Homeowners insurance is designed to cover a sudden and accidental loss but there are exclusions. One of the most common exclusions is water backing up from a sewer line and overflowing into the home. There are policies that provide coverage for water backing up through sewers or drains as long as it originates on premise. An optional endorsement called Water or Sewer Backup is required for policies that do not provide coverage or for losses that originate off premise.
Every company is different so let’s review the Virginia home policy provided by Safeco insurance as an example.
|Covered by homeowners policy
|Not covered by homeowners policy
|Covered by the optional endorsement
|Toilet or shower drain gets clogged and overflows causing damage
|Sewer line in the street backs up and causes the overflow
|Coverage is expanded to include backup or overflow from causes originating off premises as long as the backup or overflow itself occurs on the premises
|Water that escapes, overflows or discharges from a sump pump, sump well or any other system designed to remove water which is drained from the foundation area
|Coverage is provided when water escapes, overflows or discharges from a sump pump or other similar system
To provide additional flexibility, Safeco offers two variations of the optional endorsement. One provides coverage for damage to building and contents while the other covers damage to building and specified contents. With the latter endorsement, the specified items that are covered are washers and dryers, refrigeration units (not including contents), cooking ovens and ranges, dishwashers and built-ins such as furnace, carpet, air conditioners, etc.
What’s never covered?
- Flooding is the most common excluded coverage. Whether the result of a river overflowing its banks or a dam breaking, water damage caused by surface water entering the house is not covered.
- Overflow originating off-premises is not covered. This would include a sewer line breaking in the street and causing water to flow over the surface into the house.
- Sub-surface water is excluded. For example, if a swimming pool or sprinkler system leaks underground and causes water to seep through the foundation, there is no coverage under either the base policy or the optional endorsement.
All statements made are subject to provisions, exclusions, conditions and limitations of the applicable insurance policy. If the information in these materials conflicts with the policy language that it describes, the policy language prevails.
*Optional coverage not available in LA. Option YY (Water Backup and Sump Overflow) is still used in states that have not launched our New Home Contract or that continued to maintain grandfathered books of business after the New Home Contract was launched.
**Available limits and premiums vary by state.
If you have a question leave a comment or for more information on Water or Sewer Backup contact The Andrew Agency at (804) 320-2886.