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Do you need special flood and sewer insurance? Here’s how to tell.

If your home has a basement, there is a huge potential benefit to having a sewer back up endorsement on your homeowner’s insurance policy that never seems to get mentioned. Most think the sewer backup endorsement only covers your sanitary sewer backing up into your home from a blockage or due to near by flooding.

What is not mentioned is that this policy endorsement also covers internal flooding of your home (usually the basement) due to your sump pump/internal drainage not working due to mechanical failure, loss of electricity, or the drainage system being overwhelmed by excess ground water. So, why is this so important? Because the standard homeowners insurance policy does NOT cover internal flooding of your home caused by failure of your sump pump/internal drainage system. It is, what is called, an “excluded peril.” Also, a flood insurance policy won’t cover internal home flooding unless it is accompanied by a general condition of flooding outside and adjacent to the home as well.

So, if your home floods inside due to the sump pump/internal drainage failure and you don’t have a sewage back-up endorsement you don’t have any insurance coverage for the loss unless you have flood insurance and there is also a general condition of flooding. Over my many years with FEMA, I have talked to countless homeowners with flooded basements who were shocked to learn that they were without insurance coverage.

Sound confusing, you bet! As with many issues involving property insurance, the way policies are written and sold doesn’t seem to serve the public well.

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