Sewer line replacement is covered by standard home insurance policies as part of other structures coverage, which protects structures such as sheds, garages and detached carports that do not have separate insurance. Sewer line damage falls under dwelling coverage, but it may have a limit of 10% of your home’s insured value. It depends on your policy’s details.
Most homeowners policies include coverage for damage to the sewer line due to fire, lightning, hail or windstorms, explosions, vehicles or aircraft, falling objects and vandalism.
The important thing to note is that your policy only covers damage caused to a sewer line if it was from a specific event (such as listed above), and the damaged pipes must be on your property line.
You can also often get coverage for sewer backup, water lines, sump pumps, etc., up to a certain limit by purchasing the appropriate endorsement in addition to standard coverage.
In most cases, if the sewer line damage is unexpected, sudden, and caused by a covered peril, it is automatically covered by your homeowners insurance, up to the policy amount limit. But, most damages to a sewer line are caused by lack of maintenance, tree roots or pests, which a standard homeowners policy does not cover. You should seriously consider purchasing add-on coverage for sewer lines if you have an older home.
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When Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Sewer Line Replacement?
Homeowners insurance covers damage to a sewer line if it is caused by an external event, such as an explosion, vandalism, fire, falling objects or windstorm. Below are examples of acts caused by perils a standard home insurance policy usually covers if they compromise the sewer line.
- If there is a riot in your neighborhood and vandals set a fire in your yard, the damage to your sewer line is covered by your standard home insurance policy.
- A standard home insurance policy covers up to the applicable limit if a falling tree damages your sewer line.
- You have coverage if the damage to your sewer line is from a vehicle crash on your property.
You can file a claim if your sewer line is damaged by an "act of God" or the act of another person. And homeowners insurance covers sewer line replacement when the damage is due to an aircraft or explosion. You should also have coverage if sewer line damage is caused by sudden and accidental tearing, cracking, burning, breaking or falling heavy objects.
But what about damage from natural disasters such as floods, earthquakes or hurricanes? This can be tricky because policies vary widely on coverage for sewer line damages during these events. If you live in an area prone to flooding, you may want to get flood insurance specifically for your home's plumbing system; most home insurance policies don't include flood coverage. Also, sewer line replacement won’t happen via your insurance if an earthquake is the cause. You may get coverage with a separate earthquake insurance policy.
When Doesn’t Homeowners Insurance Cover Sewer Line Replacement?
When it comes to sewer line replacement, you are most likely responsible for paying the costs if you don't have an endorsement because the most common causes of sewer line damage are not covered perils. Whether or not your policy covers sewer line replacement depends on the cause of the damage.
So, if you're wondering whether or not homeowners insurance covers sewer line replacement, a few things could prevent coverage from being provided. For example, policies won't cover sewage backups or line replacement damage caused by a tree root or wear and tear; others may exclude damage from natural disasters like floods. It is essential to have endorsement coverage for sewer line replacement to guarantee protection.
How to Prevent Sewer Line Replacement
Although homeowners insurance provides compensation for damage to your home and possessions in case of a covered peril, preventing damage is always better than repairing it. Plus, it won’t cover a sewer line replacement because you failed to maintain the line. To prevent sewer line breakage, avoid using harsh chemicals around your pipes. Be sure that if you are having work done on your home, you hire a professional plumber that is licensed and insured.
Reasons to Get Coverage for Sewer Line Replacement
Inspect Your Sewer System Regularly
Taking precautions ahead of time — such as checking your water pressure once per month — you can catch potential problems early on and get them fixed before they become costly disasters.
Do Not Flush Non-Biodegradable Items Like Paper Towels or Oils
Don’t use harsh chemicals in your pipes. You should avoid using caustic drain cleaners or other chemical drain cleaners. These products may contain ingredients that could eat away at your pipes over time, leading to failure of crucial parts and an increased likelihood of flooding. Make sure any chemical drain cleaner you do use is approved by an independent organization such as NSF International.
Replace Metal Pipes With Plastic
If you have older metal piping in your house, consider replacing it with PVC piping.
Periodically Cut Tree Roots
Tree roots growing into your sewer pipes cause blockages and cracks, leading to expensive repairs down the road. To prevent these issues, periodically have a landscaper inspect your yard for trees close enough to your sewer line that their root systems might pose a problem.
Correct Illegal Plumbing Connections
Always make sure your plumbing fixtures are connected to working drains. Having just one fixture with a clog or leak will end up costing you money when you need to call out professionals to fix it, so don’t neglect anything even if you think it isn’t important.
Where to Buy Homeowners Insurance
Insurers like State Farm, Progressive, GEICO and Farmers are among the most popular home insurance providers, but smaller firms like Lemonade and Hippo also provide coverage. To get the best price for your home insurance, you can shop around and compare quotes from several carriers.
The average monthly cost of homeowners insurance in the United States is $175. Keep in mind that you may pay a higher rate if you have a high-value home or add endorsements, such as to protect the sewer line. Use MoneyGeek's personal property calculator to estimate how much insurance may cost for you.
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