Yes, home insurance will help pay for septic tanks that unexpectedly break or malfunction. While most septic systems function underground outside of a primary residence, they still receive protection through the main “dwelling coverage” component of a home insurance policy.
Standard HO-3 home insurance plans provide dwelling coverage on an “open peril” basis, reimbursing damages to the structure of your home, permanently installed appliances, and attached fixtures – such as septic tanks – caused by fires, storms, and any other event not explicitly excluded from your contract.
Regardless of your policy, you must regularly upkeep your system to guarantee comprehensive septic insurance.
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How Septic Tank Coverage Works
Septic system insurance will vary depending on your policy’s supplementary benefits and associated list of included or excluded perils.
What Kinds Of Homeowners Policies Offer Coverage?
When purchasing homeowners insurance, you must select a policy matching your budget and desired coverage level.
For example, open peril HO-3 plans best suit resident homeowners with disposable income who want a wide range of comprehensive protections. On the other hand, people who own property primarily to generate rental income will need DP3 insurance forms or similar landlord coverage. If you’re unsure what kind of policy you need, talk to your insurer about your options.
Dwelling coverage is included as the foundation of every home or condo insurance policy and will pay to repair damages to the structure of your primary residence and attached fixtures like septic tanks. While these benefits can cover a wide range of unforeseeable risks, people who opt for more affordable “named peril” HO-1 or HO-2 plans would only receive reimbursement for septic tank damage caused by an explicitly listed environmental threat.
When Is Damage Covered?
Homeowners dwelling coverage will pay for septic tank damages resulting from sudden, unexpected events or accidents. However, the extent of these protections depends on your policy. Named peril plans specifically cover homeowners against the following risks:
HO-1 and HO-2:
- Fire or lightning
- Hail or windstorms
- Riots or civil commotion
- Damage from aircrafts
- Damage from vehicles
- Malicious mischief or vandalism
- Volcanic eruptions
- Falling objects
- Weight of ice, snow, or sleet
- Water damage from faulty plumbing or HVAC systems
- Tearing apart, cracking, or bulging
- Frozen household appliances or systems
- Artificially generated electrical currents
Notably, an open peril HO-3 would cover all these potential threats and anything else not explicitly excluded from your policy.
When Is Damage Not Covered?
Insurance companies typically only pay for unexpected or accidental home damages. Therefore, no homeowners insurance policy will cover losses caused by general wear and tear or neglect. For example, if you routinely flush non-biodegradable items down the toilet or let nearby tree roots grow unencumbered, you would have to pay for resulting septic tank damages entirely out-of-pocket.
Additionally, while HO-3 policies vary in named exclusions, almost all insurance companies will deny standard benefits for floods and earthquakes. Therefore, if you live in a disaster-prone area, you must fortify your septic insurance coverage with individually designed policy riders or endorsements.
Insurance Riders For Septic Tanks
To maximize septic insurance benefits, homeowners can purchase supplementary policy riders that cover floods, service line malfunctions, and water backups.
Flood insurance covers damages caused by the following situations:
- Heavy or prolonged rains
- Melting snow
- Coastal storm surges
- Blocked drainage systems
- Levee dam failures
However, depending on your contract, these endorsements can still deny coverage for compromised motor vehicles, lost cash or other valuables, and mold or termite infestations resulting from a flood. Likewise, flood insurance will not pay for septic tank overflows or backups caused by internal malfunctions.
While homeowners can privately purchase flood insurance, securing coverage through one of the several companies participating in FEMA’s National Flood Insurance Program can offer many advantages. Though details can vary depending on local risks, all NFIB policies abide by strict federal regulations and carry average annual premiums of around $800.
Service Line Coverage
Service line insurance covers unexpected or accidental damages to service lines running in and out of your property, such as power cables, phone lines, and sewer pipes. However, these policy endorsements rarely reimburse losses caused by unconnected or poorly installed pipes, geothermal tubing, or wiring that runs through underground water reserves.
Service line insurance usually pays to repair degraded or broken sewage pipes connected to your septic system and any structural damage linked to these faulty connections. While home service lines can cost upwards of $4,000 to excavate, repair, or replace, most people can secure $10,000 in service line coverage for as little as $40 annually.
Water Backup Coverage
Water backup insurance covers water damage caused by sewer, drain, or sump pump failures. While newer homes with state-of-the-art plumbing systems pose a lower threat of surprise malfunctions, water backup policy riders can significantly aid individuals living on older properties with aging sewage systems, attached basements, and nearby trees with invasive roots.
Though prices vary, backup endorsements typically only cost $30 to $70 annually for every $5,000 in coverage. Considering the destructive nature of internal flooding, these premium increases often prove marginal compared to their protective advantages. Water backup coverage may even pay to replace water-logged personal belongings and sponsor temporary hotel residencies during home renovations.
How Other Kinds of Property Insurance Cover Septic Tank Damage
Property owners can also secure septic tank coverage through the following standalone insurance policies:
- Landlord insurance: Reimburses losses from conventionally covered perils. Includes additional protections for lost rental income that could result from a damaged septic tank.
- Vacation home insurance: Due to higher risks of theft, vandalism, and environmental damage, second home insurance policies typically restrict coverage and only repair septic tanks destroyed by a named peril.
- Commercial property insurance: Protects your company’s physical assets and pays to repair structural damages to any home-based or standalone business. Reimbursement can apply to any septic tank destroyed by an approved peril or covered under supplementary policy riders.
Maintenance Tips To Protect Your Septic Tank
Regularly maintaining your system is the best way to avoid costly repairs and collateral damages. Follow these simple instructions to prevent or delay common septic system issues:
- Have your septic tank inspected and pumped regularly.
- Avoid flushing non-biodegradable objects like chemicals, paints, cooking oils, fats, or feminine hygiene products down the drain.
- Actively conserve water to avoid straining your septic tank, ensuring optimal performance.
- Avoid driving vehicles over your septic system or drain field.
- Remove nearby trees with deep roots capable of cracking or strangling underground pipes.
All in All
While standard homeowners insurance policies pay to repair structural damages caused by covered perils like fires, storms, and falling objects, they can impose restrictions. To ensure comprehensive protection for an underground septic tank, you must secure an HO-3 plan and minimal named exclusions.
Furthermore, paying slightly increased premiums for specific policy riders can expand potential reimbursement for septic tank losses caused by flooding, service line malfunctions, or collateral water damage. When shopping for homeowners coverage, secure quotes from at least three competing companies and talk to a licensed insurance agent to fully understand your options relative to your needs, location, and budget.