Clog and overflow water events are often mischaracterized as sewage backup by unwitting property insurance consumers. Although a clog within a plumbing system resulting in an overflow is almost universally covered by homeowners’ policies, sewage backup is not. Sewage backup is considered ground water and excluded unless a severely limited addendum has been purchased with the policy.
Emergencies, are unexpected, and often dangerous situations requiring immediate action. Restoration, is the act or process of returning something to its original condition. Combining the words forms the term Emergency Restoration, which dictates literal translation and strict adherence to achieve the most effective result.
Homeowners insurance provides compensation for events protected under the policy that require emergency restoration services. Covered events can indemnify the policy holder against damage to the home, yard and other structures, personal belonging as well as personal liability if found legally responsible for damage or injury to another. Although homeowner’s insurance is not mandated by law, lenders universally require a policy remain in place for the length of the mortgage to protect the investment. Encumbered properties are subject to force-placed insurance if their policy has lapsed, is cancelled, or has been deemed insufficient. Creditor-placed ‘force’ policies provide rudimentary coverages that protect the mortgagors interests alone and are charged to the mortgagee.
As a property owner requiring sewage damage restoration, the distinction between a sewage backup and a sewage overflow is important to understand and be able to identify independently of an insurance carrier. Awareness of the differences and what they entail regarding the possibility and extent of insurance coverage will help property insurance policy holders protect their interests in the event of a flood originating from a wastewater drainage line.
Property Recovery 911 was summoned to a stately stone home in Darby, PA for a sewage cleanup job. The source of the sewage overflow was a toilet located in the finished basement powder room as well as a floor drain in the laundry room. Upon inspection, we discovered that the soil line serving the property was clogged, which is often the culprit when a sewage overflow occurs. In such an event, the location of the sewage overflow is the first drain or drains ‘north’ of the clog.