If your home has a septic tank, you are likely motivated to avoid problems with it. Not only are piping problems particularly undesirable, but septic systems can also be costly to repair.
The good news is that your home insurance could cover it if your septic tank encounters an issue that you couldn’t foresee. Whether or not repairs or the cost of replacing your septic tank are covered will depend on the circumstances that led to the damage and the limits on your policy for that aspect of insurance.
When does home insurance cover damage to a septic tank?
Technically speaking, septic tanks fall under the cover part for other buildings of your home insurance. This is the part of your policy that protects things on your property that are not connected to your home, such as a gazebo, shed, detached garage, fence, in-ground swimming pool and, in many cases, your septic tank.
As a rule, home contents insurance extends the coverage of structures other than 10% of your home insurance. So, if you get your home (i.e., apartment) insured for $ 400,000 in your home insurance, you typically have around $ 40,000 in coverage for other buildings.
Your other home insurance will only step in to pay for repairs to your septic tank – or a full replacement – if the tank has been damaged by a hazard listed on your policy. If the top of your tank is damaged in a fire, for example, your policy will usually cover the replacement.
Reviewing your insurance policy will help you understand what circumstances would arise if your septic system were damaged or lost. Either specific Hazards Covered will be listed (if you have a Named Hazards policy) or certain Exclusions will be listed (if you have an Overt Hazards policy). To understand exactly where you are insured, read our guide to insurance risks.
You should also know that using your home insurance for other structures means paying your deductible.
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.
What damage to your septic tank is generally not insured?
As you may have noticed from the list above, home insurance is most likely to cover damage to a septic tank if it results from a sudden, unexpected event. Your home contents insurance does not necessarily cover damage resulting from sewage plant problems due to wear and tear or lack of maintenance. For example, if you root a tree nearby in the tank or regularly flush non-biodegradable items into your septic tank, you may not be eligible for home insurance for repairs to the damaged areas.
In addition, almost all household insurance policies expressly exclude cover for earthquakes and floods. One way to protect yourself financially is to take out separate flood or earthquake insurance if you live in an area where these incidents are common.
What cover options are there for septic tanks?
To further reduce the likelihood of unexpected costs related to your septic system, ask your insurer about these additional covers:
Service line coverage
As a homeowner, you are responsible for the utility lines that connect to and extend from your home, including the line that leads to your septic tank. With some home insurance policies, you can add a Service Line Cover Confirmation to your policy in order to receive minimal additional costs for your policy. This certification protects your septic pipes, along with other water and sewer lines, as well as your power lines, internet cables, and natural gas lines.
The main advantage of Service Line coverage is that it covers more situations than standard home insurance. It can cover things like wear damage, corrosion, and damage from tree roots.
Water backup cover
A septic lock can be an unpleasant surprise in your home or on your property. Fortunately, home insurance is a way to protect yourself financially before an event like this one. Water backup cover, or “sump pump cover” as it is often called, is homeowner insurance (that is, an optional supplementary insurance) that covers repair or restoration costs if water gets into your home.
How to maintain your septic tank
While water reserves and service lines can help you avoid some of the costs associated with septic tank repair, it is your responsibility to keep your tank optimal. That means you should avoid the following items or throw them down the drain:
- Solids including cigarette butts, paper towels, coffee grounds and feminine hygiene products
- Fat / fat
- Stains / colors
- Household chemicals
It is also a best practice to ensure that no vehicles are driving over the septic tank or its drainage field. Look for nearby trees that could expand their roots into the septic tanks and monitor that the tank has proper drainage.
The EPA recommends checking your septic tank every few years and pumping it out every three to five years. It also shows that using water efficiently will take the load off your septic tank and help keep it performing at its best over time.
frequently asked Questions
Do i need septic tank insurance?
Your home insurance protects your septic tank from the same risks as the rest of your home. From there, proper maintenance can help you avoid the cost of repairing or installing the system. Depending on the provider, your septic tank or a private house guarantee company can offer a guarantee for service or maintenance, which would be an additional form of financial protection.
How much does a new wastewater treatment plant cost?
The cost of a septic system can vary widely depending on the type; usually in the thousands. Some estimates put a three to four bedroom house at $ 3,000 to $ 9,000, but newer technologies can land closer to $ 12,000 to $ 18,000. Installation costs can add to this amount even more.