During the heavy rains of summer, we see an influx of new prospects come to us seeking a review of their insurance. Usually these new prospects have experienced water damage to their home due to sump pump failure or water backing up through their sewer or drain(s). When the damage occurs, they come to find it is not covered on their current home policy. Coverage for sump pump failure and backup of sewer and drain is not the same as flood coverage.  To understand why, we first need to look at how both perils are defined. Below is a brief description of each:

 

FLOOD

Basically it’s water damage that occurs from water breaching an egress threshold of your home (window, doorway, etc). The direct definition from FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Protection program is: “A general & temporary condition of partial or complete inundation of two or more acres of normally dry land area or two or more properties (at least one of which is your property) from overflow of inland or tidal waters, unusual & rapid accumulation or runoff of surface waters from any source, mudflow, or collapse or subsidence of land along the shore of a lake or similar body of water as a result of erosion or undermining caused by waves or currents of water exceeding anticipated cyclical levels that result in flood as defined above.”

 

SEWER BACKUP & SUMP PUMP FAILURE

Direct physical loss caused by water or water-borne materials which backup through sewer or drains or overflows or is discharged from a sump, sump pump or related equipment even if such over-flow or discharge results from mechanical breakdown of the sump pump or related equipment. While coverage does not apply to direct physical loss to the sump pump or related equipment, which may be caused by mechanical breakdown, the ensuing water damage to your home is covered (up to the coverage limit).

 

All of our companies provide Backup of Sewers & Drains coverage with basic, automatically included limits.  These basic limits can be increased for an additional premium should you have a need.  This coverage protects you from water that comes up through any drain or sewer in your home and causes damage.  About 95% of the home claims that we have seen in the past 20 years are Backup of Sewers and Drains claims.  Most are caused by heavy rains overwhelming a sump system, or a power outage coupled with heavy rains where a sump simply can’t run. Ways to protect your home from this peril are:

 

  • Battery Back-Up for each Sump Pump
  • Permantly Installed Back-Up Generator (i.e. Generac)
  • Sump Pump Monitoring System (this can alert you should your sump pump become overwhelmed or fail)

 

While each of the above mitigation efforts are not 100% fool proof, they can help. But should a sump-pump fail or be overwhelmed, there is no mitigation effort that will prevent water from coming into your home. If you have a finished basement it’s worth a review of your current policy to make sure you have the Back-Up of Sewer and Drain coverage.