Regarding Septic Tank Damage
Repairing a malfunctioning septic tank is costly, with repairs running from $5,000 to $30,000 or more, depending on whether the tank and the leach field need replacing. If there was nothing you could do to prevent septic tank damage, your homeowners insurance may pay for repairs. However, the sort of sudden Act of God issues that may affect other parts of your home, such as a lightning strike, arent likely to harm your septic tank, as it is located deep beneath the ground. If your house catches fire from that lightning strike and the septic tank piping is damaged, homeowners insurance should cover that type of disaster. Septic tank damage most often occurs due to lack of proper maintenance, and that is not something an insurer will cover.
A Home Warranty Is An Option For Repair And Maintenance Costs
If your septic tank isn’t damaged due to an insurance peril, a home warranty contract may be an option to reduce maintenance and repair costs. Home warranties are service contracts to repair or replace items like your HVAC, AC, and water heater.
A home warranty can cost $350 to $700 a year. If you just purchased your home, most likely your realtor will have recommendations for preferred companies in your location. Otherwise, you can get a home warranty from:
Tips For Maintaining Your Septic Tank
You can prevent â or at least delay â damage to your septic tank with regular maintenance. A few ways to take care of your septic tank and get ahead of cesspool damage include:
Inspect and pump it regularly. Have your septic tank inspected and pumped once every three to five years by a septic service professional to make sure everything is working properly.
Avoid flushing non-biodegradable objects. Non-biodegradable objects include chemicals, paints, and cooking oil, among others. When flushed down a toilet or drain, they can build up and cause your septic tank to fill up faster.
Dispose of waste properly. The only things that should ever be flushed down your toilets are human waste and toilet paper, so discard other paper goods and any non-biodegradable objects in trash cans to avoid clogging your septic tank.
Conserve more water. Wastewater from your home gets treated in the septic tank before itâs sent to a drainfield. By using water more effectively, you give your septic tank more time to treat the water so itâs not working on overdrive.
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Not Covered By Homeowners Insurance: Most Damage To The Septic System Itself
“External damage consists of parking or driving a heavy piece of equipment over the septic tank itself,” explains Garrett Lang, CMO of A1 Porta Potty. “Septic tanks are typically 1,0002,000-gallon concrete boxes. If a heavy enough truck drives over the top of a septic tank, it could cave in the holding tank.” Homeowners insurance usually won’t cover that, and Lang notes that the only way to fix this damage is to replace the tank.
Negligence can also result in internal damage that most homeowners’ insurance policies won’t cover. “Internal damage consists of sludge exiting the concrete holding tank,” Lang explains. “This is what happens when you do not pump the tank every few years. . . . When it dries it can clog up your distribution box or lateral lines and stop the excess water from leaving the tank, rendering your plumbing useless. The only way to remove the dried sludge is to dig up the system.” Again, not likely to be something an insurance policy will help you with.
What Can I Do To Prevent Issues With My Sewer Lines
There are proactive steps you can 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
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How Septic Systems Work
Your septic system can be thought of as an organic digester or holding tank that treats your homes waste with chemicals. They help to neutralize the organic material, or effluent, and then its distributed into a drain or absorption field. Here are a few things to know about your septic system:
Effluent is any type of solid waste produced by your home from laundry, bathroom toilets, showers and sinks. Your kitchen waste and all plumbing for the home send effluent to a holding tank where its then treated and dispersed into the ground.
Solids typically settle at the bottom of the tank. This septic sludge that makes up the bottom of the tank can become a problem if its not managed and maintained. It may have to be professionally cleaned out on occasion to keep the tank working correctly.
Oils and fats float near the top of the tank. Materials like soap and cooking oil will create a layer at the top of the tank. Unpleasantly titled scum this layer consists of lipids that eventually break down and are released with the effluent.
Drainage of treated septic wastewater usually flows into a drain field. A series of perforated pipes release the waste directly into the soil below. These buried lines are located several feet underground in a leach field or other chamber which is designed to slowly percolate the effluent into the sand and sediment.
When Will Your Insurance Policy Not Cover Septic Tank Damage
Once again, your home insurance policy wont be ready to cover for septic tank damage caused by human carelessness and poor maintenance habits. So, you cant expect coverage if:
- Damage is caused by flushing chemicals, oils, and solids
- Drive over the tank
- No proper drainage outlet
- Faulty cesspool construction
In simpler words, if the damage was something that could have been prevented or avoided by the homeowner, your insurance policy wont shoulder the responsibility.
