Does home insurance cover sewer line damage?

Homeowners insurance generally won’t cover most types of damage to sewer lines or any other service lines. You can add service line coverage to your policy to protect your sewer lines.

Kara McGinley

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Kara McGinley

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley is a senior 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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Kristi Sullivan, CFP®

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®

Certified Financial Planner

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, she was a regional consultant at Fidelity Investments for nine years.

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Standard homeowners insurance policies generally don’t cover damage to sewer lines or any other service lines that run outside or under your home. Home insurance also typically won’t cover damage caused by water or drain backups.

That said, there are a couple of endorsements you may be able to add to your homeowners policy to protect your sewer lines, as well as water damage caused by a sewage backup.

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Is a broken sewer line covered by home insurance?

A standard homeowners policy generally doesn’t automatically cover the sewer or utility lines that run under your property and connect your house to the outside world. You can add service line coverage to your policy to protect your sewer lines and other utility lines against different types of damage, like rust or wear and tear.

Home insurance also excludes coverage for damage caused by sewage backups. You can add water backup coverage to your policy to cover water damage to your home caused by a sewage or drain backup.

How to get coverage for damaged or broken sewer lines

Below are the details of the endorsements that you may want to consider adding to your policy to protect the sewer lines on your property.

Service line coverage endorsement

Cost

You can usually get between $10,000 and $20,000 in service line coverage for an extra $30 to $40 a year.

How it works

Service line coverage protects your service lines if they’re damaged, including your sewer lines, steam pipes, cable lines, and fiber optics.

Service line coverage will cover damage to your sewer lines from:

  • Regular wear and tear

  • Rust, corrosion, decay, and deterioration

  • Trees and roots

  • Vermin, insects, and rodents

  • The weight of equipment, vehicles, animals and people

  • Collapse

➞ Learn more about service line coverage

If your insurer doesn’t offer service line coverage, contact your utility company about service plans.

If you can’t add service line coverage to your home insurance policy, you can look into a service plan from your utility company, which is basically a warranty that covers repairs to your sewer and water lines. You may need to enroll in several service plans in order to insure multiple utilities, compared to service line coverage which would cover all of your service and utility lines as part of your existing homeowners insurance.

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Water backup coverage endorsement

Cost

You can typically get $5,000 in water backup coverage for an extra $30 to $70 a year, while each additional $5,000 in coverage can cost an extra $25 to $35 a year, according to Fabio Faschi, former property and casualty team lead at Policygenius.

How it works

Sewer, water, and drain backup damage is not covered by homeowners insurance. Water backup coverage can be added to your policy for protection against water damage from sewer backup. 

For example, say your sewer system backs up into the drains in your home — water backup coverage would pay to repair the water damage and replace any damaged flooring, furniture or other belongings.

➞ Learn more about water backup coverage

What can damage your sewer lines?

Most things that can damage a sewer line aren’t automatically covered by home insurance. Below are a few.

  • Wear and tear

  • Rust and decay

  • Clogged drains

  • Tree roots 

  • Construction work

  • Shifting in soil (aka subsidence)

Signs of sewer line damage

A cracked sewer line can lead to significant damage that is only recognizable long after it’s begun. Some warning signs you should look out for that might indicate a damaged sewer line include:

  • Pools of septic waste

  • Foul odors

  • Mold

  • Lawn indentations

  • Slow drains

  • Rodent or insect infestations

  • Foundation cracks

How to prevent sewer line damage

The best way to protect your sewer lines from damage is to maintain them and prevent the kinds of damage that a standard policy won’t insure. To prevent a sewer backup:

  • Properly dispose of grease and paper products

  • Snip your tree roots every now and then

  • Hire a plumber to fix any faulty plumbing connections and unclog your lines

  • Consider installing a backflow prevention device

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Frequently asked questions

Does homeowners insurance cover sewer line replacement?

Just like when it comes to sewer line repairs, homeowners insurance doesn’t automatically include coverage for sewer line replacement. You’ll need to add service line coverage to your policy for that.

Are clogged pipes covered by homeowners insurance?

No, clogged pipes are generally seen as a maintenance issue to insurers, and things like maintenance issues, wear and tear, and general lack of upkeep are all excluded from homeowners insurance coverage.

How much does sewer line insurance cost?

You can add coverage for your sewer line with a service coverage endorsement. It typically costs an extra $30 to $40 a year for $10,000 to $20,000 in coverage.

Author

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

Kara McGinley

Senior Editor & Licensed Home Insurance Expert

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Kara McGinley is a senior 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.

Expert reviewer

Certified Financial Planner

Kristi Sullivan, CFP®

Certified Financial Planner

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Kristi Sullivan, CFP®, is a certified financial planner and a member of the Financial Review Council at Policygenius. Previously, she was a regional consultant at Fidelity Investments for nine years.

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