If your sewer line breaks or collapses, you may be surprised at how little standard home insurance covers it. Add-on coverage like a backup rider, or separate insurance policies like sewer line insurance fill in the gaps that home insurance exclusions ignore. This article includes:

Does home insurance cover sewer lines?

Home insurance does cover certain damage to your sewer line. What's covered depends on the location of the damage and how the sewage line was broken. Standard homeowners insurance provides coverage for the following risks on your home’s sewer line:

  • Fire and lightning
  • Wind and hail
  • Theft and vandalism
  • Vehicular damage (unless caused by policyholder)
  • Aircraft damage
  • Riot or civil disturbance
  • Volcanic eruption

Coverage for these risks is limited to damage done to the sewer line within your property boundaries. For example, if lightning cracks the city sewage line the city will be responsible for the repair cost, even if your lateral sewer line is affected.

The sewer line of your house falls under the “other structure” category of standard homeowners insurance. The average payout limit for other structures on a home insurance policy is 10 percent of the coverage value. This means that if your house is insured for $350,000, up to $35,000 of covered damage on a collapsed sewer line would be paid out.

The average cost to replace a sewer line is between $3,000 and $6,000. However, if you need a whole new sewer line going from your house it can cost up to $25,000. Part of this large cost comes down to time and manpower spent digging to get to the sewer line. Some policies pay for excavation and backfill, as well as repair of the sewer line, but the cost to you can still be huge. Make sure you are aware of the limits of your homeowners policy.

Find home insurance that helps cover your sewer line.

Home insurance sewer line exclusions

Homeowners insurance does not cover the cost of many dangers that can happen to your sewer line. Damage to the sewer pipe from natural disasters such as flood, earthquake, and hurricanes are not covered by standard home insurance. Flood insurance for the home can be purchased separately. It can provide some coverage for sewer lines in the event of flood damage.

Clogs are one of the main dangers that can happen to a sewer line. If you have even a small leak or leaks in your sewer line, roots will be attracted to the water and move towards it. Over time, the roots will work their way into the sewer line and fill the width of the pipe, clogging it. Unfortunately, this damage is excluded from your home insurance coverage. If tree roots are blocking the pipe and cause a clog, it is not covered by your home insurance.

As with most items covered by home insurance, damage due to wear-and-tear or poor maintenance of the sewer line are excluded. An inspection from a licensed sewer specialist can let you know what potential problems your sewer line might have.

Does home insurance cover a sewer backup?

Sewer backups are never covered under standard homeowners insurance. A blockage in your sewer or drain pipe can cause sewage to backup into your home. This can result in thousands of dollars of damage and cleanup, as well as many health hazards.

Fortunately, most homeowners insurance providers offer a sewer backup rider or endorsement. The rider can help cover water damage in your home in the event of a backup. According to the Insurance Information Institute, sewer backup riders cost between $50 to $200 a year. A backup rider provides $5,000 to $10,000 for covered damage, depending on the deductible you choose.

What is sewer line insurance?

Some insurers sell sewer line insurance as a separate policy type. Sewer line insurance helps cover line issues excluded from home insurance. A sewer line insurance policy can cover:

  • Finding the block or collapse in the line
  • Replacement or repair of damaged sewer line portions as necessary
  • Damaged seal and joint repair or replacement
  • Pipe cutting, fusing, and welding
  • Excavation and backfill costs

Sewer line insurance is an excellent way to provide coverage in the event of a clogged or blocked drain. Homeowners insurance doesn’t cover sewer clogs at all, and a backup rider only covers the water damage to the home. Sewer line insurance takes care of the clog damage at the source that the other two coverage types do not.

So, if a tree root clogs or breaks your sewer line, sewer line insurance would pay to repair the drain. If that clog backs water up into your home, sewer backup insurance would cover the water damage.

Most sewer line insurance policies exclude damage due to natural disasters. This includes flood, hurricanes, and earthquakes. They also do not cover damage due to poor maintenance. Check with your sewer line insurance provider for full exclusion details.

A sewer line insurance policy will often cover up to $5,000 yearly in approved sewer line damages. The coverage protects the sewer line between the water meter or your property line and your home. Sewer line insurance policies often carry a $0 deductible.

When looking for a sewer line insurance provider, make sure they are a licensed insurance company. There are some companies that provide maintenance agreements for your sewer line. The range of service they provide is more limited than what a sewer line insurance policy can provide.

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