Even if your home or businesses is not in the path of rising flood waters, your property may still be at risk of damage.
Sewer system failure occurs when a city sewer system fails either due to lift stations not working as a result of the power outage or when the system is overwhelmed by the flood water causing it to back up. Sewer contamination can be extensive in lower levels of a building.
Sump system failure occurs when power to sump pumps stops or the volume of water entering the system exceed the ability of the system to remove it.
Backed-up sewers and failed sump pumps can damage flooring, furniture and electrical equipment. Homeowners can find themselves paying thousands of dollars to repair and clean-up the damage.
Neither flood insurance nor a typical homeowner's insurance policy will cover damage caused by sewer back-ups or the inability of sump pumps to handle runoff water from a major downpour. In order to protect a home and property from sewer back-ups or sump pump failures, homeowners must purchase a separate product or endorsement.
If You Have Suffered Damage because of a Sewer Backup:
• Call your insurance company as soon as you can. Be sure your agent knows how to contact you.
• Without endangering yourself, take reasonable steps to prevent additional damage.
• Closely inspect property and cars for damage. Note and photograph any damage.
• Provide your insurance agent with your home inventory. This will assist in settling claims.
• If required to seek temporary housing, check your policy for "loss of use" coverage.
• Be sure everything is considered in your claim. Show proof of claims with written estimates.
Does a homeowner's policy cover flood damage?
No, the homeowner's policy specifically excludes water damage. This exclusion includes flood, surface water, waves, tidal water, overflow of a body of water, water that backs up from sewers, drains or sump pumps, water that seeps through the basement walls and floors. Note: water damage caused by a broken pipe in the house would be covered.
The National Flood Insurance Plan is the only source to get flood insurance for residential property. Your agent should be able to assist you if you need to carry flood coverage.
Will sewer backup coverage apply if there is a flood?
The Sewer Backup Coverage endorsement varies from company to company. Some companies will cover the damage caused by a sewer backup even if it floods. Some companies exclude coverage for sewer backup if it happens at the same time as a flood. Check with your agent to
see how your policy will respond.
If I have a sewer or sump pump endorsement to my policy will I be covered in the event of a flood?
A sewer or sump pump endorsement on your policy does not mean you have coverage for flood. Most companies make it clear that they still do not cover flood damage only sewer damage. Some companies make it clear if flood is the cause directly or indirectly of the sewer or sump pump failure they will not cover any of the damage. Purchasing a sewer or sump pump endorsement should not be viewed as a purchase of flood insurance.