Water Backup and Utility Line Insurance - What is the difference? (2022)

Original Article Date: 11/13/2022

Staff Writer • Buffalo, NY


You just got home from a long day at work, when you notice it's somewhat more humid in your house than when you left. As you walk towards the basement and look down, the reality sets in - it's water - and EVERYWHERE! What now?


Water damage in homes is one of the most reported claims on the East Coast, right along with Fire, Theft and Wind claims. What is most important is that you check your endorsement package to make sure your property is covered correctly (this goes for Commercial policies too).


What is Water Backup Insurance?


Water Backup (also known as Water & Sewer Backup, or WSB) is a coverage that is designed to protect contents in your home from the unexpected backup of a water or sewage drain system. This is most often seen with a failure of a sump pump which usually is the result of a power outage during a storm. Water & Sewer Backup is not always included in your insurance; you may need an endorsement to your policy to make sure the coverage is on there.


Water & Sewer backup is typically a pre-selected amount, and usually in increments of:


$2,500

$5,000 $10,000

$20,000


Certain carriers offer even more coverage. Be sure to check your declarations page to see if your policy has this sometimes-overlooked endorsement. Encompass Agency recommends that all homeowners purchase Water & Sewer Backup on their policies, and even renters should consider the coverage as well if you have a first-floor rental.


What is Utility Line Insurance?


Utility Line Insurance (Buried Lines, Underground Utility etc.) is a specific coverage, available standalone or as an endorsement to your homeowners, that provides coverage in the event of damage to a home's buried utility systems. This includes the "big ones" such as sewer main line from the road to the house, water main lines and buried communication cables. Utility Line coverage is not always included in your insurance; you may need an endorsement to your policy to make sure the coverage is on there.


Utility Line expense is typically a pre-selected amount, and usually in increments of:


$10,000 or $20,000


Certain carriers offer even more coverage. Be sure to check your declarations page to see if your policy has this sometimes-overlooked endorsement. Encompass Agency recommends that all homeowners purchase Utility Line insurance on their policies. Renters would not be eligible for coverage in most cases.



Claims Examples


Utility Line Coverage: Karrie discovered that her utility tub connected to the washing machine was not draining properly. After multiple attempts to fix the problem, she contacts a plumber. The plumber discovers that her line has shifted underneath the basement, and it would be approximately $4,500 to dig up the line and replace it.


Water Backup Coverage: Megan stores her holiday decorations in the corner of the basement of her house. One night, after a particularly heavy rainstorm, she noticed the smell of water in her basement. When she walked downstairs, she discovered an inch of standing water due to her sump pump not working. Since the sump pump failed, it triggers the Water Backup coverage of her insurance and provides indemnification for contents that have been destroyed due to the backup.

Lastly: This is not flood insurance! 🌊


It is important to remember that this is not flood insurance! Flood insurance is not covered by standard homeowners insurance, and neither of these endorsements will help to provide coverage for natural flooding.


If you are concerned about flooding, it is important to ask your agent or broker about flood insurance. To check if your property is in a flood zone, you can use this helpful tool from FEMA.


To learn more about how Encompass can help you protect your property

click the request an appointment button below



 

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