However, you will get coverage if septic tank damage affects other areas of your home. For example, if the damage results in an unwanted flow of scup or waste materials inside your home, you will be covered. Your home insurance policy will extend coverage for bills related from repairing damaged carpets, professional mopping of the floor or removal of fecal material.
Moreover, a standard home insurance policy wont offer you coverage for septic tank damage if its caused by Act of God disasters. The most common examples here would be earthquake and flood. If you are staying in a flood-prone or earthquake-prone area, its better to sign up with individual flood insurance or earthquake insurance for safety.
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Look For Adjuster In Cases Of Disagreement
There could be situations where the damage has been caused without human error but the insurance company is not ready to accept it. For example, your insurer may deny paying a claim for tank damage even when you are particular about tank maintenance. In such situations, you will need to consult an adjuster. The adjuster will review your case and negotiate with your insurance company to ensure the right coverage for you. But in case the insurer is still not ready to pay, you have every right to lodge a complaint with the insurance department of your State.
What Can Go Wrong With Your Septic Tank
There are two ways your septic tanks can cause you to need repairs:
In the first scenario, your homeowners policy likely doesnt cover those repairs. In most policies, the septic system is considered to be a separate structure from the home, and the cost to repair it isnt included in the total repair/replacement cost of the policy.
On the other hand, a septic system failure causes a septic back-up that floods the home is considered an entirely different scenario. Although homeowners with septic systems often need to pay out-of-pocket to repair the system itself, thats not necessarily true if a septic system failure causes water damage to their home.
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What Types Of Septic System Issues And Repairs Are Covered By A Home Warranty Plan
Before deciding on home warranty coverage, be sure to ask about the types of issues and repairs that are covered in your specific plan. Not all septic system issues are covered by a home warranty, so be sure to read your contract carefully. Home warranties generally do not cover costs to pump the septic tank for normal maintenance or in the event of a backup.
Additionally, your home warranty may not provide coverage if your septic tank was damaged due to overgrown roots driving over the disposal field the flushing of medications or the use of water softeners, chemicals and additives.
Most home warranty plans with septic system coverage include the following parts:
- Sump pump
Will A Flooded Septic Tank Fix Itself
A flooded septic tank is nothing to mess around with. There is a very small chance that your flooded septic tank will fix itself. As soon as you notice it has flooded, call a professional to diagnose the problem. Once the ground around the septic tank and drainfield has dried a bit, the tank will need to be pumped.
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Does Homeowners Insurance Cover Septic Tank Failures
JAN 2020 | 3 MIN READ
If your home is built on property that doesnt have access to a city sewer system, you most likely have a septic tank system to handle your wastewater from toilets, showers, and sinks.
That system is a vital component of your home. If it fails, your house becomes uninhabitable in a very short time. And if it fails, it isnt cheap to repair.
Repairing or replacing a septic tank and leach field can run $5,000 to $40,000.
So, is this essential piece of your property covered by your homeowners insurance? The short answer is no.
However, there are a few exceptions that may cause your insurance company to consider covering damage from a septic tank failure.
What Damage To Your Septic Tank Is Not Covered
According to this article written by a wastewater specialist, many of the most common causes of damage to septic tanks can be traced to human error and lack of proper maintenance neither of which are covered by homeowners insurance. A few examples include:
- Flushing chemicals, solids and oils
- Driving over the tank
- Not having proper drainage
- Not taking care of tree roots
Most home insurance policies specifically declare that they will not cover any costs that could have been prevented by proper construction techniques and maintenance.
If a flood or earthquake damages your septic tank, the repair costs will have to be covered by flood insurance or earthquake insurance, which must be bought in addition to your standard policy.
We strongly recommend you check your own individual policy however. The vast majority of policies will follow everything we list above, but certain individual policies may differ based on where you live and your insurer. If the language in the policy is difficult to follow, you should call up your homeowners insurance company where an agent can go over it with you.
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What Is A Home Warranty
A home warranty is an annual contract that provides repair and/or replacement coverage for your homes primary appliances or systems. Many homeowners define home warranty coverage as optional, but when one or two appliances or systems malfunction, it can quickly change their perspective.
With a home warranty or home protection plan, the homeowner or landlord pays an affordable monthly or annual fee for coverage.
