie Nieves author photoKara McGinley

By

Stephanie Nieves

Stephanie Nieves

Editor & Home and Auto Insurance Expert

Stephanie Nieves is a former editor and insurance expert at Policygenius, where she covered home and auto insurance. Her work has also appeared in Business Insider, Money, HerMoney, PayScale, and The Muse.

&Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is an editor and licensed home insurance expert at Policygenius, where she writes about homeowners and renters insurance. As a journalist and as an insurance expert, her work and insights have been featured in Kiplinger, Lifehacker, MSN, WRAL.com, and elsewhere.

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Though they’re technically outside of the home, septic tanks count as part of your home’s structure when it comes to home insurance, so it would be covered by your policy’s dwelling coverage. Your septic tank will only be covered if it's damaged by a covered peril, like fire, ice, or snow.

Dwelling coverage can cover damage to the body of your septic tank and to the pipes that connect the tank and your home — but it won’t cover pipes that aren’t connected to your home’s structure. You may need to add extra coverage to your policy if you want coverage for broken pipes.

Key takeaways

  • Septic tanks that are damaged due to sudden, unexpected events are covered by your home insurance policy.

  • Wear and tear and maintenance issues with your septic tank are not covered by your home insurance.

  • Service line coverage and water backup coverage are coverages you can add to your policy to cover the pipes attached to your tank and any damage that may be caused if one of them breaks.

  • To help prevent damage, you should have your septic tank inspected by a septic service professional every three to five years.

When does home insurance cover septic tanks?

Septic tanks are considered built-in home appliances, so your septic tank would be covered by the dwelling coverage component of your homeowners insurance policy in the event that it’s suddenly damaged. 

The damage must be sudden, meaning you couldn't have done anything to prevent it from happening. Below are a few covered perils that could damage your septic tank:

  • Fire damage

  • Freezing from extreme weather

  • Damage caused by a car

  • Damage from the weight of equipment and people

There are several endorsements that you can add to your policy for more coverage, like service line coverage and water backup coverage.

An insurance adjuster will help determine damage

When you file a damage claim, your home insurance company will likely assign you an adjuster who will determine what caused the damage to your septic tank. They will decide whether the damage is covered and how much your insurance company will pay out.

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Can I get septic tank insurance?

There are no insurance policies written solely for septic tanks. You can look into a home warranty, but before doing that consider adding these additional coverages to your home policy. 

Service line coverage

Septic tanks have a few different pipes that make up the whole system, including one that transports sewage water from your home to the tank and another that delivers wastewater from the tank to a drain field. Service line coverage covers damaged utility lines and pipes running through your property. You’d also be covered if one of the pipes attached to your septic tank is severed or damaged.

Service line coverage costs around $30 a year for $10,000 in coverage or $40 a year for $20,000 in coverage. Service line ruptures can cost as much as $2,500 to repair, so while the coverage is optional, it’s typically a good idea to add it to your policy.

→ Learn more about service line coverage

Water backup coverage

Water backup coverage covers water damage caused by a broken sump pump or backed-up drain, which is not covered by a standard home insurance policy alone. It can help cover the cost of removing water from a flooded basement or replacing damaged furniture caused by a busted pipe attached to your septic tank.

If you’re looking for robust protection for your septic tank, the combination of dwelling coverage, service line coverage, and water backup coverage together can pay for damage to your septic tank, severed pipelines, and any damage to your home as a result of backed-up sewage or water.

→ Learn more about water backup coverage

When doesn’t homeowners insurance cover septic tanks?

A standard homeowners insurance policy will not cover regular wear and tear to your septic tank and attached pipes; the damage must be considered sudden in order to be covered by insurance. 

Home insurance will also not cover damage to your septic tank caused by any of the below hazards: 

  • Damage from overuse 

  • Earthquake

  • Flood

  • Maintenance issues 

  • Neglect

  • Pests, like vermin or insects

  • Water damage

  • Wear and tear

4 tips for maintaining your septic tank

You can prevent — or at least delay — damage to your septic tank with regular maintenance. A few ways to take care of your septic tank and get ahead of cesspool damage include:

  • Inspect and pump it regularly. Have your septic tank inspected and pumped once every three to five years by a septic service professional to make sure everything is working properly.

  • Avoid flushing non-biodegradable objects. Non-biodegradable objects include chemicals, paints, and cooking oil, among others. When flushed down a toilet or drain, they can build up and cause your septic tank to fill up faster.

  • Dispose of waste properly. The only things that should ever be flushed down your toilets are human waste and toilet paper, so discard other paper goods and any non-biodegradable objects in trash cans to avoid clogging your septic tank.

  • Conserve more water. Wastewater from your home gets treated in the septic tank before it’s sent to a drain field. By using water more effectively, you give your septic tank more time to treat the water so it’s not working on overdrive.