A Publication of WTVP

I believe the sayings goes, “May flowers bring spring showers”…and we have started this spring with plenty of showers. The water is wonderful for many things in nature, but can be real trouble for property owners. We have seen large volumes of water causing different types of water accumulation in basements in a short period of time. Many people think about flood insurance, but are not as familiar with Backup of Sewer and Drain.

The backup of your sewer and drains, as well as the failure of a sump pump, is excluded in most policies. A sump pump failure normally occurs from power outages or motor failures. They run on electricity, and during bad storms—which is when you need the sump pump the most—many times the power goes out. The damage that occurs from either of these problems will not be covered, and you’ll be responsible for paying for the loss and the clean-up, which may be more than the damage itself.

Most houses or commercial buildings have their mechanical systems in the lower level of the property. Many times, these include: washer and dryer, furnace, hot water heater and other storage items that you have accumulated. Water or sewage usually destroys anything it touches. If you have a finished basement or a finished lower level of your commercial property, you need to check with your insurance professional to see that you have this important coverage. Below is the wording on an actual homeowners policy form:

Water Back-Up of Sewers or Drains—Additional Limit
We cover risk of accidental direct physical loss to covered property described under Coverage A—Dwelling, Coverage B—Other Structures, and Coverage C—Personal Property caused by:

(1) water from outside the plumbing system that enters through sewers or drains; and (2) water which enters into and overflows from within a sump pump, sump pump well or any other system designed to remove subsurface water which is drained from the foundation area.

Coverage does not apply to any loss caused by negligence of any insured. The most we will pay in any one loss is the limit of insurance shown in the Declarations under Water Back-Up of Sewers or Drains—Additional Limit. This additional coverage is excess over any other valid and collectible insurance provided by us. No deductible applies to this additional coverage. This is not an additional amount of insurance. All other policy terms and conditions apply.

Many companies have a large variance in the limit they will offer, but on a typical homeowners policy, the limit normally ranges from $1,000 to $50,000. These options could be based on the age of the home/foundation, location of the property or past experience on that property. It is important to know your risk and discuss it with your agent. This is a very affordable coverage that will save you a great deal of frustration if you find yourself standing ankle-deep in water or sewage in your finished basement. iBi