Sewer backup loss exposures are a common coverage gap under a homeowners policy. However, this exposure can typically be covered by the addition of a "Water Back-up and Sump Overflow" endorsement to your policy. In addition to procuring the proper insurance coverage, homeowners should adopt several risk control techniques concerning this loss exposure, including the following.
- Do not put grease, paper towels, diapers, or other refuse down toilets or sinks. Avoiding this action will help prevent clogs in the pipes that connect your home to the sewer. Note that grease buildup in the lines is a common cause of water and sewage backup losses.
- If a sump pump, French drain, or other flood control system is connected to the sewer main, hire a licensed plumber to remove that connection. A municipality's plumbing code may not allow such a connection.
- Insureds should consider getting a licensed plumber to install a backflow-prevention device. This valve allows sewage to go out but not to come back in. The investment of between $1,000 and $5,000 will go a long way toward protecting your home.
- If there is a major sewer or drain backup into the home, a water loss remediation specialist should be hired to deal with the aftermath of this type of loss. The use of such an expert will help prevent disease and mitigate damage from mold and mildew.