In the event a covered system or appliance breaks down due to normal wear and tear, the home warranty company will send a qualified, vetted service technician to the home to assess the problem. At this time, the homeowner pays a small service call fee for the assessment.
If the item in question is determined to be covered under the warranty coverage plan, the company will repair or replace it.
A few items that are covered by a home warranty:
Although many of these items may initially be covered by a manufacturers warranty, this coverage generally lasts for a period of one year. Your home warranty company will continue to provide you protection no matter the age of the system or appliance. And unlike homeowners insurance, a warranty will cover breakdowns from normal use.
Your Homeowners Insurance Policy Protects Your Septic Tank Against The Same Risks As The Rest Of Your House
Our blog contains handy articles about insuring a property with off mains drainage and what is. There are 16 perils that home insurance typically covers. Most insurance policies will cover you for accidental damage to underground services, which includes your septic tank, sewage treatment plant, drainage field and all connecting pipes.
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When Doesnt Homeowners Insurance Cover Septic Tanks
A standard homeowners insurance policy will not cover regular wear and tear to your septic tank and attached pipes the damage must be considered sudden in order to be covered by insurance.
Home insurance will also not cover damage to your septic tank caused by any of the below hazards:
Damage from overuse
Wear and tear
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
- Falling objects
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Sewer Backup Coverage Includes Septic Systems
Many homeowners are under the misconception that to qualify for sewer backup coverage, they need to be connected to a municipal sanitary sewer system. But thats not the case backup or discharge from a sewer, septic tank, or storm drain are all covered IF you have the right coverage.
Having sewage backup into your home is not only unsanitary, the damage can be difficult and costly to repair. Most standard home insurance policies do not cover sewer backup, meaning that if you wake up to find three or four inches of raw sewage in your basement, you could be out-of-pocket for cleanup and repairs. Sewer backup coverage can be added to your existing insurance policy, and covers damage that results from water and sewage moving up through drain lines into your home.
What Covered by Sewer Backup Insurance?
Sewer backup insurance is designed to protect you from the financial burden that a sewer backup can bring. This type of insurance covers:
- Incidental damage from sewer or septic system backups, including the cost of cleaning or replacing walls, flooring, and furniture.
- Overflow from a sump, a sump pump, or other related equipment.
Your home will likely need a deep professional cleaning, especially if the sewage found its way into your duct work. You may need to replace your drywall and flooring, as well as furniture and other personal items. Not only does this require a significant time commitment, but the cost can easily reach tens of thousands of dollars.
Is My Home at Risk?
What Will A Home Warranty Cover For My Septic System
Unlike homeowners insurance, a home warranty policy covers the appliances in/around your home from normal wear and tear. Most home warranty plans won’t cover these circumstances:
- Pre-existing conditions Appliances that are already damaged, don’t qualify for coverage. Many home warranty policies require you to wait 30 days before the plan will take effect to ensure that you didn’t sign for a plan because you knew one of your devices needed immediate repair.
- Improper care Appliances with unnatural wear and tear won’t qualify for home warranty coverage, either. You’ll have to know how to take care of your septic system to be sure the damage was not inflicted by your household.
- Appliances and systems not specifically mentioned Appliances not outlined for coverage in the plan won’t be eligible. In other words, you’re likely going to need a warranty plan with add-on coverage to take care of your septic system most warranty providers don’t include septic systems in their basic packages, but offer septic policy coverage for an additional price.
- Out-of-network technician damage If you hire a technician outside of a home warranty companies’ network, once you sign its contract, you could be out of luck for any damages the technician would create. “There are many unskilled plumbers out there and amateur septic system installation is a common issue,” explain the experts at Fantastic Services. “Before you book a service, know how to find a reliable plumber near you.”
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What Damage To Your Septic Tank Is Generally Insured
Although there are many different types of home insurance, they generally cover septic tank damage up to the insurance limits resulting from the following reasons:
- Fire: If a fire damages your sewage treatment plant in any way, repairs can be covered under your policy.
- Vandalism and riot: If someone intentionally vandalized your septic tank or damaged it during civil commotion, it may be covered by your policy depending on the circumstances.
- Hail, storms, and lightning: Damage to septic tanks resulting from any of these types of storms is likely to be covered.
- Explosions: Most home insurance policies cover damage caused by explosions. If this affects your septic tank or pipes, your insurance will step in to cover the repair costs.