More on Home Insurance
More on Home Insurance
You know that as a homeowner, you’re responsible for your house itself, but did you know that you’re also responsible for the utility lines that connect your home to the rest of the world, including your power lines, gas lines, and yes, your sewer lines? Whether or not your homeowners insurance will cover your sewer line depends on where the damage occurred and the type of damage it sustained, but most standard home insurance policies won’t cover them at all unless you’ve added coverage specifically for your utility lines.
Standard home insurance policies typically cover sudden and accidental damage to the pipes and other systems within your home, like the plumbing in your walls if it freezes or bursts, but that coverage doesn’t always extend to the service lines that run outside your home but are still on your property.
You may be able to purchase service line coverage to protect your sewer lines and other service lines from most causes of damage. This is an endorsement, meaning extra coverage you can add on to your policy for a slightly higher premium. If your home insurance company doesn’t offer this endorsement, you can also consider enrolling in a service plan with your utility company instead.
Most standard home insurance policies won’t automatically cover sewer lines or any other service lines
Those that do will likely only repair sudden or accidental damage that occurs within your property boundaries and is caused by a covered event
To protect your sewer lines from damage, you can add service line coverage to your policy for an additional premium, or enroll in a service plan
Homeowners insurance may cover your sewer line if it is suddenly or accidentally damaged, but in many cases, a standard policy won’t automatically cover the utility lines that connect your house to the outside world unless you’ve specifically added service line coverage.
In the event that a damaged sewer line leads to damage inside your home itself, your homeowners insurance may pay to repair the interior damage, but not the service line that caused it.
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
Rodent or insect infestations
To find out whether or not your sewer lines are covered by your policy, contact your home insurer or review your policy to see what exclusions apply. If sewer lines and other service lines are not covered by your basic homeowners insurance policy, you should add service line coverage as an endorsement or look into other coverage.
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If your policy doesn’t automatically include coverage for your sewer line or other utility lines, you should consider adding service line coverage, an endorsement that covers the wiring and pipes that connect your home to the outside world.
Most home insurance companies offer service line coverage, which you can add to your policy for a small addition to your premium. But if that option is unavailable to you, you can also enroll in a warranty-like service plan with your utility company:
Service line coverage protects all of your service lines if they’re damaged, including your sewer lines, steam pipes, cable lines, and fiber optics. Service line coverage is an endorsement meaning it’s an optional addition to your policy. If a heavy truck parked in your driveway accidentally cracks a sewer line beneath it, service line coverage would pay to repair the busted pipe. Service line coverage will also 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
Service line coverage is often offered in amounts of $10,000 and $25,000, but you may be able to customize your coverage limits depending on your home insurer. On average, a ruptured sewer line can cost between $1,500 to $4,500 to fix, so with service line coverage, you can expect to be covered a few times over for damage repairs.
If you’re unable to 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. However, 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.
A cracked or damaged sewer line can cause significant water damage to your property that may not be covered without separate water backup coverage. In the event that 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.
Companies generally offer between $5,000 and $25,000 in water backup coverage, and according to Fabio Faschi, the property and casualty team lead at Policygenius, a $5,000 coverage limit coverage can cost you $30-$70 a year, while each additional $5,000 in coverage can cost $25-$35.
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 (which is specifically excluded in most policies):
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
Stephanie Nieves is an insurance editor at Policygenius in New York City, specializing in auto and home insurance. She's been writing about insurance, finance and financial planning since 2018, and loves helping readers get the knowledge they need to make financial decisions with confidence. Her words can also be found on PayScale, Fairygodboss, and The Muse.
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