Thursday, June 4, 2009

Uh Oh! A sewer backup!

When you wake up in the morning, or you return home after work, you never want to hear “Uh Oh! A sewer backup!” If you do, your next thought would likely be “Will my homeowner’s insurance cover this?”

Spring and Fall tend to be our wettest seasons in Saline (this past Spring was, for sure!), making our homes most susceptible to the backup of sewer or drain lines. While these events don't occur often, when they do, the problem can be a small disaster (I know first-hand, as one of my rental properties had such a backup recently). Did you know that a standard homeowner's insurance policy excludes coverage for such an event?

It's true. The backup of sewer and drains, as well as the failure of a sump pump, is excluded from most homeowner’s policies. The damage you sustain from either of these problems will not be covered, and you'll be responsible to pay for the loss (and the clean up). If you have a finished basement, or use your basement area for storage, you shouldn't go without this coverage endorsement.

Heavy rains can trigger a backup. A storm sewer or sanitary sewer backs up into your home and usually comes in through a sump well, washtubs in the basement, or toilets in the basement. However, the damage can happen anywhere in the house. Sump pump failures normally occur from power outages or motor failures. Sump pumps run on electricity, and during a bad storm, the power can go out. That’s when you need the sump pump the most, to pump the water from the heavy rain out of the basement.

The damage can be quite costly. Normally damage occurs in the basement, which houses the mechanical systems of the house, such as the furnace, hot water tank, washer and dryer, and the numerous items we tend to store there. Water or sewage usually destroys anything it comes in contact with. For the possible thousands of dollars in damage, it would be well worth purchasing additional coverage with your homeowner's policy to cover such an event.

Be sure to ask your insurance agent about this coverage (to make sure you already have it on your policy). This coverage can often be purchased as an endorsement on its own, or with an endorsement that will expand or increase other coverages on the policy. The additional cost runs typically between $60 and $90 annually (well worth the peace of mind it brings). The key is to ask your agent or company what you best option is, and BEFORE you need. That way, you can breathe a bit easier when you hear “Uh Oh! A sewer backup!”

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If you have questions about your specific situation, or if you’re considering buying or selling any Saline real estate, you owe it to yourself to take advantage of my experience in the Saline market. I’d be happy to meet with you! Just give me a call at (734) 476-2063, or send an e-mail, “Vance (at) SalineMichiganRealEstate (dot) com”.

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