Does homeowners insurance cover broken sewer pipes?

Your sewer pipes are not typically covered by standard homeowners insurance, but you can add service line coverage to repair your sewer pipe if it breaks or water backup coverage if it overflows into your home.

Stephanie Nieves author photo


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.

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From a sudden kitchen fire to a broken bedroom window, homeowners insurance will cover most types of damage that occur inside your home — but it won’t always protect parts that are on your property and not technically inside your home, like the sewer pipes that connect your home to the town or city sewer system.

To extend your homeowners insurance to cover your sewer pipe, consider adding service line coverage. Service line coverage is an endorsement, or an additional coverage you can add to your policy, that covers gradual sewer pipe damage, including wear and tear.

Equipment breakdown coverage is another endorsement you can add that covers mechanical breakdown in case any of the appliances that connect to your plumbing system break down, and if your sewer line discharges or overflows into your home, the water backup endorsement can pay for repairing the water damage.

Key Takeaways

  • Sewer pipe damage that is sudden or accidental may be covered by a standard homeowners insurance policy, but sewer pipes outside the home are often excluded

  • You can add service line coverage to pay for repairs if your sewer pipes sustain damage. With service line coverage, the sewer pipes that connect your home to the outside world are covered in case they crack, break or rupture

  • Other endorsements, like equipment breakdown coverage and water backup coverage, can help ensure robust protection in case of plumbing-related damage

Are broken sewer lines covered by homeowners insurance?

Homeowners insurance generally won’t cover damage to sewer pipes or any other service lines that connect your home to the outside world. In order to ensure you’re covered if your sewer pipe breaks or cracks, you should add service line coverage to your policy. Service line coverage is a common endorsement offered by most major home insurance companies that covers your utility lines from causes of damage that a standard policy won’t, including:

  • Wear and tear

  • Rust, corrosion, decay, and deterioration

  • Mechanical breakdown

  • Electrical breakdown

  • Tree or root-caused damage

  • Vermin, insects, or rodent damage

  • Freezing

  • Weight of equipment, vehicles, animals or people

  • Collapse

If a broken sewer pipe causes interior damage, say extreme cold causes your sewer line to freeze and crack, which leads to damage inside your home, homeowners insurance may pay to repair the damage to your home but it may not cover repairs for the sewer pipe itself. Homeowners insurance also won’t cover damage that occurs over time or could’ve been prevented had the right measures been taken, like damage from mold or pests.

To know if homeowners insurance will cover your sewer pipes for sure, you should contact your home insurance provider or review your policy to see if sewer line damage is listed as an exclusion. If sewer lines aren’t covered, you should purchase service line coverage through your insurer to extend coverage to the sewer pipes that connect your home to the larger sewer system.

→ Learn more about homeowners insurance and sewer line damage

Does home insurance cover plumbing breakdowns?

When it comes to homeowners insurance, your plumbing systems face a number of exclusions from coverage, which include breakdowns. Mechanical and electrical breakdown are typically excluded from a standard policy unless it’s caused by another covered peril, like if a lightning strike fries your appliances. However you may be able to add equipment breakdown coverage to your policy to cover electrical failure and mechanical breakdown. Equipment breakdown coverage covers equipment and built-in systems in your home, including your HVAC, appliances like dishwasher and washing machines, and even the heat pump in your swimming pool.

Water backup coverage is another endorsement you can add that covers sewer and sump pump backups from a plumbing breakdown. If a clogged sewer pipe backs up your plumbing pipes or a plumbing pipe cracks, causing a flood in your bathroom, water backup coverage would cover the costs to repair the water damage. Water backup coverage is a common endorsement, and most homeowners should consider adding it to cover potentially expensive water damage.