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Protecting Against Damage from Sewer Backup

Basement flooding is one of the most devastating things that can happen to someone’s home. It can cost thousands of dollars to remediate your property and creates an increased risk of “health related issues” due to the spread of bacteria or the growth of mold (mold is a separate claim which requires an endorsement to your policy).  Sump pumps should be checked every year to ensure they are working properly and should have  battery backup when a severe storm causes a power outage.  A sump pump can prevent or reduce the damage to your property, but will eventually fail if it is not maintained properly. It is also important to make sure that the discharge line from the sump pump is not frozen during the winter, as well.

“According to the Insurance Information Institute (III), damage from a sewer backup can cost a homeowner anywhere from $10,000 to $20,000.”1 Unfortunately, many people, in an effort to reduce cost, choose not to include an endorsement for “water backup, sump pump discharge and overflow”, nor do they include an endorsement for “mold, fungi and bacteria, dry rot”. After Hurricanes Katrina and Rita many homeowners on the Gulf Coast learned that their long time home Insurance policies neither covered flood damage, nor damage from sewer backup.


Here are some things to help you avoid or minimize damage from backed-up sewer systems:

  1. Do not put grease, paper towels, diapers, or other refuse down toilets or sinks. This will help prevent clogs in the pipes that connect the home to the sewer.1
  2. If the sump pump, French drain, or other flood control system is connected to the sewer main, that connection should be removed by a plumber. Typically, such an arrangement is illegal.1
  3. A backflow-prevention device should be installed. The investment of between $500 and $5,000 will go a long way toward protecting a home.1
  4. If your client does have a sewer or drain backup into the home, the affected area should be thoroughly cleaned with disinfectant, making sure the area is completely dried, as well, in order to prevent disease and further damage from mold and mildew.1

1 ©International Risk Management Institute, Inc.

Being proactive and conducting regular maintenance checks on critical systems work great to help prevent unnecessary damage to your hard earned property and belongings. The best way to be prepared for one of life’s unexpected moments is to connect with a competent insurance advisor that will properly structure your insurance portfolio by:

  1. analyzing your unique circumstances to identify and reduce your vulnerability

  2. preparing options that make sense and reduces your risk exposure profile

  3. explaining the “pros and cons” of each course of action; helping you make a qualified decision

Your advisor will, after you make a decision and select one of the coverage profiles, acquire the coverage and establish your portfolio. If your insurance agent or advisor isn’t looking at your total risk exposure, I guarantee that you have gaps in your coverage that could cost you a hundreds of thousands of dollars in the event of a tragic or catastrophic loss. Call me at 848-303-5973 or email me at  If you are willing to send me a copy of your policy and spend approximately 30-45 minutes of you time, discussing your  needs, I will personally review your policy, make preliminary recommendations based on your needs, and have my staff of dedicated service professionals find you the best coverage for the best price. We work for our valued clients, not our insurance carriers.