Water Backup Insurance Coverage and When to Consider It

When your kitchen sink backs up, you turn on the disposal.  When your toilet backs up you use a plunger.  If the bathtub or shower clog, maybe you use chemical drain cleaners like Drain-O, or run a plumber’s snake in to the drain.  But, what do you do when EVERYTHING backs up at once?  You PRAY that you have insurance coverage for water/sewer backup.

When to report water backup? Before it’s too late.

While most home insurance policies cover certain types of water damage that originate on the insured property such as a burst pipe or a hole in the roof, homeowners should be familiar with other common calamities that are just as costly. One of these common occurrences – water backup – is the result of a sewage or sump pump malfunction.  “Backup” can cause considerable damage but requires supplemental or gap coverage to mitigate risk.

What is backup coverage and who should consider it?

Water backup coverage is an optional add-on to your homeowner’s insurance policy. Coverage can assist when dealing with water damage resulting from incidents caused by sewers, drains, and sump pump wells. Although these can be common occurrences, they are not covered under other water-related accidents such as flooding, surface water, tsunamis, or an overflow of any body of water including your pool. While backup insurance is not required by law, backups can happen in any region under a number of circumstances, so homeowners are always taking a risk by going without coverage.

What factors reflect sound backup insurance policy?

Backup coverage, much like your homeowner’s policy, can cover a number of expenses but includes exceptions. When deciding on coverage amounts, assess your risks and if you are feeling unclear, speak to an agent. Common factors to weigh include the total cost to replace at-risk items in the event of a catastrophic drain backup or total sump pump failure. You should also consider the cost to replace flooring, damaged drywall, furniture, personal belongings, or any items susceptible to damage caused by a sewer or drain backup.

Keep in mind, however, that most policies don’t cover cases of neglect or wear-and-tear. So, part of being prepared in the case of an emergency is keeping and maintaining your preventative measures year-round.

What can you do – right now – to prevent backup to happening on your property?

Having a water backup policy is a great preventative measure in mitigating water damage risk on your property, but it is only one piece of the puzzle when keeping prepared for a potential disaster. You are the frontline of your defense and there are a number of actions you can take to avoid a mess and ensure your policy pays out in case of an emergency.


  • Properly dispose of grease, paper products, and other items that could lead to premature degradation of pipes or backup of sewage.
  • Be aware of and maintain sewage and drainage systems including French drains, sump pumps, and other systems.
  • Consult a plumber or other professionals when dealing with faulty plumbing or problematic fixtures

Outside the home:

  • Keep gutter clear and ensure proper drainage away from home
  • Be aware of and maintain problematic plants and tree root systems to prevent damage to lines and drainage.

If you are looking for more details about water and sewer backup coverage, or how you can ensure your homeowners insurance policy is current and you are protected in the event of a backup, contact our office:

J.M. Insurance & Financial

(513) 756-2779

Our agency’s mission is to recommend coverage and policies meeting each individual need.

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