Does homeowners insurance cover sewer lines?
The Bankrate promise
At Bankrate, we strive to help you make smarter financial decisions. To help readers understand how insurance affects their finances, we have licensed insurance professionals on staff who have spent a combined 47 years in the auto, home and life insurance industries. While we adhere to strict , this post may contain references to products from our partners. Here's an explanation of . Our content is backed by Coverage.com, LLC, a licensed entity (NPN: 19966249). For more information, please see our .
As a homeowner, you probably know how important a home insurance policy is when it comes to protecting your investment. After all, home insurance policies are designed to pay to repair the damages that occur to your home due to covered perils, like fire, wind, vandalism or theft. This type of insurance coverage, in turn, will help to protect your finances from the expensive repair costs that can occur due to these types of perils.
What you may not know, though, is that your home insurance policy does not cover all the structures in or around your home. In fact, there are certain parts of your home that are typically excluded from coverage in a standard homeowner’s policy. One of the areas that is not covered by your standard homeowners insurance is your sewer lines. If you’re wondering whether your sewer lines are protected by your home insurance policy, here’s what you should know.
Does homeowners insurance cover sewer lines?
So, does homeowners insurance cover sewer lines? The short answer to that question is no, standard homeowners policies generally do not cover the cost to repair or replace sewer lines under or outside of your home. Similarly, a standard homeowners policy also typically will not cover water damage that occurs to your home or belongings due to a sewer line backup, and damage caused by a broken sewer line will only be covered in certain scenarios.
However, some homeowners insurance companies may offer special endorsements that will extend coverage to sewer lines. These coverage types are typically optional and will need to be added to your policy at an additional cost. Unless your homeowners policy has these types of coverage listed as an additional coverage endorsement, though, you will likely be responsible for paying for any sewer line repairs out of pocket.
When does homeowners insurance cover sewer lines?
While sewer line damages are typically excluded from coverage in a standard home insurance policy, there are cases in which your policy may cover damages to your home from a broken or malfunctioning sewer line. There may also be cases in which your home insurance policy will cover the cost to repair or replace the sewer line. This is generally the case if the damage was caused by a named peril in your policy.
For example, if a gas line explosion occurs on your property, your standard policy may pay to replace the broken sewer lines and may also cover any losses that occurred to your home, minus any deductible you owe. That’s because while different types of homeowners insurance cover different perils, explosions are typically a named peril in a standard policy.
What can cause damage to your sewer line?
There are numerous situations in which a sewer line could be damaged and potentially cause damage to your home, including:
- Flooding: Flooding is one of the most common causes of sewer line damage. Rising water can cause soil, sediment and debris shifting that can damage and break pipes.
- Freezing temperatures: Freezing temperatures can cause damage to your sewer line if a very cold storm causes your underground pipe to freeze.
- Tree roots: Roots from trees in your yard or from trees that are on or near your property can grow into your sewer line, causing the sewer pipe to break.
- Clogged drains: Clogs in your drain can build up and cause water to back up into your home.
Optional coverage for sewer lines
If you have a sewer line leak, you may have several options to repair the damage. In the event that the leak is minor, a plumber can often repair the sewer line with a patch. However, if the leak is major, you may need to replace the sewer line entirely.
If you are looking for coverage for damage that may occur to your home’s sewer lines, you may have a few options. These include:
Add a service line endorsement
Adding a service line endorsement to your homeowner’s insurance policy will generally provide coverage for repair and replacement of sewer lines due to gradual damage. This typically covers repair for damages that occur due to normal wear and tear on the sewer lines or damages due to lines cracking, breaking or rupturing.
While service line endorsement coverage may vary, it typically includes damages that occur from:
- Corrosion, decay, rust, or deterioration
- Mechanical or electrical breakdown
- Regular wear and tear
- Tree or root damage
- Pest damage from rodents, vermin, insects, etc.
- Damage caused by freezing temperatures
- Damage caused by pressure from heavy equipment, vehicles, etc.
- Damage caused by collapse
Purchase sewer backup coverage
Some homeowners insurance companies may also offer sewer backup insurance as an additional endorsement that can be added to a standard policy. This endorsement does not generally cover damage to a sewer line, but instead provides coverage to repair things like flooring, drywall, and furnishings if water or sewage backs up the pipe into your home. If you want coverage for sewer backups, you may want to inquire about whether your company offers this type of coverage. If it does, you can speak to your agent about purchasing a sewer backup rider or endorsement.
Consider a home warranty
Sewer line coverage may be offered by a home warranty. A home warranty is not homeowners insurance; it is a separate plan, similar to a service contract, that helps to cover the costs for certain repairs for your home. Some home warranties cover sewer line repairs and replacements, while others will not.
Frequently asked questions
Neither sewer line nor homeowners insurance coverage is required by law, but if you have a mortgage loan on your home, your lender will likely require you to carry a minimum amount of homeowners coverage, although sewer backup coverage is generally not required. Remember, though, that sewer lines are excluded from a standard home insurance policy, so you may not have coverage for damage that occurs to these lines unless you were to add a service line endorsement to your policy.
If you have a service line endorsement on your home insurance policy, it generally covers the damages that occur to your sewer lines, but it does not typically cover the damages that occur to the interior of your house due to sewer backups. If you want to protect your home against losses due to sewer backups, many companies offer optional sewer backup protection at an additional cost.