Does homeowners insurance cover your sewer line if it's damaged?
In most cases, damage to the sewer line is caused by something excluded from standard homeowners insurance. For example, if the pipe damage is attributed to faulty construction or poor upkeep, repairs usually won't be covered. Damages resulting from floods, pests, earthquakes, or tree roots are typically also excluded.
However, assuming the sewer line is on your property, it may fall under the other structures coverage listed on your homeowners policy; this limit is typically 10% of the insured value of your home but may vary.
Damage to your sewer line may be covered by your policy if it is caused by one of the following perils:
- Hail or windstorms
- Lightning or fire
- Damages caused by vehicles or aircrafts
- Falling objects
Does homeowners insurance cover sewer lines under the house?
Whether sewer lines under your house are covered by your homeowners insurance depends on the attributable cause of damage. In most cases, damage to sewer lines isn't eligible for coverage. In select circumstances, though, homeowners insurance can cover damage to sewer lines under and inside your home that's caused by a covered loss, such as an explosion or vandalism.
Note that damaged pipes will need to be on your premises to be considered for coverage; pipes located beyond your property line will be the responsibility of the entity that owns that section of the pipe.
Does homeowners insurance cover septic tanks?
Dwelling coverage on your homeowners policy may cover damage to your septic system if it's caused by a sudden and accidental event. If the issue is due to preventable factors, like neglect or lack of maintenance, however, you usually won't be covered.
Replacing metal pipes with plastic and having your plumbing inspected regularly can help prevent future issues with your sewer lines.
Are tree roots in a sewer line covered by insurance?
Not usually. While insurance may help cover damage to your property caused by tree roots, it generally won't cover costs associated specifically with the sewer lines. For example, if water released from the cracked line causes damage to your property, your insurance may cover the cost to repair damage caused by the water but not to repair the pipe.
In some cases, tree root damage may be considered to be sudden and accidental; it's a good idea to consult your policy provider to determine if that is the case. Either way, it's important to periodically check to see if any roots are encroaching on your system (more on that below).
What can I do to prevent issues with my sewer lines?
There are proactive steps you can (and should!) take to lessen the risk of damage to your sewer lines, such as:
- Replacing corroded metal pipes with plastic pipes
- Having your sewer system inspected regularly
- Avoid flushing damaging, non-biodegradable items like paper towels or oils
- Stay on top of tree roots that can creep into the system and wreak havoc
- Have a plumber determine whether a backwater valve is necessary to prevent sewage backflow