Okay, so you are in a mess. Your home's sewer lines are broken, and you need to get them fixed. The only problem is that the charges are just too high. You will have to pay half of your yearly salary just to get them fixed. So, in such a situation, you would be thinking what options do you have?
Will homeowners insurance cover a broken sewer line?
That’s where your home insurance comes in. If your sewer lines are covered by your insurance service, then you don’t have to worry at all. The home insurance company will cover it all.
Usually, the sewer lines can be fixed in $3,000 to $6,000 if the damage is average. However, if you need to replace all the sewer lines, then your cost can drastically increase to $10,000 or even above.
Therefore, you must read the fine print of your home insurance agreement and deduce if your home insurance covers sewer lines.
What Does Home Insurance Cover?
Usually, a home insurance policy will cover everything on your property, including:
Other items relevant to your property such as a garage, shed, and even barbed wires
Your home’s interior
Damage caused to other’s property because of your property
Now, the insurance amount can vary depending on the type of insurance you have bought for your home. Many policies provide around 20 percent coverage of the total cost of your house. However, if you buy a better package, you can get as much as 50 percent of the total cost of your house. Again, this depends on your insurance company and the agent that you have chosen.
While choosing a plan, you must select one that works in your favor. Best is to search for multiple insurance providers, compare their plans, and then make a decision.
Named Coverage in Insurance Policy
Most home insurance policies cover sudden or unforeseen damage to the property due to no negligence from your end. This also includes sudden cracks in pipes or any other sort of damage that occurs due to unexpected reasons.
However, if the pipes were clogged, not properly taken care of, or if they were deteriorating from some time, these will not be covered by the named coverage in a home insurance policy. To get it fixed, you will have to pay an amount from your pocket.
However, if you feel like that your claim was unjustly denied by the insurance company, you can always hire a licensed professional to investigate your case. In most cases, insurance agencies do not want to get into such a mess. They pay from their end if they think that the claim was unjustly denied.
Now that we are aware that sewer pipes are covered by a home insurance policy, let's find out how to know if you can claim.
Bring-in the Plumber
A plumber would be better able to answer your questions related to the pipe. He/she will tell if the pipe was within your property. If it was within your property, then the plumber will tell if it broke because of sudden action or if it was deteriorating for some time.
If the pipe broke because of sudden action, then it is not your negligence, and you can claim the due amount from your insurance agent. However, if it was an old pipe that you didn't fix on time, then it was due to your negligence. In such a case, you solely are responsible for getting the pipe fixed.
What if Your Insurance Covers the Pipe breakage?
If your insurance company covers the pipe breakage, they will send an inspector to access the situation. Your plumber can only answer the questions, this doesn't mean that the insurance company will buy those answers. They have their way of inspection, and they will certainly check if you were responsible or nature was.
Even if the plumber told you that you can file a claim about the damage, here area few things that you should keep in mind.
Most rusty and thin pipes are a red flag. The insurance company will completely deny insurance for them.
Pipes that are in deteriorating condition are also a big no. So go for a timely sewerline replacement. Otherwise, the insurance company will hold you responsible that you didn’t get it fixed on time.
If the pipes were clogged from your end, i.e., they were clogged because of some item from your house, the insurance company can deny the claim as well.
If the pipe was burst because of tree roots inside it, then this part is covered in the ‘preventable damage’ clause in your home insurance policy fine print.
How Much Insurance Amount Can You Get?
If your insurance company agrees to pay for the damages caused to the sewer pipes, then they will access the cost of your house first. Let’s say that your house cost is $500,000. The home insurance policy will have a 10% amount for named or 'other' infrastructure on your property. So, you will be eligible for $50,000 only. However, the insurance company may pay you even less depending on the cost of fixing the pipes.
The good news is that your sewer pipes replacement will be within a range of $10,000. So, you will not require that amount after all.
When to Opt for Service Line Protection Agreement?
Many insurance companies also offer a comprehensive service of the line protection. This service includes all types of lines, including sewer, gas, electricity, and even telephone. If you are someone who wants to get rid of sewer related haphazard once and for all, then you should get the service line protection agreement from your insurance company.
The service line agreement can come in handy anytime. Most people are not aware that the service line protection agreement is offered by insurance providers. As was the case with one homeowner in Oregon, who had to pay $300,000 for the reconstruction of his house that was destroyed because of sewer line coming to his house. His insurance policy was flawed and didn’t cover anything that could look into the 15,000 gallons of sewer water.
Make sure to ask your home insurance agent about what is covered in your insurance policy. It is better if you provide them different scenarios, and they can answer you accordingly. This way, you will have a better idea of what type of incidents will be covered under the policy, and what type of incidents would not be covered by the insurance company.
Andrea Bell is a blogger by choice. She loves to discover the world around her. She likes to share her discoveries, experiences and express herself through her blogs. You can find her on Twitter:@IM_AndreaBell