Owning a home can be both exciting and stressful. There are some things you never want to deal with as a homeowner. One is likely a fire and another may be a tornado. The third quite possibly is a loss due to water! We see more homeowner claims that deal with some type of water damage than any other claims related to the home. A majority of our water claims come from water backup, which can also be termed water-sewer backup.
What is water backup?
It is the overflow of any water from the ground up, or in most cases, from some type of interior home drainage. This can consist of water coming from sump pump pits, toilets, sinks, floor drains, or crawlspace drains.
How does water backup happen?
The majority of the time a sump pump either burns up while in use, or simply cannot keep up with the amount of water that is coming into the drainage. The water typically only has one place to go. Where might this be? Yep, you guessed it! It overflows in your beautiful home!
This example is not the only situation that can occur. We have seen claims where a child has thrown an item into a sink or toilet, causing a backup of water. Gross, right?! We have also seen issues where plumbing gets clogged over time without the owner knowing anything about it. This could eventually cause water backup as well.
General tips in regards to water backup
- Water backup is not typically included in a standard homeowner’s policy!
It usually has to be endorsed for coverage to apply. You can buy coverage in $5,000 increments up to $250,000 with some insurance products offered from our agency. The cost can be as low as $40 per $5,000 per year with some product offerings. Every person and home has different needs. Please call to discuss your options!
- Water backup coverage is different from flood insurance.
Flood insurance covers water damage from exterior water coming into the dwelling. This is typically caused from flash flooding, flooding from heavy rains, rivers coming out of the banks from excessive rain fall and flows, and from general bodies of water coming out of their banks from excessive water flows and rains.
- Water backup coverage is not just for homes with a basement.
We get this response A LOT: “Well, I don’t have a basement.” Our response is always the same. Do you have toilets, sinks, or a crawlspace drainage pump? If so, you need to seriously think about purchasing this coverage. We have seen water mitigation cleanup bills as high as $7,500 for crawlspaces. Water backup claims can happen to anyone! We see all types of homes have these losses every single year.
Now, let’s lay out some preventative measures that help limit damages.
- Install a better backup system for your sump pumps.
These can be purchased for less than $500 and can give you protection when you need it most.
- Install a back flow preventer.
This is a simple “one way” plumbing fixture that does not allow water to flow back into the drain. It can only flow in one direction. If it flows the opposite direction, the fixture automatically closes and does not allow water to pass through it.
- Add a secondary sump pit or pump to your drainage systems.
It never fails (no pun intended), but sump pumps only burn out when they are being used. It is typically during heavy use. For ultimate protection, put the secondary pump on its own electrical breaker/outlet and own drainage pipe.
- Install a whole home generator.
This is the most expensive option, but it has the highest benefits to the homeowner. It helps with this specific topic but it will also power the lights, freezers, and heating & cooling systems. Essentially, your life will be be uninterrupted if a storm blows in and causes damage.
- Add a water intrusion alarm.
These can be bought for less than $100 per year. They can be monitored 24/7 with a central reporting company and a phone app. They also make high end control alarms that detect excess water use and automatically shut off the main water supply. Consult a plumber if this would be of interest to you.
- On new home construction, look to see if an exterior sump pit and drainage has been installed.
This option costs roughly $750 to install on a new construction home. It is a large diameter tile with an inspection port at top. There is a high flow sewage pump that ties the exterior foundation tiles to your storm sewer (or outlet tile if you are in the country). Outside water should never be routed back into the dwelling! This step helps to keep all of the outside water on the outside of the dwelling. It is a must have if you are building a new home.
We hope this has helped make you aware of the important things to consider as it relates to water backup. Call your hometown insurance professionals at Hitchings Insurance Agency. We have the knowledge to properly protect homeowners all over the states of Ohio, Michigan, and others. Water damage can be devastating and a real pain. Let’s discuss ways to prevent it and ways to cover it if it does happen!