When you bought your house, you likely had to also purchase a homeowners insurance policy. Not only is this required for most mortgages, but it also provides peace of mind and financial protection if there’s ever major damage to your home.
However, homeowners insurance doesn’t cover everything. One common question we get is, “Will insurance cover a broken sewer line?” It’s not a straightforward answer, but allow us to explain.
What is a Sewer Line?
Any time you flush a toilet or wash something down a drain, that wastewater will end up in the sewer line. This underground, horizontal pipe connects your home to the municipal sewer system.
Sewer line pipes are designed to last for a long time, but there’s not invincible. There are many ways a sewer line can get damaged. Over time, they can break down and crack, especially older pipes made out of outdated materials like Orangeburg and cast iron. Sewer lines can also become clogged by a collection of oils, food particles, and solid objects. Finally, tree roots can grow into the pipe, which results in blockages and leaks.
When any of these scenarios happen, the sewer line pipe will either need to be repaired or replaced. No matter the reason, a sewer line issue must be dealt with immediately. Otherwise, raw sewage could be seeping into your property or backing up into the home.
How to Tell if Your Homeowner’s Insurance Covers Sewer Line Repair or Replacement
There’s no simple or one-size-fits-all answer to determine if work on your sewer line will be covered by insurance. To better understand your situation, here are four areas to investigate:
- Insurance provider. Every company has different coverage exceptions for things like normal wear and tear, earthquakes, floods, and acts of God.
- Extra coverage. Look at your policy documents to see if you signed up for optional coverage that may apply. For example, some homeowners do add flood or earthquake insurance if their home is at a higher risk for those episodes.
- Cause of the pipe damage. The reason why the sewer line is damaged can determine whether the work will be covered or not. For example, if the pipe was 40 years old and leaked from normal wear and tear, it will probably not be covered by insurance. But if the damage was caused by something out of your control, like vandalism, faulty work, or a specific event that you have coverage for, then your odds are much better.
- Your deductible limit. Sewer line repairs and replacements are major jobs. But depending on your policy’s deductible, you may not meet the out-of-pocket expenses limit before the coverage kicks in.
Causes of Sewer Line Damage
Your sewer line can be damaged by many things, from natural disasters to everyday wear and tear. Let’s look at some of the most common causes of sewer line damage.
As trees grow, their root systems can spread far and wide in search of water and nutrients. Over time, they can crack or invade your sewer line pipes. This problem is more common in old homes that have many trees in the yard or older sewer lines because they are more susceptible to damage.
Corrosion or Deterioration
Older plumbing pipes that were made from outdated materials like cast iron can eventually corrode, crack, collapse, and leak. This is a common problem for older homes with clay or lead pipes in the ground.
Depending on where you live, the ground can move due to earthquakes, landslides, or sinkholes that cause your sewer line pipes to shift and crack.
Foreign Object Blockage
This common issue happens when non-flushable items like paper towels, hygiene products, and other solid objects get flushed down the toilet and clog up the pipes. This is one of the easiest causes of sewer line damage to prevent.
Construction work or excavation near your property can cause disruption to the sewer line pipes and potentially damage them. Careful consideration needs to be taken when work is being done so that the pipes are not harmed.
As you can see, the potential causes of sewer line damage can vary from home to home. It’s important to know what type of pipes are in your ground and how likely they are susceptible to damage from common sources.
Common Signs of Sewer Line Damage
Luckily, there are a few warning signs that you can look out for so you know when to call in a professional. Here are the most common indicators of a damaged sewer line:
If raw sewage is coming up through your drains, that’s an obvious sign that something is wrong. This is caused by water pressure from a clogged pipe or broken pipes that allow the sewer water to back into your home.
Gassy Odor Around Your Home
A gassy odor coming from around your home is a good indicator that you have a sewer line problem. This gas can come from raw sewage or methane seeping out of the damaged pipe and into your yard or basement.
Slow Draining Plumbing Fixtures
If sinks, tubs, showers, and toilets are draining slowly or not at all, it’s a sign that your sewer line is blocked and needs to be checked out. While you may be tempted to Plunge it on your own, it’s best to have a professional take a look and find the root of the problem.
Wet Spots in The Yard
If you see any wet spots or dampness in your yard, it could be a sign of an underground leak coming from a damaged pipe. This should be evaluated as soon as possible to avoid further damage.
Sewer Line Repair And Replacement in Evansville, IN
You’ll never have to worry about repairing or replacing your sewer line in a perfect world. But if you do, hopefully, you now have a better idea of whether your homeowner’s insurance policy will cover it. Relax knowing our team is by your side from day one!
Aside from the finances, you also want to make sure the sewer line work is done properly with the least disruption to your property and home. That’s where the plumbing experts at Baylor Heating, Air Conditioning & Plumbing can help. If you are having problems with your sewer line, call us right away at 812.425.8435 for a professional inspection and recommendation.