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Can You Cover the Costs Associated with a Flood in your Basement?

The words "Are You Covered" painted on a brick wall

Now is a good time to have a conversation with your insurance agent or broker.

Whether it’s water from a flood, or sewer backup, you may have a significant problem. And if you’re reading this article, it’s a good time to have a conversation with your agent or broker – you may save yourself a considerable amount of money. . .and hassle! If you are an insurance agent, consider having a conversation with your clients. They may not realize that they need additional insurance.

First, a couple of facts.

1.      Most homeowners and business insurance policies do not cover sewer backup – unless such specific coverage is added to the policy.

2.      Flood damage is also not covered under a sewer backup policy or a standard homeowners, renters or business policy.

We hear it on the news almost daily. Hundreds of communities’ experience flood conditions. And these flood conditions can cause sewage to back up into homes and businesses through drainpipes. The damage is difficult to repair, expensive and possibly a health hazard. And yet, most homeowners and business insurance policies don’t cover sewage backup.

What can homeowners and property managers do? Restoration 1 recommends that you talk to your insurance agent or broker about sewer back coverage – which in most cases is available as a rider to your insurance policy. As for flood damage – that is normally not covered under your home or business policy either. Instead, flood coverage is available as a separate policy from the National Flood Insurance Program, as well as a few private insurers. Talk to your agent about flood insurance also.

The cost of sewer backup coverage. The average cost of water backup and sewer coverage is $50 to $250 annually, depending on the exposure of your area and the limits you select for your policy. A good rule of thumb is to think about what’s in your basement and what the cost would be to replace items and reconstruct the area.

Is flooding or a sewer backup a real threat to homeowners? Most people don’t realize that they are responsible for the pipeline between the city’s main sewer line and their property. A crack in this line can cause sewer backup. And in reality, there’s no real way to tell what condition your line is in because it’s underground. Common problems include blockage from shrubs and tree roots, which can cause extensive damage and cracking when they seep into the pipeline. And as the tree or shrub grows, so does the damage. To prevent roots from entering, you can replace your line and tap with plastic pipe. Another reason for a backup stems from a blockage in the city’s sanitary main line. While a homeowner can reduce the likelihood of water entering the home by having a qualified plumber install a backwater valve, it won’t completely prevent the problem from happening in the main line.

Quick action is necessary. If you do experience a sewage backup, quick response is critical. Call a professional remediation firm, like Restoration 1. We are experienced and fully equipped to handle these emergencies.

And protect yourself and your loved ones by talking with your insurance agent or broker immediately!