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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Sewer Line Replacement?

Homeowners Insurance Policy document

Damage to sewer pipes is a nightmare for any homeowner. Damage can occur without warning, and the cost of repairs can set you back thousands of dollars, causing many people to wonder if homeowners insurance will help cover costs. Unfortunately, the short answer is no.

In most cases, your homeowners insurance will not help, but it can help if special circumstances occur, so keep reading as we discuss when you can expect help, why you often won’t receive it, and what you can do instead.

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Will Homeowners Insurance Cover My New Sewer Line?

Many of the problems with a sewer line are due to either a sewer backup or damage to the pipes from old age, tree roots, corrosion, etc., which your homeowners insurance policy will not cover with a standard plan.

Homeowners Insurance Policy
Image Credit: Andrey_Popov, Shutterstock

What Does Homeowners Insurance Cover?

Homeowners insurance generally covers sudden and unexpected damage due to events out of your control, like an accident, fire, or burglary. The insurance company will outline the details of what your insurance will cover in your policy, and we highly recommend that you read it carefully. Since backups and sewer line problems are so common, the policy will usually clearly state that it doesn’t cover sewer backups. Your company should tell you if add-on options are available, though.

What Does Homeowners Insurance Not Cover?

Physical Damage to the Pipe

Your homeowners insurance will not cover physical damage that occurs to the pipe over time. It won’t cover damage that occurs to the line due to corrosion like rust, nor will it cover damage from root systems even though you couldn’t see them and wouldn’t have any way of knowing that the damage was occurring. Roots take a while to penetrate pipes, so homeowners insurance won’t cover the damage that they cause.

Sewage Backup

Most homeowners insurance policies specifically state that they won’t cover damage to a sewer line due to a backup. Therefore, the best action is to prevent a system backup by only flushing biodegradable material.

excavating the sewer line of the house
Image Credit: JRJfin, Shutterstock

When Might Homeowners Insurance Cover Sewer Line?

You might be able to look to your homeowners insurance for help when something unexpected happens. For instance, they might help if a fire melts your pipes or a drunk driver crashes into your house and damages them.

How Can I Pay for My New Sewer Line?

Sewage-Backup Endorsement

Many insurance companies offer a water-and-sewer-backup endorsement. It’s essentially an upgrade to your plan that covers you in the event of a water backup. It helps protect you from having to pay to repair damage due to water pooling in your home from a backup, and it can even help cover sanitation measures from a sewage line backup. However, it won’t cover damage if a flood causes a backup.

Service Line-Protection Endorsement

You can cover damage to your sewer line by adding a service line-protection endorsement to your policy. This helps you cover the cost of your sewer line and other underground utilities, like water lines and electrical wires. It will also usually cover root damage.

plumber cleaning sewer line
Image Credit: mikeledray, Shutterstock

Tips for Keeping Your Sewer Line Running Properly

  • One of the best ways to prevent a sewer line backup is to avoid flushing non-biodegradable objects or oils. Items like baby wipes can stick to the sides of the pipe and can create a blockage over time that results in an expensive sewer line backup.
  • Inspect all the accessible sewer line pipes, and replace any metal parts with plastic. Metal is especially susceptible to corrosion, and leaving it in place can set you up for a problem in the future.
  • Learn where the sewer line and other utilities on your property run underground, and avoid planting trees or shrubs with invasive roots nearby. It’s also a good idea to inspect the ground occasionally to ensure that no roots are getting near the pipes.
  • Have a professional inspect your plumbing annually. While having a plumber visit your home can be costly, due to their experience, they might be able to spot warning signs that you missed.

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Summary

Unfortunately, your homeowners insurance won’t cover a sewer line replacement because it usually results from a backup or damage over time. If a fire or other accident damages the pipes, you might be able to get compensation. Still, most people will need to add a sewage-backup endorsement and a service line-protection endorsement on their policies to receive help. Therefore, making to only flush biodegradable materials is essential, as backups are the primary cause of damage to the sewer line.


Featured Image Credit: Feng Yu, Shutterstock

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