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Sewer backup prevention and homeowners insurance

By Higginbotham on November 28 , 2018

GettyImages-Ceiling LeakWant to avoid throwing money down the drain? Then pay attention to your drains. Sewer backups can cause serious – and seriously expensive – problems, including flooded basements, severe property damage, unpleasant odors and even dangerous health hazards. Fortunately, a little precaution can help you mitigate the risk.

Practice Proper Maintenance

Avoid putting anything down the drain that could cause a clog. Although large items can obviously cause immediate clogs, smaller items, paper products that don’t dissolve easily, hair and even grease can all build up over time. Be very careful about what you put down any drain.

If you see signs of a clog – such as water taking too long to drain or unpleasant odors – address the problem before it gets worse.

Be Prepared with the Right Devices

Various plugs and caps can be used to close off a drain when your area is at risk of flooding and sewage backup is likely. To determine what you might need, find out what kind of anti-backflow system is already installed in your home. If additional protection might be needed, have devices on hand in case flooding in your area is imminent.

Pay attention to all possible locations where backups could occur, including floor drains as well as toilets, sinks and bathtubs. Use devices designed for the drain type, and make sure they’re the correct size. Always double check that the devices are installed correctly.

Consider More Long-Term Solutions

If flooding is common where you live, or if you’ve had problems with sewage backups in the past, you may need to consider solutions that go beyond temporary caps and plugs. These may be expensive home renovation projects, but they can be less expensive and frustrating than dealing with repeated sewage backups.

A sump pump can be installed to deal with water and prevent it from flooding a basement. If a sump pump is used, it must be cleaned and maintained regularly – at least on an annual basis if not more often.

If your home doesn’t already come equipped with one, installing a backwater valve is another effective way to prevent flooding caused by sewage backups.  According to FEMA, its costs around $1,400 for a combined gate/flap valve or $600 for a flap valve, but this method is effective at preventing structural damage and health hazards.

When compared to the cost of cleanup, the price tag doesn’t seem so bad. According to HomeAdvisor, repair for basement flooding starts at $500 to $1,500 for a single inch of water, and costs can go up to $10,000 and more. 

Check Your Insurance

You want to prevent sewer backups from ever happening, but even if you think you’re doing everything right, there’s always a chance something will go wrong. That’s what insurance is for.

But don’t just assume your covered because you have homeowners insurance. Check your policy carefully to make sure sewer backup issues are covered. If you’re not confident about your coverage, or if you have any questions, talk to us – before an incident occurs.

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